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Filtering or lane splitting is a legal manoeuvre for motorcyclists in the UK.
Car drivers hate it, but its legal. It is also hazardous, and the legal case law around it is complex.
For instance, The Highway Code states that the manoeuvre is allowed, but we should take care and keep speed low. So what speed is low speed?
Well, if the vehicles you are passing are stationary, then its generally accepted that you are filtering if your speed is below 15mph.
If you’re going faster than that but the traffic is moving are you still going slow enough?
Every filtering accident is different.
There is lots of varied case law on the subject of filtering accidents that demonstrate the complexity of the laws around filtering, and in each case liability different upon speeds, and vehicle positions.
For example, in the case of Powell v Moody (1966) a car collided with a filtering motorbike, and the motorcyclist was found 80% to blame as he was overtaking stationary traffic on the offside when the accident occurred.
In Harding v Hinchcliffe (1964) a motorcyclist came up on the right of a bus that was turning left. A motorist was waiting to turn right at the same junction, saw the bus indicating left and pulled out. The motorcyclist was hidden from their view by the turning bus and they hit him.
The car driver was held 100% to blame as they should have expected the possibility there may have been a vehicle hidden from view behind the bus and waited until they could see clearly to pull out.
In Powel v Hansen v Chin (2001) two cars were turning right at a crossroads controlled by traffic lights. The first car completed the right turn, and the second followed suit and hit a motorcyclist that was going straight over the junction at speed. the motorcyclist could not avoid the accident as he was speeding.
The driver was held 80% to blame for turning when it was not safe to do so, and the bike was held 20% to blame for speeding.
Farley v Buckley (2007) A motorcyclist was behind a lorry which was approaching a junction on the left. The motorbike was very close to the lorry and had to brake hard which threw him from his bike into the path of a car turning into the road in front of the lorry.
The motorcyclist was held 70% to blame for travelling too fast and too near to the rear of the lorry, and the driver was held 30% to blame for not waiting to see if there was traffic hidden by the lorry.
Garston Warehousing Co v Smart (Liverpool) Ltd (1973) A bus driver indicated to a car waiting to turn into the main road that he could pull out in front of him, not realising there was a motorcycle coming up on his offside. The car started to pull out at which point the bus driver tried to warn the car of the bike. The car proceeded and hit the bike.
The car driver was held 33% to blame for pulling out and failing to check if there was traffic obscured by the bus, and the motorcyclist was held 67% to blame for failing to acknowledge that traffic may have pulled out of the side road onto the main road.
Mackeldon v Hinton (2005) A scooter was riding behind a bin lorry which was turning left at a junction. The scooter overtook the lorry on the offside. The lorry couldn't make the turn as it was too wide, and had to wait until a car had pulled out of the junction. The car turned right and hit the scooter.
The scooter was held 100% to blame as the car had pulled out slowly, whereas the scooter had been speeding and so couldn't avoid the accident.
Don’t move until you’ve checked yourself for injuries. Back and neck injuries can be made worse by moving after the accident before medical help arrives.
Don’t remove your helmet unless you are having difficulty breathing. This would take over any concern about head or spinal injuries
Get someone at the scene to call 999 immediately.
Don’t try to move your bike and stay where you are as long as you are not in any further danger from moving traffic.
Check yourself for injuries, and remove any new or additional dangers.
All of our team are legally qualified ranging from Solicitors to Legal Executives, and all are also bikers. Some of our team are also APIL members which helps to ensure that we are all up to date with leading case law on personal injury and compensation awards.
If you’ve been involved in a filtering accident get in touch with us today and let us help.