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Saw a motorbike crash this morning

graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
edited January 2013 in Commuting chat
When I was cycled to work this morning along the Kenilworth road in Coventry I glanced up and saw a motorcyclist fly sideways across the road and land on the cycle path.

I crossed onto the cycle path and sprinted up to where he was lying. By the time I got there a driver was kneeling by him and on the phone calling an ambulance. The motorcyclist looked broadly ok, but I think he's going to be pretty sore tomorrow morning.

The driver of the people carrier who had hit him explained to me what had happened:


The blue line is a line of queuing/slow moving taffic, the opposite carriageway was full of slow moving traffic. The pink arrow is the motorcyclist filtering, and the green arrow is the VW people carrier/van that hit the motorcyclist.

The driver said he was pulling out of his driveway when a van travelling northwards flashed him out. He pulled out and collided with the side of the motorcyclist with the front of his vehicle.

He must have pulled forwards with a bit of speed, rather than crept forwards as the motorcyclist was propelled all the way across the road and landed on the cycle path.

Interestingly the driver seemed utterly convinced that he wasn't at fault in anyway, even though he lived on that road, and knew that cyclists and motorcyclists filtered past the queuing traffic during rush hour every morning.

The van who flashed the guy out didn't stop at the scene. As far as I'm aware he wouldn't be culpable in anyway, but he would have had a perfect view of everything that happened. He must have driven round the edge of the motorbike hanging into the road to get past!

A minute or so later, I'd have been filtering along exactly the same stretch of road. I'd like to think that I'd have spotted a car wide gap and anticipated that something might have pulled out into it, but I can't know that for sure. I also don't know how fast the motorbike was travelling.

I waited until an ambulance arrived and then left a business card at the scene. There were other people who left their details who had a better view than me. I've been knocked off 3 times in 6 years (the first time at almost exactly that spot) and in one case nobody stopped, and in the other two cases only the driver who hit me stopped so I really felt I should leave my details just in case I could be of any use later.
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  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Never great witnessing an accident - glad that the motorcyclist seemed broadly OK. I lost one friend and another is paraplegic from exactly this type of incident.

    I watched a car accident unfold in my rear-view mirror at the weekend - car pulled into the outside lane whilst not looking properly - fortunately the car he hit gathered it all up having got quite sideways and no-one was hurt. Could have been much worse had he lost it.

    Take care out there, people.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    The guy on the van may not be liable in law, but he's a pratt for flashing the guy out without checking his mirrors. Well done for stopping.
  • Nearly had the same happen to me once, daft bint pulling out from the side-road was on her mobile as well. I wasn't the usual calm, collected Elephant I usually am, that morning.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Veronese68 wrote:
    The guy on the van may not be liable in law, but he's a pratt for flashing the guy out without checking his mirrors. Well done for stopping.
    It's worse than that. My understanding is the VW driver was turning right out of his driveway, and the van that flashed him out was travelling in the opposite direction to the motorbike so should have clearly seen the bike coming towards him.

    Possible I've misunderstood the incident I suppose. From where I was all I saw was the bike and rider fly sideways across the road.
  • davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
    I know a former motorcyclist that ended up in a wheelchair because of a moron that thought leaving her driveway gave her right of way, and there wasn't even any filtering going on.

    Flashing of lights is courtesy, but I notice that a fair few professional drivers don't do it anymore in static traffic situations. They just wait, which can be hard on a bicycle as you aren't sure if they are going to lurch forward or will wait.
  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    If the van driver had signalled the car out with his hand (Hand gesture) he would be liable under UK law.

    it could mean nothing but........ he did use the lights to signal
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Highway code

    Rule 110 states:

    'Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.'

    Rule 111 adds:

    'Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.'

    So van driver that flashed broke rule 110 if he flashed his lights "to convey any other message" and therefore has some liability. Of course he can clearly argue that he flashed to let the other road users know he was there and did not flash signal it was ok to pull out.

    The other driver was in breach of rule 111.

    In summary if the van driver meant anything other than "I'm here" in flashing his lights he has some responsibility for the accident. However, even if this was admitted or proven it does not mean the other driver is not at fault as well. How this would play out in criminal law I do not know, from an insurance perspective I'd expect a split in liability between both drivers with the majority being the person pulling out of the drive.

    Also worth consideration if the motorcyclist is also at fault as Rule 167 says

    DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example
    ...
    where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works

    Which suggest the motorcylist should not of been filtering.....
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Some more stuff on this

    From http://www.theinjurylawyers.co.uk/injur ... d-the-law/
    In Fagan V Jeffers a motor scooter, riding on the inside of two lanes of stationary traffic, collided witha car turning right across a gap created by “Keep Clear” markings painted on the carriageway. It was held by the Judge that each driver was equally to blame. The motorcyclist was negligent as he had failed to keep a look out for turning traffic whislt undertaking a dangerous manoeuvre. The car driver was also at fault as he should have realised that there had been sufficient room for a two-wheeled vehicle to pass between the near-side and the kerb.

    Cars emerging from a junction into the path of a motorcycle

    As a motorcyclist you are afforded specific protection by R. 187 of the Highway Code:

    “It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when they are coming up from behind, coming out of junctions or roundabouts” Always look out for them when you are emerging from a junction”.

    Fault nearly always lies with the emerging motorist in these type of claims, unless the motorcyclist on the major road is speeding or overtaking a line of stationary traffic when contributory negligence usually falls anywhere between 50% – 80%.

    Food for thought when filtering on the bike....
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Sketchley wrote:
    Food for thought when filtering on the bike....

    I've recently been nudged by a car cutting across a cycle lane so even in your own lane it is risky. I do filter past queuing traffic but I tend to assume someone might pull out at every junction. I'm more nervous though of cycle lanes past stationary traffic and pedestrians running into the cycle lane from the other side of the road.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • inkzinkz Posts: 123
    Gaps in slow moving traffic always scare the censored out of me.

    I'm waiting to be filtering up the inside in the cycle lane overtaking slow traffic for someone to turn in from the opposite direction and get me one day. All we can do is help ourselves by being wary and reading the road.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I think what leaves me feeling the VW driver needs to shoulder a fair bit of the blame is the distance the motorcyclist went when he was hit. If the VW driver had been creeping out carefully then he might have clipped the motorcyclist, but he gave him a good whack.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Graeme_S wrote:
    I think what leaves me feeling the VW driver needs to shoulder a fair bit of the blame is the distance the motorcyclist went when he was hit. If the VW driver had been creeping out carefully then he might have clipped the motorcyclist, but he gave him a good whack.

    The VW driver is clearly liable and is almost certainly the most liable of all three parties and would have to shoulder the biggest share if the liability is split. The fact he pulled out quickly without consideration makes him more liable than if he did it slowly but would not remove all liability from the other partied (in the same way as the van driver flashing his light does not remove all liability from the VW driver). There is also a case for the van driver to take a share of the liability if it can be proven that he did indeed indicate that it was clear to pull out, and for the motorcyclist to share some of the liability as they should not of been overtaking a line of stationary traffic. What the split of the liability will be once the various lawyes / insurers get on the case don't know and would depend on a lot on the value of the claim and any injuries sustained.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    Sketchley wrote:
    ...and for the motorcyclist to share some of the liability as they should not of been overtaking a line of stationary traffic.
    Nonsense. There is no reason not to be passing a line of traffic along there. When I did my motorcycle training I was told in no uncertain terms that I could be failed for NOT passing stationary traffic. A motorcycle is expected to make reasonable progress through traffic.
    In spite of this I failed first time for undue hesitation. A bit slow pulling out of the first junction I got to and I didn't go all the way to the front of a line of traffic at a red light.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Well I suspect the van driver will get off scot free as he didn't hang about at the scene!

    Couldn't tell you whether the queue was stationary or slow moving at the point of the collision. I understood that cyclists and motorcyclists were allowed to overtake stationary or slow moving traffic (obviously with caution).

    It's not uncommon that there's a mile of standing/crawling traffic on that road during rush hour and I overtake it every day.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Rolf F wrote:
    Sketchley wrote:
    Food for thought when filtering on the bike....

    I've recently been nudged by a car cutting across a cycle lane so even in your own lane it is risky. I do filter past queuing traffic but I tend to assume someone might pull out at every junction. I'm more nervous though of cycle lanes past stationary traffic and pedestrians running into the cycle lane from the other side of the road.

    Not suggesting that you shouldn't be careful in this circumstance, I know I am, car leaving gaps and flashing people out is one things that scares me more than anything else on the bike. However, rules are different for cycle lanes to what I posted above anyone turning out of a side road or left or right accross a cycle lane must give way to vehicles in the cycle lane (see below). This would mean if there was a cycle lane down the left and you were filtering down it on a cycle, and this happend, you could not be deemed liable at all, but (if i'm interpreting this correctly) if there was no cycle lane you may be held partly liable as you should not of been filtering (ovetaking) the stationary traffic, however regardless of if your liable or not it would still hurt....
    rule 159 When turning
    ...
    •give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Sketchley wrote:
    This would mean if there was a cycle lane down the left and you were filtering down it on a cycle, and this happend, you could not be deemed liable at all, but (if i'm interpreting this correctly) if there was no cycle lane you may be held partly liable as you should not of been filtering (ovetaking) the stationary traffic, however regardless of if your liable or not it would still hurt....

    From a scariness point of view it makes little difference. Pedestrians and road users assume bike lanes are decoration and empty in places like Leeds (ie not enough people on bikes). Not sure the liability issue is that clearcut though. For example, this morning I filtered past a good 3/4 mile of stationary traffic. I probably did all of this on my side of the white line. On that basis, I was doing no more wrong than a car going round a parked car - as far as I can see anyway!

    Even where I do cross the white line, if the oncoming lane is clear all I'm doing is overtaking slow moving traffic. Surely no different to cars overtaking me?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Veronese68 wrote:
    Sketchley wrote:
    ...and for the motorcyclist to share some of the liability as they should not of been overtaking a line of stationary traffic.
    Nonsense. There is no reason not to be passing a line of traffic along there. When I did my motorcycle training I was told in no uncertain terms that I could be failed for NOT passing stationary traffic. A motorcycle is expected to make reasonable progress through traffic.
    In spite of this I failed first time for undue hesitation. A bit slow pulling out of the first junction I got to and I didn't go all the way to the front of a line of traffic at a red light.


    It's not nonsense. See post above
    Fault nearly always lies with the emerging motorist in these type of claims, unless the motorcyclist on the major road is speeding or overtaking a line of stationary traffic when contributory negligence usually falls anywhere between 50% – 80%.

    I know nothing of motorcycle test. But this is does not say specifcally that you should not make progress in traffic or pass stationary traffic. This is pointing to (shared) liability should you be passing a queue of stationary traffic and get hit by a emerging car. The point being that you should be aware of the potential danger and ride accordingly. I'm assuming on a motorcycle test that if you rode down the outside of stationary traffic with scant disregard for your own saftey you would fail?
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    Sketchley wrote:
    Veronese68 wrote:
    Sketchley wrote:
    ...and for the motorcyclist to share some of the liability as they should not of been overtaking a line of stationary traffic.
    Nonsense. There is no reason not to be passing a line of traffic along there. When I did my motorcycle training I was told in no uncertain terms that I could be failed for NOT passing stationary traffic. A motorcycle is expected to make reasonable progress through traffic.
    In spite of this I failed first time for undue hesitation. A bit slow pulling out of the first junction I got to and I didn't go all the way to the front of a line of traffic at a red light.


    It's not nonsense. See post above
    Fault nearly always lies with the emerging motorist in these type of claims, unless the motorcyclist on the major road is speeding or overtaking a line of stationary traffic when contributory negligence usually falls anywhere between 50% – 80%.

    I know nothing of motorcycle test. But this is does not say specifcally that you should not make progress in traffic or pass stationary traffic. This is pointing to (shared) liability should you be passing a queue of stationary traffic and get hit by a emerging car. The point being that you should be aware of the potential danger and ride accordingly. I'm assuming on a motorcycle test that if you rode down the outside of stationary traffic with scant disregard for your own saftey you would fail?
    The bit I am saying is nonsense is that he shouldn't have been overtaking stationary traffic. That makes it sound like there is a law against it, there isn't.
  • nationnation Posts: 609
    These are always a bit iffy. There's precedent either way with regard to whether a filtering bike/motorbike is partially at fault for this kind of collision, mostly dependent on the personal biases of the judge delivering the decision (some will say filtering is perfectly legitimate and reasonable, some will say that you are engaging in a foreseeably risky activity by doing it).

    The guys that specialise in Bikers are better at arguing them, but they usually have to be litigated to hold the driver pulling out fully liable, because most motor insurers will default to a stance of "50/50, litigate if you think you can do better".
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Veronese68 wrote:
    The bit I am saying is nonsense is that he shouldn't have been overtaking stationary traffic. That makes it sound like there is a law against it, there isn't.

    There is this from highway code

    Rule 167

    DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example
    ...
    where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Sketchley wrote:
    Veronese68 wrote:
    The bit I am saying is nonsense is that he shouldn't have been overtaking stationary traffic. That makes it sound like there is a law against it, there isn't.

    There is this from highway code

    Rule 167

    DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example
    ...
    where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works
    It's not very clear or specific as a rule though is it? If you're on a bicycle and judge that you won't come into conflict by overtaking then that's very different to someone turning up in an oil tanker and deciding to overtake in the same circumstances.

    In the situation this morning the traffic was queuing for a junction, but that queue can be a mile long, I would say the motorcyclist was not overtaking a queue at a junction.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    Sketchley wrote:
    Veronese68 wrote:
    The bit I am saying is nonsense is that he shouldn't have been overtaking stationary traffic. That makes it sound like there is a law against it, there isn't.

    There is this from highway code

    Rule 167

    DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example
    ...
    where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works
    The only junction in the picture is behind where the accident took place, there is no mention of roadworks. The car came out of a driveway, there is no reason not to filter along there. I'm not saying people shouldn't be careful, but to expect a bike to sit in traffic there is ridiculous. There is no law saying he shouldn't have been filtering.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    To put the little snippet of map in context, the collision happened here:

    http://goo.gl/maps/3FKkm

    Traffic for the junction with the A45 can sometimes back up all the way along the side of the park to the junciton with the Leamington Rd.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    I know it vauge at best. The highway code is vauge in lots or place and open to intrepretation. Don't get me started on rule 140 and when it may or may not be "necessary" to drive in non-mandatory cycle lane.
    I know you cannot see a junction or road works but why else would the traffic be stationary? (Accident up ahead maybe?)
    I'm happy to agree there is no law saying you cannot do it, but that was never the point, it was about liabilty not legallity. And it would appear there is case law on this, with shared liability being applied to motorcycles being hit by emerging vehicles when they are passing stationary traffic and / or speeding (note driving of emerging vehicle is always more liable just not entirely).
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    But isn't that why we ride 2 wheeled vehicles. How many bicycles do you see sitting in stationary traffic? Drivers should look for passing bicycles or motorcycles when pulling across a line of traffic. As stated in the OP the driver lives there and must see the stationary traffic with bikes passing it every morning, yet still failed to look.
    We don't know how careful the biker was in this instance. But I find it incredible to think that a person filtering carefully that gets sideswiped by some idiot not looking should have to accept any liability. I know that's what your link says, but I don't have to like it. That's almost saying that you deserve some of the blame for being stupid enough to ride something with 2 wheels.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Veronese68 wrote:
    But isn't that why we ride 2 wheeled vehicles. How many bicycles do you see sitting in stationary traffic? Drivers should look for passing bicycles or motorcycles when pulling across a line of traffic. As stated in the OP the driver lives there and must see the stationary traffic with bikes passing it every morning, yet still failed to look.
    We don't know how careful the biker was in this instance. But I find it incredible to think that a person filtering carefully that gets sideswiped by some idiot not looking should have to accept any liability. I know that's what your link says, but I don't have to like it. That's almost saying that you deserve some of the blame for being stupid enough to ride something with 2 wheels.

    Congratulations. You can now read the Daily Mail.
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  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    Veronese68 wrote:
    But isn't that why we ride 2 wheeled vehicles. How many bicycles do you see sitting in stationary traffic? Drivers should look for passing bicycles or motorcycles when pulling across a line of traffic. As stated in the OP the driver lives there and must see the stationary traffic with bikes passing it every morning, yet still failed to look.
    We don't know how careful the biker was in this instance. But I find it incredible to think that a person filtering carefully that gets sideswiped by some idiot not looking should have to accept any liability. I know that's what your link says, but I don't have to like it. That's almost saying that you deserve some of the blame for being stupid enough to ride something with 2 wheels.

    Congratulations. You can now read the Daily Mail.
    That did need the extreme sarcasm font. I know that not what Sketchley's saying. Besides, what's wrong with the Daily Fail?*

    * more sarcasm
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Veronese68 wrote:
    But isn't that why we ride 2 wheeled vehicles. How many bicycles do you see sitting in stationary traffic? Drivers should look for passing bicycles or motorcycles when pulling across a line of traffic. As stated in the OP the driver lives there and must see the stationary traffic with bikes passing it every morning, yet still failed to look.
    We don't know how careful the biker was in this instance. But I find it incredible to think that a person filtering carefully that gets sideswiped by some idiot not looking should have to accept any liability. I know that's what your link says, but I don't have to like it. That's almost saying that you deserve some of the blame for being stupid enough to ride something with 2 wheels.

    It's not quite what the link says. It say in most cases it's the ermerging vehicles fault. The motorcyclist in the case might of done nothing wrong or he may of been filtering carelessly, he may of been speeding. It's still primarly the VW driver fault regardless, for all the reasons you said. What it saying is that if you filter down the outside or inside for that matter you must take responsibilty for the fact that turning or emerging cars may not see you or expect you to be there, probably mitgated in this case by the fact it was a driveway and not a side turning. There does appear to be a distinction if the "filtering" is in another lane, such as cycle lane or the outside lane on dual carriage way. As you said the VW driver lives there so therefore knows the road and should have expected motocylists to be filtering on the ouside. All of which can be taken in to account when discussing liability.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,896 Lives Here
    It's the 50-80% liability that implies you must accept some blame for passing stationary traffic that is the problem. To my mind that should be 50-100% liabiltiy lies with the person pulling out. I am being beligerent to make the point, but we have every right to pass stationary traffic. Of course we should be careful when doing so however.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Bikers and cyclists have every right to progress through stationary traffic. They just need to be responsible. I have seen bikers cross junctions whilst filtering at 30mph - clearly stupid.

    However a responsible two wheeler who is filtering past stationary traffic deserves the full protection of the law.

    I'm a biker and a cyclist and I always aim to make progress. It is important to try and be acutely aware of the dangers at junctions and where gaps appear in the queue of slow or stationary traffic on either side of a carriageway - always assume some idiot is about to appear from, or jump into, that gap.

    The key here is that any road user who is crossing, joining, or leaving an area of stationary or slow moving traffic must ASSUME that a cyclist or biker may be filtering at that time.
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