Un-helmeted on a Dirt Bike

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Q: My dirt bike was designed for a single passenger and only for off-road usage.  Still, one evening, my friend and I were riding it on a county road.  Neither of us was wearing a helmet.  This was noticed by a state trooper.  As he pursued us in his marked vehicle, I accelerated down route.

Ultimately, the trooper caught up with us.  He pulled parallel, with his lights and sirens activated, again gestured for me to pull over and then slowly repositioned his vehicle behind my bike.  In response, I drove completely off route into an adjacent field to the right of the road.  Soon, the trooper’s vehicle collided with both my dirt bike and my friend’s ejected body.

A: The trooper’s conduct in pursuing you may not form the basis of civil liability unless the trooper acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others.  This standard requires the conscious or intentional doing of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known or obvious risk, so great as to make it highly probable that harm will follow, with conscious indifference to the outcome.  I am skeptical that the trooper’s conduct, particularly when gauged as of the time and under the circumstances in which he acted, was reckless.

Where a police officer perceives a vehicle and traffic law violation, that officer has the lawful authority to stop the individual to investigate.  Your un-helmeted operation of the dirt bike was a threat to the safety of the public.  The trooper had an obligation to follow you and remove your dirt bike from the highway.  From what you have told me, it appears that the proximate cause of your friend’s demise was your operation of the dirt bike – not the manner in which the trooper may have conducted this pursuit.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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