Is filtering finding fair?

Is filtering finding fair?

I was knocked off my bike while riding up the inside of a line of traffic. A driver pulled into my path, out of a side road to my left, having been flashed out by a van driver who was a little bit ahead of me.

I didn’t see him until he had blocked my path and he did not see me until we collided. My insurers want to settle our cases at 50/50. Luckily, I was not injured, but my bike’s fairing took a battering. I do not want to sacrifice my no-claims bonus.

I had right of way, he moved into my road space and I don’t see why I should lose my no-claims bonus. I am allowed to filter and I want my insurers to defend this all the way.

Answer

Sorry, but your case will most probably go 50/50 in front of a judge, but you could also do worse. A rider is entitled to filter, or “pass queues of stationary or slow traffic” and is entitled to use his or her narrow width and maneuverability. The law is clear: while filtering, the motorcyclist has a high duty of care to be able to pull up swiftly for foreseeable hazards.

You do not have to anticipate a driver pulling out on top of you when you are there to be seen, but as you were hidden by a van and you could not see ahead of yourself far enough to see the car which collided with you, then each of you entered into an area of road neither of you could properly assess. It was equally foreseeable to the driver that a bike might be in that narrow space as it was to you that a car might emerge into your path when you were hidden by the van.

It was no more your road space than it was his. You were also passing along the inside by a junction, which is perhaps an unexpected place for a rider to put himself, albeit not especially unusual for urban riding. The flashing van driver is not to blame at all, as a matter of law.

The law says you, as a rider, can pass along the inside of slow-moving queues. Riding so that you cannot pull up safely for the foreseeable risk of a driver moving out into your planned path, because you cannot see him, is both careless driving in criminal law and negligent riding in civil law. The driver is also liable in criminal and civil law.

If your insurers do press on all the way to court, the almost inevitable finding of a fairminded judge will be an equal split of blame but I suspect a few judges might find against you fully, especially if you start talking about your rights and your road space. A hard judge might well find that the cause of the collision was entirely down to you traveling too fast while ‘unsighted’ – without a view of the road ahead of you.

Andrew Dalton

RiDE Magazine

June 2016

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: June 23, 2016 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.