The Agony of the Moment and Highway Code Rule 126

Locus for motorcycle crash

On the 30th August 2014, Elizabeth was riding her motorcycle, a Yamaha R6, with her friend. 

They had travelled a popular route from Inveraray to the Green Welly café in Tyndrum. Upon leaving the café, Elizabeth proceeded to travel home by heading south on the A85 toward Callendar.

It had been raining that day, however, the road surface had started to dry up leaving only some wet patches and otherwise the visibility was good.

Elizabeth proceeded to travel south on the A85 at a speed of approximately 50-60 mph, when she approached a series of bends in the road at the top of Glen Ogle. As she approached a sharp left hand bend, she reduced her speed accordingly to approximately 45 mph. However, as she travelled around the bend, she suddenly spotted a VW Transporter stationary on her carriageway.

Elizabeth was unable to stop in time so decided the safest option was for her to negotiate around the van to the right and onto the opposing carriageway that was free of traffic. There was no room to the left side. However, as Elizabeth proceeded with her emergency manoeuvre, the driver executed a right turn and into an unmarked lay-by at the same time turning into Elizabeth’s path.

Elizabeth collided with the driver’s door. She was knocked unconscious and taken by air ambulance to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

Such was the force of the impact, she sustained fractured ribs, a fractured ankle, dislocated fingers, a lacerated spleen, and suffered a pneumothorax (punctured lung).

It was found that both parties were in some way responsible for the collision. As a result, liability was split between the parties at approximately 60:40, with the driver of the van being found more to blame.

The motor vehicle driver should not have attempted the turn right across the opposing carriageway as it was not a safe place to do so. Elizabeth could probably have stopped in time but "in the agony of the moment" went to the right of the vehicle.

It is not always possible to drive/ride at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear (Highway Code Rule 126).

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