Andrew Peters of Bott and Co’s Motorcycle Claims Team comments on a recent case involving a motorcyclist who was seriously injured whilst filtering along the outside of a line of stationary traffic where liability was found entirely in the motorcyclist’s favour and which is a beneficial finding for future cases involving similar circumstances.
The High Court has recently given Judgment in favour of a motorcyclist who was seriously injured whilst filtering along the outside of a line of stationary traffic.
In Marcel Beasley (by his litigation friend Cadell Beasley) v Paul Alexander)  EWHC 2197 (QB) the Court found entirely in favour of the Claimant (C) despite making a finding that he was travelling too fast because even if he had been travelling at a lesser speed he would not have had time to avoid a serious accident and was not therefore contributorily negligent.
The Defendant (D) had been stuck in traffic on a straight section of a single lane A road subject to a 60 mph speed limit. C had been riding his motorcycle on the same road, in the same direction behind D. Given the slow moving/stationary traffic C was filtering along the outside of that traffic. D decided to execute a U-turn and go back in the opposite direction to escape the queue. Although D’s evidence was that he had been indicating for some considerable time (about 30 seconds) before pulling out into the opposite lane the Court found that, in fact, he began indicating almost at the same time as commencing his manoeuvre which was immediately after the oncoming carriageway became clear of traffic.
Accordingly the Court also found that once the oncoming car had passed D had turned in a way which struck independent witnesses as sudden and that the probability was that D had assumed his passage was clear and that he had not looked in his mirror properly, otherwise he would have seen C approaching him from behind.
The Court found accordingly that D had been negligent and that he had pulled out in front of C when C was only a short distance away and therefore had no chance of avoiding the collision. The Court found that C was travelling at 45 mph before the collision and reached a further conclusion that this speed was somewhat too fast as the safe top speed would have been 35 mph in the circumstances. However, even at that speed there would still have been an accident in which C would have sustained serious injury and accordingly there was no contributory negligence.