Those of you who instruct or ride to an advanced level, will know that we always advocate maximizing your view through a bend, namely out towards the crown for a left hander, in towards the kerb for a right hander , it also puts the rider in a dominant position able to plan ahead and react better with the improved view.
It is also important to emphasize that riders are or should be taught to make sure that they sacrifice their position in situations where there is a possibility of conflict, it appears the rider in this case did not do so.
Well, the below case that was reported today, takes a different stance in that the Judge has dismissed an appeal from a rider who was maximizing his view, but got clipped by a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
The facts as reported below are quite clear, but something to bear in mind for those of you who do use advanced techniques, and even those who don’t but still appreciate the benefit of the enhanced position in left handers.
**A judge had been entitled to find, on the balance of probabilities, that a motorcyclist was responsible for the road traffic accident in which he was injured by riding his motorcycle onto the wrong side of the road.
The appellant (S) appealed against a finding that he was responsible for a road traffic accident by riding his motorcycle onto the wrong side of the road.
S had been injured when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car driven by the respondent (X). S claimed damages, and the matter came before the judge on the issue of liability only, to determine whether S or X had been driving on the wrong side of the road at the point of collision. S alone gave live, oral evidence at trial. He contended that, as he approached the sweeping left-hand bend on which the accident occurred, he had been driving towards the middle of the road to give himself maximum visibility. S admitted that his right hand might have crossed over the centre line, but asserted that he had remained on the correct side of the road. He claimed that although he had not seen X’s vehicle cross over, the collision had to have been caused by X wandering across into his lane. X did not give evidence as he was 93 years old and not fit enough to attend court. The driver (B) of a vehicle who had been in front of S when the accident occurred was meant to give evidence, but did not attend trial. His statement suggested that he had seen the collision in his rear-view mirror, and that S had been on the wrong side of the road. He also stated that whilst he was stationary and waiting to turn right, X had driven past him on the correct side of the road. The judge found that S was a frank, honest and credible witness, but that his evidence was a matter of reconstruction rather than recollection. The judge gave no weight to B’s evidence of what he purported to have seen in his rear-view mirror, but accepted the fact that X’s car had passed him on the correct side of the road as a key feature. He also took account of S’s admission that his right hand had strayed over the centre line. The judge concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, it was most likely that the collision had been caused by S crossing onto the wrong side of the road.
S contended that, on a fair reading of the evidence before him, it was not open to the judge to reach that conclusion.
HELD: There could be no dispute that, since X had driven his car past B’s stationary vehicle, he had to have been on the correct side of the road at that point. Whilst he could have wandered over into the wrong lane afterwards, that would have to have happened quickly and without reason. B’s evidence of X passing him was a key feature of the evidence accepted by the judge, and one on which he was entitled to rely. The other feature relied on by the judge, arising out of the frankness with which S had given evidence, was the admission that S’s right hand might have crossed over the centre line. If that was so, and S was leaning to the left as he rounded the left-hand bend, his motorcycle had to have been over the central white line. That was an important admission and another feature on which the judge was entitled to rely. The judge had had to decide, on the balance of probabilities, what was most likely to have happened. His conclusion, based on those two essential and reliable features, was one which he had been entitled to reach.**