Motorcycle Accidents and the Law


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Presentation by Brenda Mitchell, specialist motorcycle accident claims Lawyer, to EDAM (Edinburgh and District Advanced Motorcyclists) at their AGM

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Motorcycle Accidents and the Law

  1. 1. Presentation to EDAMApril 19th2013Royal High School - EdinburghMotorcycle Accidents and the Law
  2. 2. Brenda Mitchell
  3. 3. Motorcycle Law Scotland• Provide an innovative and dynamic legalservice for motorcyclists by motorcyclists• Cover ALL of Scotland from 4 offices• Only handle motorcycle accident and injurycases• Work on a “No win, no fee” basis• Are passionate about what we do
  4. 4. The LAW and perceived prejudice• Criminal cases• Civil cases
  5. 5. Sentences for motorcyclists• “Biker jailed for 6 mthsand banned for 18 mthsfor taking teenage sonon 122mph pillion ride.”• “Motorcyclist sentencedto 9 mths in jail fordangerous driving afterspeeding at 166mph.”compared to…..
  6. 6. Sentence for motorist• 63 yr old motorist Thomas Scully• 2 previous drink driving convictions• Sentenced to 18 wks jail suspended for 12months and 250 hrs community service.• Scully was 2x over legal alcohol limit• Pulled straight out in front of the 17 yr oldmotorcyclist and then drove off at speed afterthe crash leaving him for dead.
  7. 7. Evidence• Research suggests judges look forevidence that is:– Consistent– Contemporary– Independent– Common senseand most of all– Concordant with their own experience
  8. 8. An example of common sense?• Motorcyclist and a lorry approached a bend on a narrow country road.• Left bend for the motorcyclist and a right bend for the foreign ownedlorry. Neither could see each other on approach.• Lorry was over the centre line on the motorcyclist’s carriageway byabout a foot. The motorcyclist was near the centre line but within hiscarriageway.• Motorcyclist struck the front offside of the lorry and unfortunately losthis right leg.• Court of Appeal decided the lorry driver was not at fault as he couldn’tbe expected to drive with a counsel of perfection. On the other hand,the motorcyclist had not taken the “proper line" into the bend
  9. 9. • Rule 211Look out for Motorcyclists– when coming up from behind, out of junctions, at roundabouts,overtaking you or filtering.– always look out for them before you emerge from a Junction, whenturning right across a line of slow moving or stationary traffic.– Be especially careful when turning and when changing direction orlane.• Check mirrors and blind spotsHighway code
  10. 10. Case 1• Facts– B Road– Motorcyclist following a bus– Bus signals to turn left– Motorcyclist overtakes bus– Car sitting at junction sees thebus signalling left and pulls outto turn right
  11. 11. Case 1 – Result• Car driver 100% to blame as he should havewaited to let the bus get completely into theminor road before pulling out as there was arisk that road users, particularly motorcyclists,could be masked by the bus.• Case Harding v Hinchcliffe ( 1964 )
  12. 12. Case 2• Facts– Motorcyclist approached tail endof stationary traffic– Motorcyclist filtered up theoffside– Car emerged from a side roadinto a gap wanting to turn right– Tanker driver signalled car out– Car inched out and collided withmotorcyclist
  13. 13. Case 2 – Result• Motorcyclist 80 % to blame Car Driver 20%• Case Powell V Moody ( 1966 )
  14. 14. Case 3• Facts– Car driver wished to turnright from minor road toproceed south on majorroad– Petrol tanker travellingnorth stopped to leave agap– Car driver’s view ofNorthbound carriagewaywas blocked by position ofthe tanker– Car driver edged forwardpast the tanker– Struck a motorcyclist whowas filtering past the tankeron the northboundcarriageway
  15. 15. Case 3 – Result• Car driver 50 % Motorcyclist 50%• Case : Worsfold v Howie (1980)• There is no principle of law which entitles adriver to emerge blind from a minor road ontoa major road by inching forward beyond hisline of vision, even if he did so slowly.
  16. 16. Case 4• Facts– A motorcyclist wasundertaking stationarytraffic.– Oncoming car turnedright into the side roadfrom the main road– A collision occurred
  17. 17. Case 4 – Result• Car Driver 50% to blame Motorcyclist 50% toblame.• Fagan v Jeffers (2005).• Favourite case for solicitors representingmotorcyclists.• The Highway Code stipulates undertaking is notallowed BUT .....the driver should have anticipated a motorcyclistcoming up on the inside.
  18. 18. Case 5• Facts– A motorcyclist was overtakinga queue of stationary traffic ona long stretch of road with onelane in each direction.– A car driver in the stationaryqueue decided to execute a U-turn.– A collision occurred and themotorcyclist was seriouslyinjured.
  19. 19. Case 5 – Result• Car driver 100% to blame• Another one for the good guys• Case Davis v Scrogin ( 2006)
  20. 20. Case 6• Facts– Coach driver stopped ata T Junction (minor ontomajor road).– Wanted to turn right.– Road works andtemporary traffic lightsto left of junction andqueuing traffic.– Large tractor and trailerto the right so drivercan’t see beyond thetractor and trailer.– Coach driver pulled outand collided with afiltering motorcyclist.
  21. 21. Case 6 – Result• Motorcyclist 50% to blame Coach driver 50%• Case Woodham v Turner 2012- overturned 2011decision which was 70/30.• What happened to the principle of Law about field ofvision?• Second motorcyclist pulled in behind trailer.• Motorcyclist doing 20mph.• Judge said 15 MPH would have been better asmotorcyclist would have been able to stop.• Possibly first legal interpretation of what speed isfiltering and what is overtaking.
  22. 22. Case 7• Facts– A motorcyclist wasfollowing a car.– The driver took a suddenleft hand turn– The motorcyclistperformed an emergencystop but was thrownfrom his bike andcollided with the car.
  23. 23. Case 7 – Result• Motorcyclist 70% to blame Driver 30% toblame.• Case Mackeldon v Hinton (2005).• Those travelling in front still owe a duty of careto those travelling behind.• Car driver indicated late BUT....motorcyclist travelling too close behind
  24. 24. Case 8• Facts– Scooter rider proceedingbehind a refuse lorry whichintends to turn left.– Can’t turn in because of itssize until a waiting vehiclepulls out of the junction.– Car pulls out and getsbeyond the front off sideof the lorry.– Collision with the moped.
  25. 25. Case 8 – Result• Scooter rider 100% to blame• Case Farley v Buckley ( 2007)• Scooter rider was speeding• Car driver proceeding slowly• Serious want of care on the part of the scooterrider
  26. 26. Case 9• Facts– A car driver exiting froma minor road onto amajor road– The car drivers line ofvision was partiallyblocked by parked cars.– Collision occurred with aspeeding motorcyclist
  27. 27. Case 9 – Result• Driver 25% blame Motorcyclist 75% to blame• Case Heaton v Herzog ( 2008 )• The court held that the car driver was under acontinuing obligation to give way to traffic onthe major road and take extreme care movingoff especially if sight-lines were reduced.• However, there was no doubt that themotorcyclist was travelling at excessive speed.
  28. 28. Case 10• Facts– Motorcyclist travelling on asingle carriageway with 40mphlimit overtook a lorry.– Northbound and Southboundcarriageways separated byhatched area bordered bybroken white lines.– Overtake performed over thehatched area.– A van driver emerged from ajunction intending to turnright.– Collision unavoidable.– Speed of the Motorcyclist 60-70mph.
  29. 29. Case 10 – Result• Van Driver 20% to blame Motorcyclist 80%to blame.• Case Vincent Ringe V Eden Springs (2012).• Motorcyclist aware of junction because ofhatched area.• Van driver should have waited as size of thelorry blocked his line of vision.
  30. 30. Single vehicle accidents
  31. 31. Legal Expense Insurance• Notification of accident – April 2013• Motorcycle rider insured with Hastings• Reports Accident.• Don’t worry we will look after you.• Car driver is insured with Hastings.
  32. 32. What if it happens to you?• It’s your choice, NOT your insurer’s• Motorcycle Law Scotland’s Legal ExpenseProtectionTo register for FREE, go to pick up a card tonight and activate it.
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