Sport – A bill to clarify responsibilities in motorcycle sport –

A bill to clarify responsibilities in motorcycle sport

Sport - A bill to clarify responsibilities in motorcycle sport -

While the Court of Cassation calls into question the notion of acceptance of the risks associated with the practice of sport and poses a threat to motorcycle sport in terms of civil liability, the deputy Eric Berdoati wants to clarify the situation. Explanations.

In a judgment of November 4, 2010, the Court of Cassation considers that "the victim of damage caused by a thing can invoke the responsibility resulting from article 1384, paragraph 1 of the civil code, against the custodian of the thing, instrument of the damage, without being able to be opposed its acceptance of risks".


On the handlebars of his motorcycle, Mr. X. participates in a training session on a closed circuit when he is struck by Mr. Y.’s motorcycle, whose engine belongs to Suzuki France and the other parts to Bug’Moto, Suzuki dealer in Le Mans.

Injured, Mr. X. assigns Mr. Y., Suzuki France, Bug’Moto and GIAT Team 72, preparer of Mr. Y’s motorcycle for compensation..

But the Paris Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. X. of his claims, on the grounds that "the accident occurred between competitors in training, evolving on a closed circuit exclusively dedicated to sporting activity where the rules of the highway code do not apply, and which was intended to assess and improve runners performance".

The Court of Appeal further considers, in accordance with current case law, that "participation in this training implied acceptance of the risks inherent in such a sport".

Mr X then appealed to the Court of Cassation.

In short: this decision calls into question the notion of acceptance of the risks inherent in the practice of sport, which poses a significant risk for sport in general and motorcycle sport in particular..

"It’s a new sword of Damocles above the head of motorcycle sport", said Jacques Bolle in particular during the annual conference of the French Motorcycling Federation (FFM) on December 7, 2011 at the Automobile Club de France.

Recalling that "Until now, the theory of risk acceptance has limited the liability of sports actors in the context of competitive practice, except in cases of serious misconduct", the president of the FFM underlines that this new position of the Court of Cassation"now tends to allow the engagement of their responsibility, even in the absence of fault !"

Quasi-automatic liability system

"This quasi-automatic liability system considerably increases the risk of a conviction and worries insurers who have to take charge of claims", Jacques Bolle alarmed, believing that we should expect"a sharp increase in insurance premiums both for the organization of races and for licenses".

Visibly sensitive to these arguments, the deputy Éric Berdoati (UMP, Hauts-de-Seine) has just tabled a bill of January 24, 2012 aimed at "modify the civil liability regime for the things of sports practitioners on places reserved for sports practice".

The bill

UMP deputy from Hauts-de-Seine Eric Berdoati proposes to insert after article L. 321-3 of the sports code an article L. 321-3-1 as follows:

“Art. L. 321-3-1. – Practitioners cannot be held responsible for damage other than bodily injury caused by something in their care within the meaning of the first paragraph of Article 1384 of the Civil Code to another practitioner, during the exercise by those – here a sporting practice in a place permanently or temporarily reserved for sporting practice. "

Recalling that the judgment delivered on November 4, 2010 by the Cour de cassation "abandons the theory of risks accepted in sports practice by retaining the principle of liability without fault for things defined in article 1384 of the civil code", the deputy wishes to put an end to"the inconsistency observed in the conditions of exemption from this liability: exemption for accidents occurring in competition, but commitment for those in training".

Before the decision of November 4, 2010, case law indeed confined the theory of risk acceptance to only damage suffered during a sports competition, considering that there was no need to apply it to damage suffered during a sports competition. workouts.

Acceptance of risks

So this presented "a certain form of inconsistency and did not allow all the situations encountered to be treated fairly, even though they were also linked to the practice of the same sport"regrets Eric Berdoati by denouncing the fact that this decision makes"fully weigh on the sports federations, subject to compulsory insurance, the repair of damage, bodily and material, resulting from an accident occurring in particular in competition".

"For certain sports, such as motorsport or motorcycling, this potentially heavy burden endangers the practice of these sports activities, as the federations may find themselves financially unable to bear the additional cost generated by this decision due to the increase in costs. insurance premiums likely to result", also notes the deputy also manager of the adult training company Presse Entreprises.

His bill therefore aims to "compensate for these difficulties by excluding no-fault liability for material damage. However, this exclusion would only concern activities practiced in places reserved, permanently or temporarily, for sports (closed places or areas temporarily stopped, for example for a cycling race).".

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