Proper use of mirrors

By Chris Dabbs -

Riding Skills

 11 June 2010 10:33

One of the great attractions of motorcycles is that you can overtake other vehicles far more easily, but you’ve got to take more care when doing so.

Simon Williams from Cleveland decided to overtake a lorry and a tractor as the road ahead was clear, but as he overtook the lorry he saw that the tractor in front was turning right into a field.  

So, rather than hit the tractor, he laid the bike down which resulted in a broken arm and pretty severe road rash; not to mention the damage to his bike and other out of pocket expenses.

The circumstances of his crash are very similar to the case of “Irwin v Stevenson”.  In that case, the Judge found that both parties were equally to blame however when the matter was heard by the Court of Appeal, they found that the motorcyclist was 100% responsible.

The Highway Codes says that before you turn, you have to check your mirrors then indicate.  You need to establish whether the tractor driver did any of this before he started to turn. 

If not, you do have on the face of it, a claim of negligence against the tractor driver provided that you had already started to overtake the lorry before the tractor driver started his manoeuvre i.e. you were in the overtaking position and  there to be seen. 

If the tractor driver started his manoeuvre before you as he could not see you due to the lorry, a court will have to follow the Court of Appeal’s decision in the above case.  There is no obligation on a party to continue to look in their mirrors after they have started their manoeuvre, only before.