I went out for a blast to the coast on my TZR250 ‘smoker’. I joined a dual carriageway and was cruising at about 65-70mph.
I spotted an old Fiesta up ahead doing about 60mph. However, due to the traffic in the outer lane I couldn’t overtake it and the next thing the Fiesta in front just slammed on the brakes hard, coming to a stop.
My sphincter reacted accordingly and I got on the brakes. I scrubbed off most of the speed but couldn’t avoid hitting the back of the Fiesta. Turns out the driver was in her 80s and the police said she got muddled up where she was going and just stopped.
I’m now left with a scrotum like a space hopper and a bent TZR. My insurer said it’s my fault as I hit the back of her car and that she can claim from me. Is that right?
Short answer: no. Your insurer is wrong. While the general rule is that if you run into the back of someone else it will be your fault, it’s a popular misconception that it’s always the case.
The courts will consider if the driver in front of you behaved ‘unreasonably’. From what you have said she did, as she stopped her Fiesta suddenly or without good reason.
While the Highway Code states you should “leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops”, a court will not find you have to be the perfect rider and hold you liable for someone slamming their brakes on and stopping in lane one of a 70mph dual carriageway for no good reason.
My advice is you sack off your insurer and get a solicitor who knows what they are doing.
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
About Motorcycle Monthly
The MCM legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew 'Chef' Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.
The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences.
White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law, and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.
White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its 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.