Insurance leaves deaf, blind stunt rider grounded

Published: 29 July 2009

A deaf, blind stunt rider has been priced out of doing 150mph speed runs, cage rolls and two-up wheelies – because his insurance has gone up to £250 a day.

Graham Hicks, who rides at shows and airfields with a passenger giving instructions via touch, has spent three months trying to get cover for 2009.

“My broker said the underwriter had looked into the background info and come up with £1000 for public liability cover for four days of riding,” he said.

“How can that be justified? In four days it would be a grand up the spout. I’ve been riding 12 years and haven’t made a single claim.”

Hicks, who works as a bicycle repair mechanic, speaks normally but can only ‘hear’ using finger spelling, a system of spelling out words on his hand.

He is so attuned to touch he once once blew up a nitrous Blackbird-engined quad at around 150mph – and still whipped the clutch in before a broken con rod poked out of the crankcase.

He believes the underwriter’s decision after his unblemished record amounts to discrimination.

“How does it compare with the average biker? Many of them have made one or more claims in that time and can still get insurance.

"Neither do they spend three months trying to get it. It’s much more dangerous riding on the road than on open concrete with nothing for a quarter of a mile in all directions.

"It’s called taking the piss.”