Buchan v Whiting [2008] EWHC 2951 (QB)

Buchan v Whiting Collision LocusThe right hand turn into Nascot Lodge from the POV of the driver.

On 3rd February 2005, Mr Buchan was riding his BMW motorcycle on Langley Road, Watford.

This stretch of road is 30mph in a built-up area with many junctions going both left and right situated along it.

He encountered a line of slow moving traffic and opened the throttle to overtake. He reached an estimated speed of 60mph as he moved out into the opposing carriageway to pass the traffic before moving back into his own lane.

Mr Whiting was driving his car in the opposite direction and had intended to turn right into Nascot Lodge. Mr Whiting failed to observe the motorcycle and started his manoeuvre, cutting across Mr Buchan’s carriageway. A collision occurred and the motorcyclist sustained catastrophic injuries.

Mr Buchan raised a claim against the driver for personal injury. The case went to Court with the issue of who was to blame being the topic of discussion.

Evidence was heard that Mr Whiting had used the first car in the line of slow moving traffic as a reference for beginning his manoeuvre. His sight lines were good yet he failed to observe the motorcycle overtaking his reference car.

The motorcycle was fully established in his own lane and had been for around 100 metres before the collision. The onus was on the driver to ensure it was safe for him to execute his right hand turn.

However, the motorcyclist had been travelling at 60mph which was double the speed limit. The judge found both parties to be at fault for the collision. The motorcyclist had shown a clear disregard for his safety and was awarded 50% of the entitlement of his claim.

Motorcyclist 50% to blame.                         Car Driver 50% to blame.

The implication of speed for Mr Buchan meant that despite suffering life changing injuries, he was only able to recover half the value of them.

Link to full judgement is here

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