Goad v Butcher [2011] EWCA Civ 158

Tractor and trailer turned left at this junction

Goad was proceeding along a road on his motorcycle at a speed of between 55 and 65mph which was in excess of the 40mph speed limit. He collided with an oncoming tractor and its attached trailer, which was being driven by Butcher, the defendant. Butcher had just made a right-hand turn into the road in question, and had cut the corner while doing so, meaning that his view of oncoming traffic was restricted from a distance of 130 metres to 110 metres.

The Judge, at first instance, concluded that the fact Butcher had cut the corner was not the cause of the accident. What was significant was the fact that Goad had been riding too fast; he was thus entirely to blame for the collision.

Goad appealed this decision. He contended that Butcher had been negligent in starting his turn too early and by acting in contravention of the Highway Code.

For the Court of Appeal, the fundamental question to be addressed was whether a view along the road of 110 metres was sufficient for a reasonably prudent driver of the type of vehicle Butcher was driving. This question was answered in the affirmative. Visibility of 110 metres was sufficient in clear and dry conditions, and Butcher was not negligent in failing to foresee that Goad might be travelling at a speed so far in excess of the limit that he would be unable to control his motorcycle.

The appeal was therefore dismissed, and Goad’s speeding was deemed the sole cause of the accident.

A full link to the decision can be found here.


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