Injured rider given payout after unknown biker who spooked her horse left scene

A rider who sustained a badly broken arm after a revving motorbike spooked her horse wants to raise awareness of the support on offer.

Zoe Hewer was injured in the fall from her horse Reggie two years ago but as the motorcyclist left the scene, thought she had no options in terms of seeking compensation.

But when a family member saw a piece in H&H about the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), which compensates victims of uninsured or untraceable drivers, she realised this was not the case.

Her claim was settled last week but she had already benefited from physiotherapy and counselling funded by the MIB.

“I tell everyone about it now!” Zoe told H&H. “Even if just for the physio and therapy it would be worth it as accidents like this can leave you with lasting injuries, physical and mental.”

Zoe was hacking out with her stepson Harvey, on mountains near their yard in Wales, on 7 October 2017. They were on their way back to the yard when a motorbike came alongside.

“It was next to us, revving its engine,” Zoe said. “It startled my horse, who galloped down the road – and the bike kept up with us.

“He kept revving the engine, which spooked Reggie even more, then stopped opposite the drive to the stables.”

Reggie knew his way home and Zoe managed to stop him at the top of the drive. But as she turned to call for Harvey – who had managed to pull his pony Millie up out of the way – a second bike appeared.

“The first bike must have been waiting for him,” Zoe said. “But the second one was revving too, which startled Reggie more. I was completely off-balance because I was twisted round shouting to Harvey and I came off.

“Fortunately, he galloped towards the stables; if we’d been on the road, he might have gone towards the village and it could have been even worse.”

It was later found Zoe had broken her upper arm in the fall.

“I snapped my humerus completely,” she said. “The pain was horrendous; I stood up and fell back on to the tarmac.

“I was thinking something wasn’t right; I could feel my arm crunching and thought ‘that’s not a good sign’.

“I’d felt my head bounce on the ground; I’m so glad I had my hat on as I think it would have been lights out otherwise.”

Zoe was sent home in a sling as it was not possible to put her arm in plaster, and doctors hoped it would heal on its own.

But eight weeks later, there had been no progress, which she was told is sometimes the case, so she had to undergo an operation, to have the bone plated and pinned.

“That took me straight back to the start,” she said. “I’d been unable to do anything for myself at first but had got used to shuffling around, then you go back to day one.”

Zoe also had to cope with the return of the breast cancer for which she had already been treated, on the same side as the broken arm. This was successfully treated but “it added to the complexity”, she said.

“I also had problems with my neck and shoulders, which are ongoing,” she added.

“Then my father-in-law saw the article in H&H. I read it and thought ‘let’s give it a shot’, so I rang the lawyer in it, Hanna Campbell.”

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Zoe, who is now riding again, on Millie, said she wants other riders to be aware of the MIB.

“There is support there,” she said. “The consequences of an accident can be horrendous; not just breaking your arm but everything else that goes with it and this has really made a difference.

“If it hadn’t been for the H&H article, it wouldn’t have crossed my mind.”

Hanna Campbell of HorseSolicitor, who acted for Zoe in the claim, said: “I hope this case raises awareness of a rider’s right to claim compensation even in cases where the driver fails to stop and cannot be traced. A vehicle does not have to have made contact with you or your horse for the driver to be held responsible for the accident. It’s just as negligent to spook a horse by driving past too close or too quickly as it is to crash into them.

“The MIB exists to compensate people who have been injured by negligent drivers, either untraced or uninsured. A small portion of the money paid for all car and motorbike insurance policies goes to the MIB, which acts as an insurer of last resort.”

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