Even though a biker may not be criminally liable for filtering and having a collision, it is a long established legal principle that a biker who is out of the ordinary flow of traffic by overtaking or filtering places themselves at potential risk and therefore has to take extra care. If they do not and a collision happens they may not get 100% of their claim for damages. Every case turns on its own facts and if need be judges will hear evidence and make decisions and apportion liability accordingly.
A classic Court of Appeal case involved a van driver who was waiting to pull out from a driveway when a lorry driver stopped and flashed his lights. The van pulled out slowly but a biker overtook the lorry and collided with the van. So even though the motorcyclist was on the main road and the van relied on the lorry flashing him out, the court decided the van and biker were equally to blame i.e. a 50/50 split.
Why? The court found the biker failed to see the van until the very moment of the collision and failed to keep a look out. As for the van driver, because the flash of the lights from the lorry was only permission for him to come out of the driveway it did not mean that it was safe for him to do so. The court found the van driver was still under a duty to keep a look out and had failed to do this.
Car drivers etc., owe us bikers a high duty of care because we are vulnerable road users.
Car drivers etc., have a duty to be on the lookout for us.
If they don’t and a collision happens a court will likely find them liable either in full or in part. However, if you as a biker filter/overtake near junctions and you have a collision with a car pulling out for example, a court may well find:
You were carrying out a manoeuvre which placed a duty on you to take care of yourself.
It should have been obvious a car might have pulled out and you should have treated it with more caution.
If you don’t and a collision happens a court will likely find you liable either in full or in part. So while filtering may have its many advantages, you need to remember that if you have a collision you could be partly or fully to blame as far as the law is concerned.
Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast
managing partner of
White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors
This is part 2 of the article “Filter Tips”. If you missed part 1 you can catch up here
The MCM legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.
Our firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences. All White Dalton lawyers know everything about bike law – and we have full bike licences too. We don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.
White Dalton is Britain’s most specialist motorcycle law practice, and if our professionals don’t know the answer to your question there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.
For road traffic offences call the Motor Defence solicitors on 0800 280 0912 For non-offence cases call White Dalton motorcycle solicitors on 0800 783 6191