Dangerous overtaking – Cat and Mouse

I was riding with a mate, both of us were on hyper sports bikes, and we gained on a Nissan Skyline.

I know the roads reasonably well, and I knew I was safe to go for an overtake, so as I started overtaking the Skyline started speeding up, and because I did not expect this, I had not dropped enough gears to go past him, and the Skyline was really going for it. So I dropped back, and the Skyline started slowing with me, playing cat and mouse.

I braked completely, nearly fetching my mate off behind me and sat behind the Skyline.

Knowing what this guy was up to, the next chance I took to overtake I dropped a couple of cogs, and absolutely hammered past him, but the guy in the Skyline guessed what I was going to do, and he had already set himself up to press the accelerator hard and fast as he could so I found myself stranded on the outside edge of the road, approaching a double white line system, with my mate up my chuff and approaching a left hand bend at the brow of a hill.

A car coming over the brow of the hill then hit me head on. The driver of the oncoming car who clearly had done nothing wrong is moderately badly injured, picking up a face full of glass and a whiplash injury and apparently he is traumatised by it all.

My own solicitors are telling that I am going to have to accept half of the blame for the accident, because I should not have gone for that overtake, and they are saying that my riding was so bad that I may not really be entitled to any compensation myself. My insurers say I should take all the blame.

If I could go back again, I would never have gone for that overtake, but in my view the cause of the accident was the guy in the Skyline not letting me get past. He has been charged with a driving offence but I don’t know what it is. My solicitors do not think it will be ‘dangerous driving’, but probably ‘driving without due care’.

Where do I stand? The injuries I picked up are likely to stop me retuning to my old job as a window fitter because I cannot see me ever climbing up ladders again. Should I just take my Solicitors advice?

Name and vehicle details removed and changed 

There is a case which is pretty much identical to yours, which involved a bike-on-bike accident.

In that case, the judge at the trial said that the driver of the car was 80% to blame for deliberately and dangerously pushing a motorcyclist into traffic coming in the opposite direction, and there is established case law which says the duty of the vehicle being overtaken is simply to continue on a safe and steady course, but the driver being overtaken does not have to react to you, because it is you that has put yourself in the position of overtaking. However, the driver of the Nissan Skyline clearly was reacting to you, and deliberately put you in an extremely dangerous position. The Court of Appeal looked at this decision, because the guy who was in the position of the Skyline appealed the 80% blame. The Court of Appeal said they would have made a different finding, and they thought the motorcyclist had got off lightly with only a 20% contributory negligence. I agree with the Court of Appeal, too. You went for a second overtake of a vehicle you knew was going to do everything he could not to let you past on a road that you knew, where you knew you were heading into a double white line system. I think that makes you vulnerable to anything between 50% and 20% the blame.

I think 50/50 is the very worst you will do, and I’d be pushing for the 20% precedent set previously.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes Magazine – February 2010

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: May 10, 2010 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.