Driver 100% Liable for Hitting Passing Motorcyclist

August 01, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer


Luc Philippe Ratelle Plaintiff And John Douglas Barton Defendant

In a recent British Columbia Supreme Court Ruling a car driver has been found 100% liable for an accident with a motor cyclist. The accident occurred when the car driver turned left hitting a motorcycle that was overtaking him.

The plaintiff was riding his motor cycle behind the defendant and when there was an opportunity to pass safely, and the centre line was dashed, the plaintiff pulled out to overtake the car. Plaintiff testified the driver had slowed down and was close to the right shoulder which he took as an invitation to pass. The car driver did not at any time signal that he intended to turn left according to the plaintiff or the witnesses to the accident.

The Madam Justice found that the driver erred when:

[143]     I find that the defendant is 100 percent at fault for the accident.  Had the defendant checked his mirrors during the drive, signaled his intention to turn left by putting on his turn indicator or shoulder checked to determine that it was clear and safe to pass, in compliance with s. 165 and 170 of the Motor Vehicle Act, this accident would not have happened.  The defendant failed to demonstrate due care and attention.  The plaintiff had followed the defendant’s vehicle at a safe distance and initiated a legal pass at a dotted line when it was safe to do so. 

[144]  I find the defendant was driving without due care and attention and without reasonable consideration for others on the highway, in breach of s. 144 of the Motor Vehicle Act, considering that the motorcycles were there to be seen.

[146]     Section 165(2)(a) of the Motor Vehicle Act as well obliges the defendant to bring his vehicle to the centre line, separating his lane of traffic from oncoming traffic before commencing his left turn.  Instead, the defendant testified that his vehicle was in the centre of the lane before he commenced his turn, and indeed the plaintiff and Mr. Martinello gave evidence that it was near to the right shoulder of the lane.

[147]     I find that the defendant did not activate his turn signal and failed to, otherwise, indicate his intention to turn left.  Instead, he was manoeuvring to the right before beginning with a left turn.  He also failed to perform a shoulder check.  He failed to pay due care and attention to check the traffic behind him, instead, assuming he was alone on the road.  The defendant failed to properly check his mirrors, if at all.  Those motorcycles were there to be seen for quite a way as they travelled before the accident.  

[148]     As a consequence of his own negligence, the defendant was unaware of the presence of the two motorcyclists behind him and he failed to clearly indicate his intention to turn.  I find that the defendant was in the best position to see the plaintiff intending to pass his vehicle but by not having adequately checked his mirrors or performed shoulder check, he failed to notice the motorcyclists: see Bathgate at para. 87.

[149]     I find that the defendant is wholly responsible for the accident.


Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury

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