Another good result for a filtering motorcyclist

But what is particularly interesting is that it was held that the rider was travelling too fast for the circumstances (albeit under the legal limit), but it was deemed that regardless, the driver carrying out the U turn was 100% liable. Here is the judgement -


**A car driver who pulled out to execute a turn in the path of a motorcyclist was liable for injuries sustained by the latter because he had failed to ensure that the way was clear before making his manoeuvre. Even though the motorcyclist was travelling too fast, he would not have had time to avoid a serious accident if he had been travelling at a lesser speed and was therefore not contributorily negligent.

The court was required to apportion liability following a road traffic accident between the claimant motorcyclist (B) and the defendant car driver (D).

D had been stuck in traffic on a straight section of a single-lane A road subject to a 60 mph speed limit. B had been riding his motorcycle on the same road, in the same direction, behind D. D decided to execute a u-turn and go back in the opposite direction to escape the queue. In his statement made on the day of the accident, D stated that he had indicated for about 30 seconds before pulling out into the opposite lane. However, in a later witness statement he said that he had been indicating for 15 to 20 seconds before starting to turn. He had then collided with B, who was filtering past the queue of traffic and was thrown off his motorbike. B sustained severe injuries, including to his brain. Various witnesses gave evidence, including a driver who had been travelling in the opposite direction and who had just passed D when the collision occurred. The issues were whether D was liable for B’s injuries; and if so, whether B was contributorily negligent.

HELD: On the evidence, D had turned immediately after the oncoming vehicle had passed: he might have halted briefly, but it was more likely that he had assumed his passage was then clear and that his wheels had kept turning. Once the oncoming car had passed, D had turned in a way which struck witnesses as sudden, and it was likely that his car, being powerful and light, moved significantly faster than the average vehicle. D’s evidence as to when he turned on his indicator was contradictory. It had to be concluded that he had started indicating at the last moment once the oncoming car had passed and had not looked in his mirror properly, otherwise he would have seen B approaching him from behind. The probability was that, once the oncoming car had passed, D assumed that his passage was clear. There was no doubt that D had been negligent (see para.13 of judgment). (2) D had pulled out in front of B when he was only a short distance away, and B had had no chance of avoiding him. The expert evidence showed that B was most likely travelling at 45 mph before the collision. Although B might have been able to apply his brakes, he did not have time to reduce his speed by much or to avoid a serious accident. That conclusion was supported by independent eyewitness evidence. B was travelling somewhat too fast, as the top safe speed would have been 35 mph in the circumstances. However, even at that speed there would have still been an accident in which B would have sustained serious injury. Accordingly, there was no contributory negligence (paras 14-15, 17-18 of judgment).

Judgment for claimant**

Makes sense.

Contributory negligence is not based on your contribution to the accident, but on your contribution to your injuries.

An example might be where a lorry has an unsecured load, you are at least 50% liable for the accident, for whatever reasons, however, the unsecured load is what caused your injuries. Therefore, no finding of contributory negligence should be given in regard to the injuries you have sustained.

Interesting that it was held that the safe top speed would be 35mph in filtering on that road, which was subject to a 60mph limit.

I was thinking the same thing Rusty. Plus where do they get 35mph from if they admit that even at that speed he wouldn’t have been able to avoid the collision…? Still, it’s good that they’re not just assuming negligence because he was filtering.

Doesn’t describe the conditions on the road though - he could have been near a junction or corner, but that’s pure speculation. In any case you wouldn’t filter at 60 past a queue of stationary traffic - frankly that’s reckless.


I’ve always thought it impossible for any road user to win in the case they hit someone else by turning in to them? The Highway Code certainly agrees: - 103:

“give clear signals in plenty of time, having checked it is not misleading to signal at that time”“use them to advise other road users before changing course or direction, stopping or moving off”"… Remember that signalling does not give you priority" - 162 & 163

“road users are not beginning to overtake you”“use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out”“Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre” - 204, 211
“The most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders.”“It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when they are coming up from behind, coming out of junctions, at roundabouts, overtaking you or filtering through traffic … When turning right across a line of slow-moving or stationary traffic, look out for cyclists or motorcyclists on the inside of the traffic you are crossing. Be especially careful when turning, and when changing direction or lane. Be sure to check mirrors and blind spots carefully.”

I lost an ER6f to some idiot who pulled in front of me, turning across my path into a junction. He said, “I didn’t see you.” Sadly for him, the 16 witnesses I had seen him drive into my path.