Driver pulls out in front of motorcyclists

There’s no doubt we have amazing roads in Scotland, particularly around the Scottish Borders.

Many of our motorcycling friends from the North of England take a run up to The Borders and often stop at The Glen Café, a place we know well as it’s on our back doorstep.

The 31st May 2021 was a beautiful day (unusual, as it was a bank holiday) when Lee left his home in Blyth with some friends for a run up to St Mary’s Loch.

After a cuppa at The Glen café, he set off on the A708 towards Selkirk. En route, he noticed another rider approaching from behind and, believing he wanted to pass, Lee moved over to his left.

Just as that rider almost drew alongside, an Audi pulled out from a side junction to Lee’s left. There was nothing either rider could do. In a split-second, Lee realised he couldn’t go around the back as there was a stone wall. His only option was to release the brakes and dip his BMW 1000R to the right, aiming for the front wheel of the Audi. The crash was horrific.
Lee was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where surgeons worked hard to save his right foot. He was transferred to The Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. There, his long and painful recovery began. Lee endured months of rehabilitation and surgeries with some medical experts even suggesting a below knee amputation.

Brenda met Lee on several occasions at his home as she progressed his claim for personal injury. Her opinion of Lee was that he was one of the toughest, most driven, people she had ever had the pleasure to represent. Lee was a self-employed plasterer at the time of the accident and although he had to fold his own business, he did eventually secure alternative work with his local authority.

Despite the Audi driver confirming he had never pulled out from the junction, his insurer provided full funding for Lee’s rehabilitation. We worked with the insurer for many months and once the rehabilitation process had reached its conclusion, we set up a Teams call to negotiate settlement.
Vehicle position just before impact
We managed to secure an excellent result through sensible negotiation and taking a pragmatic view. We could easily prove that the Audi driver had pulled out of the junction as we had the images from Police Scotland and the debris left at the scene confirmed this. However, the issue of speed on approach was raised. Speed can result in a reduction or even denial of an award of damages and for Lee we took the view that it was better to have a pragmatic insurer in the chair than a Judge.

Drivers don’t see motorcyclists and, if they do, they have difficulty assessing speed. Motorcyclists need to keep their speed down, as the resultant injuries in a high-speed crash can be devastating. The cause of the accident was the Audi emerging from a junction. Whilst we got a good result here, we also know that the Courts frown upon motorcyclists travelling at high speed for the conditions.

We got to know Lee well through regular emails and home visits. We are part of the motorcycling community and whilst there was a happy outcome for Lee, he does have continuing pain and that’s something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
In our experience, drivers exiting junctions into the path of motorcyclists is a frequent cause of collisions. At or near junctions, motorcyclists should alter their road position if needs be and be very watchful. Importantly, keep speed down.

Lee was so delighted with the settlement he kindly asked if he could donate to a charity we support. We immediately suggested Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) for the incredible work they do saving and improving lives every day. Lee made a very generous donation that will help SCAA continue with the amazing work they do, particularly for injured motorcyclists.


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