Legal problem - can anyone help? - magicjack
This is the first time I have posted here although I have read this discussion board anonymously for some months now, so I hope this is not too off topic.

A relative of mine was involved in an accident between her car and a motorcyclist about 2 months ago. Apparently she was waiting to turn left at a T-junction and the motorcyclist in question was approaching from the right, signalling left. My relative says she pulled out when she considered that the motorcyclist had slowed down to a point where he was unlikely to do anything other than turn left, but she didn\'t actually see him start to turn left. As you\'ve probably all guessed by now, the biker kept going and hit my relative\'s front bumper from the side.

The biker came off the bike but was not injured enough to require hospital treatment. No witnesses have said that they actually saw the accident but we have the details of two witnesses that say they saw the bike on the ground in the seconds after the accident with its left turn signal flashing. However, my relative said that one of the other motorcyclists who was with the accident victim went over to the bike and turned off the signal before the police arrived. It is however not clear that either of the witnesses saw this happen and the indicator was definitely off when the police looked at the scene.

Clearly this is not a clear cut case and my relative was prepeared to take the insurance hit for fixing her car and for third party costs since it might not be easy to prove that the turn signal was flashing in the second leading up to the accident. However, the local constabulary have just written to her saying that they intend to prosecute her for careless driving but if she wants to to spend 145 pounds she can take a retraining programme with the county council and then they won\'t prosecute.

I have no reason to doubt my relative\'s story - she has driven for 35 years plus with no prior convictions or accidents where she was in any way at fault. So, I don\'t really think that this is fair. My relative would like to pursue this in the courts if there is a realistic possibility if an aquittal, and she is consulting our family solicitors about it. This is because she is not happy at being forced to effectively admit the offence and pay money for it without a legal process. I would however be very interested if anyone here could give their opinion.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Pugugly {P}
Not legal advice of course...

You've identified the issue. I would suggest going face to face with a brief on this. The two witnesses are probably key to the case. Did the Police record statements from them ? In all likelyhood she is up against the other motorcyclists who "witnessed" what they saw (IYKWIM)- Possibly gone to the CPS already...certainly worth a look by the family firm.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - HisHonour {P}
PU is right - get an up-front opinion. On the face of it, I might not consider the other motorcyclists to be independent witnesses.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Dwight Van Driver
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news as it looks as if there is a case to answer.

Who was doing the most unusual manouevre? The pulling out.
What about the signalling motor cyclist? No deviation into a left turn and could he be signalling for a turn just ahead of the junction.

Highway Code 111

When waiting at a junction, do not assume that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will do so. WAIT AND MAKE SURE.

It certainly looks as if the car driver has not waited until the start of the turn left by the MC at which stage it would be apparent it was doing so.

Was always taught never to reply of a signal until is was absolutely apparent what the intention was.

DVD

Legal problem - can anyone help? - lordwoody
If this were me I'd swallow my pride and take the re-training.
It won't do any harm, she may learn something and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than going to court.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - volvoman
Tend to agree with DVD - a similar thing happened to me a few years ago but I was the driver supposed to be indciating left and failing to turn according to the driver who pulled out in front of me from a side road. I was told by the police at the time that even if I had been indicating to turn he shouldn't have pulled out until I'd started to do this. I'd always been under the impression that pulling out in such circumstances was unsafe and this incident reinforced that message somewhat! In the end it turned out that the other driver was working illegally as a minicab driver, had no insurance and CCJ's outstanding against him. I of course lost my £100 excess but came away with a new front end on my car so it was not a total loss.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Clanger
I'm with DVD. Seeing a signal is no guarantee that the manoeuvre will take place. After 35 years driving your friend should know this. Bikers are especially prone to leaving indicators on, there is nothing audible through the helmet, the warning light is well out of the line-of-sight, and no self-cancelling.

Pay the money and take the training.
Hawkeye
-----------------------------
Stranger in a strange land
Legal problem - can anyone help? - SR
Sorry to add to the weight of opinion, but in this situation I would regard the person pulling out as being at fault, irrespective of whether a turn signal was given by the motorcyclist. You should always wait until the turn is made.

Whether any action could be taken against the motorcyclist for his contribution to the accident, I don't know, but I doubt it.

Probably best route out is to take the course and put it down to experience.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - martint123
I wouldn't risk it - take the course and pay up. It's a lot cheaper than getting done for careless driving and the subsequent vast hike in insurance premiums.

Legal problem - can anyone help? - magicjack
Many thanks to all who replied to this thread. Looking at Pugugly's response, it appears that I didn't make it clear that the two witnesses were other motorists who arrived just after the accident, not the guys the biker was with. Anyway, we'll see what the solicitor says, and if there's a favourable outcome I'll update you. Thanks again.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - eMBe {P}
waiting to turn left at a T-junction and the motorcyclist in
question was approaching from the right, signalling left. My relative says
she pulled out when she considered that the motorcyclist had slowed
down to a point where he was unlikely to do anything
other than turn left, but she didn\'t actually see him start
to turn left.


As DVD and others have said, sorry, but your relative is at fault here.

saw the accident but we have the details of two witnesses
that say they saw the bike on the ground in the
seconds after the accident with its left turn signal flashing.


This is irrelevant. However, even if it was true, the motorcyclist could argue that the impact or act of falling over triggered the turn switch. So your relative is on a loser there anyway.

Bad luck. But put it down to experience and learn from it.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - neil
An alternative way of looking at this... she does of course have the right to fight, adopt a fixed 'wasn't me' position and either have that wrong impression reinforced, in the perhaps unlikely event of an acquittal - which if its a large goods vehicle next time, not a motorcyclist may kill her... or although challenged but not removed by a conviction she would by then have come to regard as unfair and unwarranted, whatever the facts - OR she could accept that there may well be an element of fault, perhaps (from a civil point of view) on both sides (but that's never stopped EITHER party in these circumstances getting 'done' for 'due care'...) and take what is a cost-effective and timely refresher, which may save her life, or someone else's, and may as a bonus give her renewed confidence and pleasure in her driving, which was last assessed some decades ago. Also has the benefit of being non-judgemental, has no hazard of a fine or penalty points, and from feedback I've received, seems to be almost universally regarded as well worthwhile and quite an eye-opener by those who've taken the course in our area. Course is run by independant training provider, by the way, normally ADI's recruited and using syllabus agreed with the local authority, in consultation with the police and the National Driver Improvement Scheme. Go on - you KNOW it makes sense!!

Neil
Legal problem - can anyone help? - neil
Should have read that in preview before I posted - not sure it DOES make sense, exactly the way I've written it - but I think you get the gist of it and the overall sense is there!

Neil
Legal problem - can anyone help? - frostbite
Just a cynical thought here - could the motorcyclist have had anything to gain from engineering a low speed accident here?

Bit unusual to also have a friend to witness the incident too.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - neil
I am usually an ardent conspiracy theorist, if onlt to annoy others - but I have to say I think it wildly unlikely a motorcyclist would do that... its a bit unpredictable on a bike and tends to hurt...!
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Fullchat
As usual there has been some excellent advice here. As I have always maintained "Expect the unexpected!" - Its to be expected that every vehicle approaching with a left hand indicator is going to come straight on until you are satisfied that they are turning.

Of course your relative may feel that they are in the right as they claimed to have seen an indicator and has strong principles. Unfortunately principles sometime do not stand for much. As "His Honour" quite rightly states the other motorcylists are not 'independent' witnesses and the matter of the indicator being switched off after the accident is not corroborated independently. The two undependent witnesses can only state they saw the indicator flashing AFTER impact.

To be fair there is not strong evidence for a conviction if the argument is based around the indicators, however the fact that the motorcyclist may have been indicating is mitigation if the account is believed. The issue is simply based around your relative pulling out of a junction into the path of a motorcycle.

By all means take legal advice but based on the facts presented she should take the 'Driver Improvement' scheme and take the opportunity to be refreshed and learn some new skills. Everyone I have spoken to has enjoyed the day and benefited immensly.


Fullchat
Legal problem - can anyone help? - J.D.B
The only thing a flashing indicator tells you is that the bulb is working.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - mab23
...intermittently!

mike
Legal problem - can anyone help? - joe
This is a very low speed accident. If the biker had been going at any speed at all it would have been much messier. This suggests to me that he must have slowed right down. That in turn tends to suggest that he sas getting ready to turn left, and changed his mind at the last minute.

I do sympathise with this. While agreeing with all those posters who say that it is unsafe to assume that drivers are going to do what they are indicating that they will do, it is nevertheless true that most if not all of us have to make assumptions about other people's driving all the time. If someone flashes to let us out, we pull out etc etc.

Bottom line I suppose is that it is extremely unlikely that the driver is going to escape from this situation any cheaper than by accepting the deal and taking the training. The risk of fighting the case and losing has to outweigh to possible benefits I would think.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Mark (RLBS)
And in court it would be very difficult to explain why you allowed your insruance company to pay for something you don't consider your responsibility.

I think the driver will have to bite on it, accept the deal and do the training - which at the end of the day is only annoying and might actually prove useful.

Mark.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - owen
I agree that the best course of action is to bite the bullet and accept responsibility. However, if you have to wait for someone to actually commit to a maneouvre before you proceed, what is the point of having indicators at all?
Legal problem - can anyone help? - NARU
I paid about £120 not too long ago to have a driving skills assessment, and consider it a very worthwhile investment. I got about an hour on the road and some time on a skidpan for my money, but got most out of the road piece and wish it was longer.

I know that it probably grates in the throat, but I'd regard it as an opportunity and grab it.
Legal problem - can anyone help? - NARU
I forgot to say that on motorcycles, the indicators do not self cancel, so always be extra careful that they really are indicating.

Presumably there is a chance the biker might also have been asked to go on a course?

It does sounds like the biker could do with a defensive riding course - I was tought to move out slightly towards the centre of the road if there's a car waiting to come out of a junction - to put a bit more space there just in case!
Legal problem - can anyone help? - Nortones2
I have to confess committing the sin of not seeing a motorcycle/cyclist despite looking AND being completely sober/drug free, so I sympathise. However, as an ex-motorcyclist and sometime cyclist, it might help if car drivers diferentiated between road users in metal armour, and those who are more vulnerable!
 

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