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Is the Rider at Fault if he was Whitelining?

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 25 Oct 2014 | comments*Discuss
Whitelining Split Liability Collision


My partner was recently involved in an acccident with a moterbike. She was slowing down and indicating right when, just starting her turn, the moterbike hit the front wing and he came off and was injured. At the time he said it was entirely his fault as he had been whitelining (what ever that means). Now our insurance company says he's contesting this.

The police did attend the scene and as far as I know took statements but not from my partner. She is worried sick that they blame her. She feels bad enough about injuring someone without this as well.

Can you say if she was to blame as everybody I have spoken to says its the riders fault?

(Mr stephen reynolds, 10 October 2008)


Accidents involving cars and motorbikes can be extremely difficult to determine who was at fault. There’s a common perception by car drivers that motorcyclists are reckless and annoying on the road, especially when it comes to weaving and ducking around traffic. Similarly there’s the belief by bikers that car drivers don’t pay enough attention to their whereabouts and don’t give them enough space on the road.

Due to this, it’s often difficult to tell who is at fault when it comes to collisions. Witness statements can be essential and if at all possible, where you believe you’re in the clear, try and get these statements at the time. If you can get the police to come out also, do so. They can take important evidence from the scene of the collision and this could aid you later down the line.

Many motorcyclists are familiar with the term ‘whitelining’. It basically refers to bikes travelling along the painted white lines on the road and then being unable to stop, particularly if the lines are slippery and wet. Generally it’s a common hazard for cyclists to travel on these lines as they’re aware of the dangers in doing so and most will avoid them.

Even if the motorcyclist admits fault at the time, the fact that he’s now claiming no fault for the collision and hoping to contest the insurance claim means it could be difficult to win a claim in court. Most insurance companies will be looking to compromise at this stage as this will be cheaper than going to court and disputing liability. This is more common in cases where claims for compensation are relatively modest and in the circumstances described, it sounds like that may be the case.

The possible way of resolving it is simply that it’s considered a split liability. It would appear that the individual on the motorbike was trying to overtake at a junction without taking due care. Checking the road ahead at this stage is essential and it seems that while the biker wasn’t paying close attention, the other driver involved in the collision may also not have been aware of the bike coming up beside the car. In court this may lead to some considering the car driver wasn’t checking adequately before making her turn and if she wasn’t indicating, this could be a serious problem for her defence. It is certainly worthwhile considering split liability here so that neither party is responsible and the insurance companies are left to sort this out.

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Terry - 3-Oct-13 @ 12:15 PM
my husband had a accident and it was the other driver fault. after the accident he accept the liability but the next day he refuse.also police came to the scene. now our solicitor asked the police for their report but they refuse and they say they lost it.what should we do? do you think it is possible they lost it.this report is very important for us.
lily - 27-Sep-12 @ 11:23 PM
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