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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 09:33 
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Daily Telegraph

Council drops crash case that cost driver deer
Last Updated: 2:06am BST 11/05/2007

A biker who received a bill for £386 from his local council after crashing into a deer yesterday won his battle to have the demand cancelled.

Robert Purdie, 61, spent four days in hospital last summer after the red deer jumped out in front of his Honda CX500 motorcycle on the A819 near his home in Taynuilt, near Oban, Argyll.

The animal died instantly -while Mr Purdie fractured his knee and collarbone.

In March, nine months after the accident, Argyll and Bute Council sent him a bill for £386.43 to cover the cost of scraping the remains of the deer off the road.

Council chiefs said at the time that they billed anyone they deemed responsible for a road crash that had to be cleared up by its staff. The rule is not enforced if there are human fatalities.

After Mr Purdie consulted his lawyers over the bill, which the council gave him just 10 days to pay, he was told that the claim had been dropped.

Stewart Turner, the head of roads and amenity services, said he had "reviewed" the case and payment was no longer necessary.

Mr Turner said the council's general policy of charging motorists for cleaning up after accidents would not change, but cases would be considered on an individual basis.

A Freedom of Information request made by Mr Purdie to the council showed there were 10 accidents involving deer on the A819 between May and November 2006 - but he was the only person billed for cleaning up. He said last night: "I'll still have to pay my lawyers, as I took advice on the matter before it was dropped, but I am glad justice has been done.

Mr Purdie, a postman, hit the deer as he was returning from Glasgow in the dark last June, where he had been giving support to his daughter Victoria, who was waiting for a kidney transplant.

He said: "There was blood and guts everywhere but if anyone was to blame for the accident it was the deer, not me.

"It was dark and I was only going at 50mph on a 60mph stretch of road. It ran out right in front of me and there was nothing I could do to avoid it.

Mr Purdie added: "I had to spend four days in Oban hospital because of my injuries, but I still managed to drag most of the dead deer to the side of the road before the ambulance arrived.

"The council apparently spent nine months looking for me, which must have cost them far more than the money they tried to recoup.

"I don't understand how it took them so long to track me down when the police took my registration details at the time.

"It cost me £200 to get my bike repaired. There was no way I should have been forking out another £386 to pay for a dead deer."

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute Council said at the time: "The delay in contacting this driver was due to us getting information from police central records."

Useless laws weaken necessary laws.

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