Lismore City Council Chambers.
Lismore City Council Chambers.

Lismore council in court over compensation case

WAS the Lismore City Council to blame for a horror motorcycle crash which left a veteran rider and cancer patient with permanent brain damage?

Almost seven years after Brisbane bike enthusiast David Pillinger swerved out of control and cracked his skull on Nimbin Rd, it's a question a Sydney judge has been asked to consider.

Final submissions were made in the negligence case being brought against the council by Mr Pillinger and his wife Helen in the Sydney Supreme Court this week.

A severe rain storm had hit the area the day before Mr Pillinger crashed on January 22, 2006.

He claims the council's failure to clear road materials, which allegedly washed across the road during the storm, following repairs carried out by contractor Boral and lack of signage warning of a potential road hazard, led to the crash.

While there have been varying accounts about whose responsibility it was to clear the road work site, the council has maintained it was not at fault.

During the hearings Mr Pillinger gave evidence he was an experienced rider who had travelled all around Australia and had only come off his bike "on a race track".

Several witnesses who travelled through the area following the rain storm described seeing a thick band of loose material, whether it be aggregate, gravel or rock, washed across the road.

A senior North Coast police officer who attended the scene said the material was about an "inch deep" and he had observed a "zig zagging" pattern for about 30 metres before the crash site where he found blue scrape marks, consistent with the colour of Mr Pillinger's motorbike.

A local resident said she had driven through the section of road in the lead-up to the accident and had not noticed loose gravel.It is not yet clear how much compensation Mr Pillinger, who is now aged 56, is seeking.

Challenging questions about his health and life expectancy were asked of his doctor during the proceedings to help determine the amount he would receive should he be successful.

The doctor told the court that provided Mr Pillinger not experience a "re-occurrence" of bowel cancer, he could expect to live for about eight more years.

A decision is not expected until the new year.