A farmer has been quizzed by police after mud on the road may have caused a crash between a motorcyclist and a car.
The biker suffered leg injuries after he collided with a black BMW estate car on the A3124 road in Beaford, North Devon.
The local man, aged in his 20s, was taken to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, where he was treated for his injuries, which police said were not serious.
The crash activated the BMW’s airbag on the passenger’s side and its front right wheel buckled. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
PC Matt Gardner, of North Devon Roads Policing Unit, said the motorcycle appeared to have slid on mud deposited on the road after farmwork in a field.
Mr Gardner said the farmer, who has not been named, has been interviewed by police. No charges or arrests have been made.
The road was closed for several hours after the crash at about 7am on Monday (16 October), causing heavy traffic between Winkleigh and Torrington.
Police said council officers were called to clean the road, which was heavily covered in mud.
Elsewhere, North Yorkshire County Council has issued a warning to farmers that they could be potentially liable for road traffic accidents if they leave mud on roads.
The council said it had received a number of reports of mud on roads in recent weeks.
Mud on the road: know the law
Farmers who deposit mud on the road are potentially liable for a range of offences and a range of powers are available to police and the highway authority, primarily under the Highways Act 1980 and Road Traffic Act 1988.
The Highways Act 1980 states: “If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence.”
The Road Traffic Act 1988 covers situations where a vehicle is driven dangerously on a road. This can include driving a vehicle in a state that could cause danger to others. Punishment for these offences ranges from fines to imprisonment.
Farmers or vehicle operators must:
- Be prepared to hire equipment to promptly remove deposits
- Keep to their own farm roads whenever possible
- Keep to low speeds and prevent mud from being deposited by removing excess before driving on to roads
- Clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end of the working day
- Ensure labour and equipment is suitable for the soil and weather
- Where a contractor is used, ensure that a prior agreement is reached about who is responsible for mud on roads (such as signs and cleaning) and that public liability insurance is in place
Source: North Yorkshire County Council