Defendant Found 100% Responsible for Motorcycle Accident

In Ratelle v. Barton 2017 BCSC 1262, a plaintiff’s motorcycle collided with a defendant’s Cadillac near Whistler. The plaintiff flew into a ditch near the road and was quite banged up. A the time of the accident, the defendant was attempting to turn left when the motorcyclist struck his car. The plaintiff maintained the Cadillac driver did not signal and the Cadillac driver maintained that the plaintiff T-boned him while he had his signal on.

To determine which driver was at fault, Madam Justice Maisonville considered section 144, 155 , 165 and 170 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318,

144 (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(a) without due care and attention,(b) without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway, or

(c) at a speed that is excessive relative to the road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) (a) or (b) is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $100 and, subject to this minimum fine, section 4 of the Offence Actapplies.

155 (1) Despite anything in this Part, if a highway is marked with

a) a solid double line, the driver of a vehicle must drive it to the right of the line only,

159 A driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety.

160 A driver of a vehicle must not drive to or on the left side of the roadway, other than on a one way highway, unless the driver has a clear view of the roadway for a safe distance, having regard for all the circumstances.

165 ….(2) When the driver of a vehicle intends to turn it to the left at an intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each highway entering the intersection, the driver must

(a) cause the vehicle to approach the intersection in the portion of the right side of the roadway that is nearest the marked centre line, or if there is no marked centre line, then as far as practicable in the portion of the right half of the roadway that is nearest the centre line,

(b) keep the vehicle to the right of the marked centre line or centre line of the roadway, as the case may be, at the place the highway enters the intersection,

(c) after entering the intersection, turn the vehicle to the left so that it leaves the intersection to the right of the marked centre line of the roadway being entered, or if there is no marked centre line then to the right of the centre line of the roadway being entered, and,

(d) when practicable, turn the vehicle in the portion of the intersection to the left of the centre of the intersection….

(5) A person must not turn a vehicle at an intersection unless it is in the position on the highway required by this section.

170 (1) If traffic may be affected by turning a vehicle, a person must not turn it without giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

(2) If a signal of intention to turn right or left is required, a driver must give it continuously for sufficient distance before making the turn to warn traffic.

(3) If there is an opportunity to give a signal, a driver must not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

Additionally, Section 7.02 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, B.C. Reg. 26/58, requires vehicles to be equipped with a functioning horn, which the defendant acknowledged was not working at the time of the accident.

Relying on these provisions, Madam Justice Maisonville found that the defendant had not done the required shoulder check prior to turning and was 100% at fault for the accident.

[143]     I find that the defendant is 100 percent at fault for the accident.  Had the defendant checked his mirrors during the drive, signaled his intention to turn left by putting on his turn indicator or shoulder checked to determine that it was clear and safe to pass, in compliance with s. 165 and 170 of the Motor Vehicle Act, this accident would not have happened.  The defendant failed to demonstrate due care and attention.  The plaintiff had followed the defendant’s vehicle at a safe distance and initiated a legal pass at a dotted line when it was safe to do so. 

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