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Head-on accident on country road

When driving on a single lane country road the practice of drivers heading towards each other and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management-Road Rules) Regulations 2009 Qld 132 and 133 require that each vehicle shares the bitumen. So, the practice is for each vehicle to have their left-hand tyres off the bitumen so that they are each as far as practical to the left to allow the vehicles to pass safely.

In Gary Hopman QBE Insurance (Pty Ltd), Justice McMeekin in the Supreme Court at Mackay was required to determine whether the Defendant driving a car towing a caravan had kept as far to the left as practicable so as to avoid a collision. The Plaintiff collided with what was probably the wing mirror of the Defendant’s vehicle causing his motorcycle to leave the road and he suffered injury. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant had not kept as far as practicable to the left and alleged that the Defendant did not follow the usual practice, leaving all of his wheels on the bitumen thereby not leaving him sufficient room to pass safely. The Plaintiff was travelling with two companions on motorcycles who were in front of him. Both those motorcycles passed the car and caravan safely. It was accepted by all parties that the motorcycles could not move off the bitumen to any speed because of the loss of control given the drop off from the bitumen to the gravel. The Plaintiff failed in his case for three reasons:

  • Firstly, the investigating Police Officer who knew the road was of the opinion that if the Defendant’s car and caravan remained on the road on the bitumen surface, motorcycles could not have passed.
  • Secondly, the two leading motorcycles had safely passed the car and caravan.
  • And thirdly, in his interview shortly after the accident with the investigating Police Officer, the Plaintiff said that he had seen the other two leading bikes slowing down, had to brake heavily and moved to the right which would have been towards the car and caravan.

Although Justice McMeekin found for the Defendant he assessed damages as he was required to do at $760,553.68.

Contact Rita Derek of this firm for further advice.

Posted in: Derek Legal Blog at 09 January 18

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