Motorcycle Accident Claim: Overtaking and Filtering

Motorcycle Accident Claim, Goodge Law

As motorcycle personal injury solicitors, we have dealt with hundreds of motorcycle accident compensation cases where a motorcyclist has performed some sort of overtaking manoeuvre before having an accident. In the subsequent motorcycle accident claim, we have read many defences where the other motorist has disputed liability by arguing that the motorcyclist was overtaking at a junction, was on the wrong side of the road or was filtering between lanes.

What is the difference between overtaking and filtering?

These terms are regularly used interchangeably but there is a subtle difference. Filtering means moving past queues of stationary or slow-moving traffic by creating your own lane. Overtaking is when the traffic being overtaken is no longer stationary or slow-moving.

What does the Highway Code say about overtaking and filtering?

The Highway Code states that when filtering in slow-moving traffic, motorcyclists should take care and keep their speed low.

Motorists (including motorcyclists) should not overtake where they might come into conflict with other road users. It includes some examples such as approaching a junction, when the road narrows, when approaching a crossing, when traffic is queuing at a junction or when another driver is indicating right.

Who is to blame for a motorcycle accident when filtering or overtaking?

The general rule is that overtaking is a manoeuvre “fraught with hazard.” So if you have filtered or overtaken along the outside of a vehicle and cannot see clearly ahead, you will likely have difficulty establishing full liability (blame) against a driver who suddenly turns right.

The law places clear duties on motorcyclists so that they are able to brake in time for foreseeable hazards. Filtering at 10-15 mph past stationary traffic is a reasonable speed. The more unusual the manoeuvre the greater the duty of care.

Although a motorcyclist has to take extra care when filtering, a court is likely to find a motorist has primary liability as the person who pulled into the path of a correctly proceeding motorcycle. However, a court could also reduce the motorist’s blame by finding that the motorcyclist is contributory negligent, having contributed to the accident due to a dangerous manoeuvre.

What is the law when a motorist turns right?

A vehicle pulling out to turn right must maintain a steady course and the rule of “mirror, signal, manoeuvre” applies. Accordingly, the driver must check his path is clear before manoeuvring. He also has a continuing duty to give way and he should move to the crown of the road before turning right so his indicator is seen by everyone and not just those behind him.

Is there any motorcycle filtering or overtaking accident case law?

There are many reported cases on filtering and overtaking. However, all road traffic cases are based on their own facts and no two situations are identical. However, at best, many previously decided cases are a useful starting point.

So what will the court look at in a motorcycle accident claim?

As well as the parties’ versions of events, the court will take into account all the circumstances of the accident including the road layout and markings, speed of the vehicles, positioning of the vehicles at the point of collision, vehicle damage which will demonstrate which version of event is more probable, the police accident report book and any independent witness evidence.

A motorist does not have to anticipate every scenario but if traffic is backed up, a motorcyclist should anticipate that a car may turn right into a forecourt or junction. If a motorist turns right suddenly without indication and giving the motorcyclist no chance to evade the collision, he is likely to be found fully liable or, at least, primarily responsible. Conversely, if the motorcyclist exhibits excessive speed or rides on the wrong side of road, a court will inevitably find that his culpability has increased.

What is the common sense guide for motorcycle filtering?

If you cannot see what is ahead, slow down, position yourself to take a look and be ready to brake. You must be able to pull up for foreseeable hazards. The reaction times for an anticipated hazard are much faster than for a surprise hazard.

And remember that as a motorcyclist you are likely to come off worse! Undertake the manoeuvre but be vigilant and make sure you have ample opportunity to brake or take evasive action.

Goodge Law are motorcycle personal injury lawyers and can be contacted for a no-obligation phone consultation on your motorcycle accident claim. We are experts in securing motorcycle accident compensation and work on a no win-no fee basis so you will never have to fund any part of your claim.

If you believe you are in need of a motorcycle personal injury solicitor please call Goodge Law on 020 7636 9222 or click here to start your claim.