Van ignores contraflow system and forces bikers off the carriageway

George and his partner were riding their motorcycles in the Highlands just south of Oban on the A816. They came across roadworks which had resulted in the closure of the northbound carriageway.

Temporary traffic lights were in place to control the flow of traffic in both directions on the southbound carriageway.

On approach to the lights, they turned green and so both riders proceeded forward on the southbound carriageway towards a blind left-hand bend. Just as they turned the corner in single file, they were confronted with a van which had driven through the red light at the far end and of the roadworks and was heading straight towards them.

George was able to take evasive action and swerved to the left to avoid a head on collision. His partner travelling behind hit her brakes but faced with a van moving forward towards her and no room on the near side verge, she unfortunately collided with the lead rider. Both motorcyclists took a fall.
George Carson collision locus on A816
Following the incident, George contacted his insurer who instructed 4th Dimension to manage the required repairs to the motorcycles. As part of the arrangement, 4th Dimension provided George with another motorcycle on credit hire. George was advised that his claim would be settled much more quickly if he took the hire motorcycle. The hire charges were £7,000 but there was no quick settlement.

The insurer representing the van driver denied all liability saying that George and his partner had simply been unable to stop in time coming around the bend and that the collision had been caused by the following rider. Of course, they failed to comment on their policyholder running a red light!

There were spurious allegations of faulty traffic lights with the van driver saying his light had been stuck on red. It can happen but when we checked with Police Scotland and the contractors on site, we found no evidence to support this. We visited the accident scene just south of Oban to get a better understanding of the road lay-out. Satisfied we would establish liability, we raised a Court Action for the following rider and then George.

After a long-drawn-out battle, common sense prevailed and we were able to negotiate a fair ‘out of court’ settlement for George and his partner. Crucially for George, his settlement protected him from liability for the significant hire costs of the motorcycle he was told he should hire.

George was delighted with the result and will be very cautious in future regarding credit hire. He had this to say:-

“Motorcycle Law Scotland have been absolutely fantastic. After a near death collision on a Honda Goldwing trying to avoid an idiot driver in an oncoming Courier van who has driven through a red light at a set of roadworks, I did as I was supposed to do and contacted my insurance company. Things went pear-shaped from there and I was not happy about how things were being managed (or mismanaged). I contacted MLS and Brenda immediately took over. I had a meeting with her in her office and she put me at ease. Gave clear instructions on what actions I had to take and she did the rest. Thomas was allocated to my case and he was wonderful throughout. Kept me updated, gave clear instructions and guidance through the legal quagmire that unfolded in the months to follow. After nearly two years, the other side finally caved thanks to the evidence presented by Thomas. An out-of-court offer was made and accepted. I was then paid a substantial sum to cover all costs. I am extremely grateful to Thomas, Brenda and all staff at MLS for the way they turned things around in my favour…I would not have had such a successful result if I had gone along with my insurance company solicitor…I have learned many lessons through this process. If I ever have the misfortune to be involved in another incident, I will contact MLS straight away. Thank you all at Motorcycle Law Scotland”

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