Is there a safe speed for a motorcycle overtaking a stationary traffic queue?

If a motorcyclist is overtaking a line of traffic and hits a vehicle which pulls out of that line a claim for compensation will be defended. The argument is the motorcycle was being ridden too fast, or filtering was not safe.Traffic queues likely and motorcyle overtaking

Well I have a refreshing case to tell you about which might make the insurers think twice before arguing about speed and filtering. Continue reading “Is there a safe speed for a motorcycle overtaking a stationary traffic queue?”

Motorcycle filtering past traffic queue

Ben was riding a Derbi GPR50 motorcycle on the A143 in the Great Barton area. In his direction traffic was queuing because of road works ahead. He decided to overtake the queue, but ran into the front of a coach emerging from a side road to his left. He did not see the coach as his view was blocked by a tractor and trailer which had stopped so it would not block a side road. The coach driver had the same problem.

The coach was crawling to get a view of the road, at about 4 mph. Ben was riding at about 20 mph. Ben knew the road so knew there was a side road.

Most important was that Ben was riding with a friend. The friend hung back behind the tractor and trailer because he knew the side road was there.

The coach came out at an angle, which means nearside first into the road. Of course the turn had to be made but driving in this way put more of the coach into the road before the driver could see right and left.

The coach driver did not see the motorcyclist until they collided.

The primary responsibility was the coach drivers as the coach was being driven into a major road. The Judge decided that the motorcyclist was riding too fast for the situation, and he knew there was a junction.

The Highway Code has some wise words:

The Highway Code, Rules for Motorcyclists (83-88) states (at Rule 88):

“Manoeuvring …. When in traffic queues look out for pedestrians crossing between vehicles and vehicles emerging from junctions or changing lanes. Position yourself so that divers in front can see you in their mirrors. Additionally, when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low.”

The Highway Code on Overtaking (162-169) states (at Rule 167):

“DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example

  • Approaching or at a road junction on either side of the road.
  • Where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works.”

The High Court Judge said 30 per cent of the blame lay with the motorcyclist.

The case is called Ben Woodham v J M  Turner trading as Turners of Great Barton and was heard in June 2011. The judgment is available by clicking here. This is the High Court judgment which was changed on appeal.

The case then went to the Court of Appeal, the insurers of the coach arguing the partial blame of the motorcyclist was too low.

The Court of Appeal decision was tougher on the motorcyclist.

It was clear the accident would not have happened if the coach driver had only waited until she had a clear view to her right; instead she had elected to proceed when there was no effective view.

Equally the accident would not have occurred if Ben had not, contrary to the Highway Code, chosen to filter up on the offside of the queue of traffic when the gap left by the tractor meant a vehicle might come out of the junction. Added to this his speed was too high for evasive action.

In respect of relative blameworthiness, it seemed that the motorcyclist was as much to blame for the accident as the coach driver. Both parties were fifty per cent liable for the accident

The injuries were serious in the case, so an appeal by the insurers made financial sense. They save 50 per cent of the compensation which would have been due to Ben had he been found blameless.

Remember each of these cases depends on its own facts. This case does not say that every motorcyclist who filters alongside traffic will be partly to blame. It says this motorcyclist was partly to blame. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident get in touch for the advice of an experienced motorcycle accident solicitor.

Contributory negligence examples

The concept of contributory negligence is based on a claimant being partly responsible for the damage. The clearest example is a car driver who does not wear a seat belt. Not wearing the seat belt does not cause the accident, but it contributes to the damage – the injury.

Contributory negligence needs some explanation.

Contributory negligence is sometimes called partial fault, but this is confusing. The concept is based on a claimant being partly responsible for the damage. I am asked about 50:50 offers to settle personal injury cases. They are usually just compromise offers which have no real basis in law.

A good example to start with is a car driver or passenger who does not wear a seat belt. Not wearing the seat belt does not cause the accident, but it contributes to the damage (the injury in this example).  Another example is where an employee has failed to wear safety equipment. An accident occurs for other reasons, but the failure to wear safety equipment contributes to the injury, not the accident. If this claim is upheld by the court, the employer can suggest that any damages awarded to the complainant should be reduced by an amount that represents the portion of the blame assumed by the employee. If a claimant is found to have contributed by 20 per cent, that same 20 per cent will be deducted from the compensation received. Continue reading “Contributory negligence examples”

Motorcycle filtering through traffic

Motorcycle, scooter and moped filtering through and past traffic

Filtering through traffic is one of the many advantages of riding a motorcycle, a scooter, or a moped. The downside is that it is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Drivers fail to see bikes at the best of times, let alone when you are approaching in a way they do not expect. Drivers who ride motorcycles understand, but drivers who only drive are constantly surprised by what riders can do, and they fail to take that into account. They do not think bike, or bicycle for that matter. Continue reading “Motorcycle filtering through traffic”

Third party capture

Third party capture

Third party capture is the name given to a practice operated by some insurance companies after road traffic accidents. They know their own driver is at fault so the insurer will contact the innocent party direct, before that person has time to seek their own advice. The third party, that is the person not responsible for the accident, has been “captured.” Continue reading “Third party capture”

Tractor turns right across overtaking motorcyclist

Calculation of compensation an dcontributory negligence

A tractor turning right, without indicating, as a motorcyclist overtook had serious consequences.

The rider was knocked off his bike and then run over. Many fractures were suffered, together with a head injury. The accident brought to an end a promising military career and, in fact, the combination of the physical disability and the head injury, made future employment unlikely. Continue reading “Tractor turns right across overtaking motorcyclist”

Motorcycle v U turning car

U turn causes motorcycle accident

Jack was on his way home from work on his Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle, his pride and joy. The bike at the time was renowned as the fastest bike on the road.

He had been riding up hill on a dual carriageway and was just about to overtake a car which  U-turned across him. Jack did his best but hit the car. Continue reading “Motorcycle v U turning car”

Head injury – long term effect

Motorcyclist suffers head injury

A motorcyclist suffered a catalogue of physical injuries, but most serious long term was a head injury.

The rider was overtaking a tractor which turned right across him and then ran him over. By establishing the tractor did not indicate, Mark Thompson secured a compensation settlement in excess of £1 million for the motorcyclist.

The defence argued excessive speed – almost an automatic argument when a motorcyclist is involved,I am afraid. Continue reading “Head injury – long term effect”