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Two wrongs do not make a right.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Seanus, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. My step son just had his first accident. :( I have been hassling and hassling him for weeks to buy some proper boots.
    Guess what. He is now in plaster for 6 weeks with a broken ankle. :roll:

    He was travelling in peak hour traffic going to uni, it was raining, traffic gridlocked. He decides to use the bike lane.
    Gets up to about 30 ks and enters a clearway. BANG! A guy turning right at speed hits him on his right side, sending him and his bike flying.

    OK no doubt he is partially to blame. Cops turned up and issued him with a fine for using the bike lane.

    My question. Is it completely his fault? If he had of been on a bicycle he would have been hit as well doing the right thing.
    It seems to me that both parties are at fault here.

    Just want to get some idea so I know where he stands if and when insurance claims come in to it.
  2. I would have thought that the other driver didn't give way to oncoming traffic, end of story.

    But I know there are funny 'rules' that people spruik like if you are speeding/drunk etc then regardless of what happened, you are at fault....

    I'd ask a lawyer for a definitive answer.
  3. For all we know your son was actually planning on turning left up the road or pull into a parking spot in which case it is legal to ride in the bike lane for a short distance (30 meters if memory serves - would need to look up vic road laws to be sure).

    If this were the case I would agree with dan.
  4. You can contest the fine and the blame rests 100% on the other driver.
  5. Thanks guys. I don't think he can claim turning left as he told the cops he was going straight through. Plus I think he was hit fully crossing the entrance to the street. T-Boned.
  6. Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

    There are 2 separate issues here - the fine, and responsibility for the collision.

    The fine:

    Rule 153 of Road Rules - Victoria says that "A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not drive in a bicycle lane, unless
    the driver is permitted to drive in the bicycle lane under this rule or rule 158."

    "Driver" would include a motorcycle rider.

    So...when are you permitted to drive or ride in a bicycle lane?

    Under rule 153, you can do it for up to 50m if you're parking in the lane (where it's legal to do so). Or you drive a taxi, minibus etc and are dropping off or picking up passengers.

    Under rule 158, you can drive or ride in a bicycle lane for up to 50m if:

    - it's necessary for you to enter or leave the road
    - it's necessary for you to move from one part of the road to another (eg to or from a service road or emergency lane)
    - to overtake a vehicle that's turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road
    - to enter a marked lane or line of traffic from the side of the road.

    Under rule 158 you can also drive or ride in a bicycle lane if it's necessary to avoid an obstruction, or if a traffic sign says you can. Or if you're dealing with a medical or other emergency.

    So - it's probably a fair cop, unless your son can establish he was riding in the lane because it was necessary to avoid an obstruction. That's pretty unlikely, as if he'd stayed in a regular lane the traffic would have cleared if he'd waited a while. It's not like he had to go into the lane to avoid a broken-down vehicle, for example.

    As far as the collision goes - I think both he and the driver have to share responsibility. He should have foreseen the prospect of someone turning across him, given that he was in the bike lane and probably obscured from view by the stationary vehicles in the main run of traffic. If he'd been thinking about this risk, he might have been travelling sufficiently slowly to stop in time. Similarly, the driver should have been thinking about other road users (principally cyclists) using the bike lane and should have kept a better look out.

    Although it's probably not reasonably foreseeable that a motorcyclist would be using the lane, so I'd award the greater proportion of responsibility to your son. I reckon 60/40 at best.
  7. Mmm yeah. Too many people watch too much american tv shows to have any real idea about how this stuff works in thier own country. Me included.

    My own opinion is that the driver failed to give way to oncoming traffic. Whether your on a horse, a bike, or a car.
  8. If you ride or drive somewhere you shouldn't, it's not surprising if someone doesn't expect you to be there and wipes you out.

    If that happens, you should take some of the responsibility for what happened to you - and for any damage to the other vehicle. Hardly rocket science.
  9. Agreed!

    I am sure many motorcyclists have been in a similar situation as described by Seanus (going through clearways while vehicles have stopped). I certainly have lane-split through clearways however I am always very cautious when entering them (I usually come to a near stop before proceeding because of that very situation). 30 k/hr may not seem like much, but when enterring a clear way when the other cars have stopped to let a car through it would certainly be an unexpected sitaution to see a car. As a car driver it is often important to turn through the clearways relatively quickly too because traffic can start moving again and you lose your chance.

    As a rider one learns, and I presume bicyclists have learned this too, when you approach clear ways and traffic is stopped that you need to be very cautious going through because of potential cross traffic regardless of who has the right of way (by law). It is unfortunate that Seanus's son had to learn this the hard way.

    Do I think that the driver shouldn't have any blame? Well, 'pulling through at speed' isn't clear enough to make that determination. I am sure that there were many witnesses to this accident who would probably say that the car did as expected.
  10. was he insured? (your son I mean)
  11. Seanus, did this happen on Racecource Rd Flemington on Tuesday night?
    Exact same thing happened, black Kaw GPX250. Looked like the rider banged up his right ankle badly.
    I arrived maybe 3 mins after the whole incident happened on my pushbike (I cycle to/from work even though I do ride a m’cycle) .
    There were heaps of people about by then, someone was already onto 000 & he had his helmet off laying on the ground surrounded by people. There wasn’t much I could do apart from picking up his bike onto it’s side stand (it was laying on the footpath).
    I couldn’t make out the other party that was involved in this incident, although I could tell what happened by the proximity to the intersection of the bike, the scrap marks etc.

    Seeing other riders involed in accidents always has an impact on me, even though I’ve come off a few times myself.

    Obviously the car was in the wrong in not making sure he was clear to turn, but riding a motorcycle along he bicycle lane did contribute to the incident.
    Placing a motorcycle in a position on the road where it is not expected would mean that other road users will not check for it or look out for it.

    (ie: motorcycle or bicycle, road users don’t normally worry about what may be in a bicycle lane when turning, it’s just that m’cycles travel faster & aren’t used to the extent of disregard that cyclists normally contend with out on the road).
  12. The driver failed to give way while turning right, however, the rider was travelling in a bicycle lane whilst in control of a motorcycle.

    No mention has been made of any tickets or charges being given to the driver so the insurance companies will use that to determine the rider is at fault unless legal action is taken to reverse it.
  13. bingo. also, most policies state that your are not covered whilst conducting activities that are illegal... so they might try and not honour the claim :cry:
  14. That's not true.

    They may refuse to cover you if oyu are over .05, or if they can find something in the fine print, but they don't refuse cover because of a traffic infringement.
  15. thats good to know. :wink:
  16. Trouble is, he was in a place where the driver should have expected someone to be.

    The rider may have been breaking the law, but he was on the road, in a place where some road vehicles are allowed to be. The car has a duty to give way to all oncoming traffic, even if it is breaking a traffic rule. The driver probably wasn't aware that there was a bicycle lane, and if he was, should heve been looking for something to come down it.

    I'd say the driver was liable. You don't turn through a gap in the traffic without checking, and you don't do it at speeds that prevent you from avoiding an accident.

    Of course, I'd be giving the rider a slap upside the head for not realising that a car might be about to cut through the gap, and for riding faster than he ought under the circumstances.

    They both did things wrong, but when it comes down to it, the driver had a duty to give way, not the rider.
  17. If you son't want to wear the insurance cost make sure you contest the fine. The insurance companies will take your paying it as admission of guilt.

    It happened to a freind of mine who was the last car in a 4 car pile up. She was the last car on the scene of an accident that had already happend, but she was the only one to get a ticket, because the cops were lazy and they are told by their superiers they must give a ticket.

    She was uninsured and ended up paying everbodies damage, because she just paid the ticket, because she did run into the last car.

    Tell me, did the guy cross an unbroken line?
  18. But it wasn't because she copped the fine that the insurance company hit her, it was because she was last in line, and the only one who couldn't claim to have been rammed by the car behind.

    SOP for bastard insurance companies.
  19. One insurance compant said they tookit as admission of guilt. That and the fact that no-one else had been charged.
  20. Yes that was him.

    He was taken to hospital with a broken ankle.
    Bike is cactus, no insurance. This is why I ask.
    Poor kid is petrified he's going to cop the damage bill for the car as well.
    Yes I have given him a talking to, but I think he has learnt his lesson.
    THE HARD WAY. :?
    From the sounds of what has been said I think he'll be ok.

    Thanks again people.