Buswell v Symes [2015] EWHC 1379 (QB)

Buswell v Symes Collision Locus

(The field entrance on the right where the tractor emerged from and turned right)


On 24th July 2011, Mr Buswell was riding his Yamaha motorcycle on the B3399, Newport Road on the Isle of Wight with his friend.

The pair overtook a tractor and car, the car having previously just over overtaken the tractor.

After overtaking the car, the motorcyclists estimated their speed to be around 70mph. The motorcyclists then entered a slight bend before proceeding uphill. There was no visibility over the brow of the hill until they neared the top.

The rider who was following Buswell noticed his brake lights come on at the top of the hill.

Immediately over the hill, both motorcyclists were confronted with a tractor pulling a trailer. The driver of the tractor emerged from a field on the left.

The exit point from the field was around 75 m from the brow of the hill. The intention of the tractor driver had been to exit and turn right. However, his tractor and trailer blocked the motorcyclist’s carriageway.

Buswell collided with the tractor and the following rider mounted the verge and lost control.

Mr Buswell sustained severe injuries which included a head injury leaving him with no recollection of the accident.

The lead rider, Buswell raised an action against the tractor driver and the following rider, who also sustained injury, agreed to be bound by that decision.

The judge stated that the dangers of driving at speed over a blind summit were obvious. The motorcyclist had known, or should have known, the potential hazard at and/or over the summit.

Mr Buswell was an experienced motorcyclist who was familiar with the road in question. He was deemed to have shown a clear disregard for his safety. He was riding at a speed of between 65-70mph over a blind summit in an area where one would expect to find agricultural vehicles.

Motorcyclist 2/3 to blame                       Tractor driver 1/3 to blame

The motorcyclist’s excessive speed was deemed to have been more negligent than the actions of the tractor driver in blocking the road to execute his manoeuvre. Mr Buswell received only a third of the value of his injuries.

Link to the full judgement here>>>

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