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Legal advice: Where do I stand with iffy indication?

Published: 18 September 2009

Updated: 19 November 2014

Here's MCN reader Ryan Little's plight...

So there I was on a nice national speed limit road and I come round a corner at 40mph and there's a farm quad with a trailer, two-up going about 20mph.

The guy on the back saw me and puts his right arm out (as if to let me past). I looked past them, saw no cars and pulled out to overtake, then they swung into the oncoming lane.

I managed to brake and swerve back most of the way then smash the right side of my bike into the trailer. My little finger took most of the impact along with my brake lever which locked the front brake and threw my hand off the bars.

I couldn't grab the bar in time and went into the hedge on the left. My little finger was mashed and my left leg has a huge lump on it, but I managed to limp the bike home. I think the quad crew are liable, am I right?

MCN says:
The first thing you need to do is report this accident to the police and to your insurer. In terms of liability this is an interesting case. The quad driver's insurer will say that the arm being held out was their indication of a right turn due to take place imminently, thereby putting you on notice that it was not safe to overtake.

You will say that the person with his arm out was waving you past. In any event I feel that the person who's responsibility it is to indicate is the driver not his passenger.

The driver would arguably be responsible for the actions of his passenger and as such the quad bike's insurer will have to deal with the claim. There may well be allegations of contributory negligence for failing to act on their indication of the fact they were about to turn right.

It is likely to come down to credibility but I suggest you get a lawyer and send a letter of claim to the quad bike owner for him to forward to his insurer.

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