The accident occurred in May 2010. The Claimant was riding his motorcycle down the outside of two lanes of slow moving traffic leaving Plymouth. The Defendant was driving his car on a side street which joined the main road the Claimant was travelling along.
The Defendant wanted to cross the lanes of traffic leaving Plymouth and join the two lanes of traffic travelling into Plymouth.
The traffic leaving Plymouth stopped to allow the Defendant driver out of the side road. As the Defendant began to turn right he collided with the Claimant. The Claimant sustained serious injuries. The issue to be determined was the apportionment of fault between the parties.
The Court ruled that a driver crossing lanes of slow moving traffic had to be aware of the possibility that a motorcyclist might be proceeding along the outside of the traffic. There was an obligation for the driver to edge forward to alert the motorcyclist and giving himself the best opportunity to see the motorcyclist. There was also an obligation to look to the right, after checking the left was clear so that he would have warning of the motorcyclist approaching. The Defendant was found to have done none of those things, these failures caused the collision, and therefore, the Defendant was found liable.
However, although a motorcyclist was entitled to ride past lines of slow moving traffic, there was an obligation for him to do so slowly with particular awareness that vehicles may emerge from side roads. The Claimant was found to have been riding at around 30mph which was deemed too fast. The Claimant did not see the gap in the traffic or the Defendants car, both of which he should have seen. His failure to keep a proper look out, and his excessive speed had been causative of the accident.
There were two features which tilted the balance in the Claimants favour, firstly, it was the Defendant crossing the path of the Claimant which created the hazard, and motorcyclists are vulnerable road users. As a result there was a finding of two thirds one third in favour of the Claimant.