Whether defendants driving had fallen below standard of reasonable care


QBD (Foskett J) 07/10/2013

An injury sustained by a motorcyclist who had been trapped between a bus and a car had not been caused by the drivers of those vehicles, as there was no convincing evidence that their driving had fallen below the standard of reasonable care and the motorcyclist had failed to take reasonable care of his own safety. 

The claimant motorcyclist (L) sought damages for negligence against the first defendant bus driver (D1) and the second defendant car driver (D2).

L had sustained serious injury to his leg after it was trapped between a tourist bus driven by D1 and a car driven by D2. L's evidence was that he had been situated between the two vehicles prior to the accident while they were stationary, so that he should have been visible to them when they began to turn right. D1 and D2 both insisted that they had checked their mirrors before moving forwards and turning but that L had not been visible. An eye witness (W) who had been on the tourist bus gave evidence that supported L's version of events. 

HELD: Although W's evidence had been given honestly, it was confused. There were inconsistencies with regard to precisely where he was sitting on the bus, and whether he had observed the accident. Sufficient reliance could not be placed on his evidence. L's evidence, which had been given a few weeks after the accident while he was in hospital, had also been unreliable. It was likely that L had been in a blind spot of at least one of the drivers. Photographic evidence also demonstrated convincingly that D1 and D2 had been driving safely. There was no a duty of perfection on a driver, only a duty to take reasonable care, Ahanonu v South East London and Kent Bus Co Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 274, (2008) 105(5) L.S.G. 25 followed. There was no convincing evidence that D1's or D2's driving had fallen below that standard of reasonable care. On the balance of probabilities, L was not located where he could have been seen by D1 or D2 prior to the accident. Even if L had been visible, D1 and D2 would have been entitled to rely on him holding back. L had failed to take reasonable care of his own safety. 

Claim dismissed


One may have thought that the Court would have stretched a point for the claimant, however, they were not prepared to hold the defendant drivers liable, citing the pedestrian case of Ahanonu in support.