Today’s motor vehicle accident case occurred in in Mission, BC between a motorcycle and a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. The collision occurred as the claimant’s motorcycle attempted to pass the defendant’s vehicle on the left which was making a left turn ( Tabori v. Renaud, 2016 BCSC 1242).  Two separate statements given to ICBC adjusters by a witness were reviewed by the court.

The claimant argued that the other driver was at least partly to blame for the accident.  The claimant conceded that he was partly responsible for the accident for failing to anticipate that the Beetle might turn left prior to attempting to pass it on the left. However, the claimant argued that the other driver also contributed to the accident by making an unsafe left turn. The judge disagreed and dismissed the claim entirely.

The Supreme Court found that the other driver intending to turn left as he reached the intersection. He checked his rear view mirror, saw the motorcycle behind him at a safe distance, turned on his left signal and commenced the turn. He then noticed the claimant’s face in his driver side mirror. He had no time to react. “This is not a case where one failed to see what was there to be seen. ” The judge was satisfied that the defendant took all the necessary steps in the circumstances to ensure it was safe to proceed with the left turn.

The motorcycle driver, on the other hand, did not ensure that his passing could be completed in safety contrary to section 159 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The claimant did not sound his horn and was was impaired by alcohol (over the legal limit). His impairment affected his reaction time and his ability to assess the immediate risk. He took an ill-advised risk.

Personal injury lawyers please also be aware of the case of Ali v. Fineblit, 2015 BCSC 1494. This case involved a collision between the plaintiff’s motorcycle and the defendant’s car. In that case the court stated “drivers are entitled to expect others drivers to obey the rules of the road. They are not required to anticipate another driver’s negligent behaviour”. The following comment by Gerow J. referring to Eccleston v. Dresen, 2009 BCSC 332, is important:

When a driver is going to pass another vehicle they must be reasonably certain it is safe to do so. If there is uncertainty, the obligation of the passing motorist is to wait to until it is reasonably safe to do so.

The court found the claimant 100% liable for the accident. The claimant’s lawsuit against the driver of the Volkswagen Beetle was dismissed, with costs.

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