Car Pulls Out of Side Road In Front of Cyclist

June 26, 2018

A driver pulls out of a side road in front of you

WHO IS AT FAULT?  One of the most common cycle accident compensation claims is where a car pulls out of a side road into the path of an on-coming cyclist who has right of way on the road. The cyclist cannot avoid the accident with the car and collides into it, causing the accident.

On UK roads it is now more common to include into road users those who also uses scooters to get around.  The availability of scooters on Council led schemes (and even private scooter users) makes this article applicable to them as as much as cyclists.


Bike accident Solicitors explain why the Driver is at Fault

Statistically bike accidents at a road junction on UK’s major roads are common and occur where a car, van or lorry pulls out of side road and collides with a cyclist who has ‘right of way’ that is the cyclist is on the main road.   This type of accident at a junction is a common cycle accident to both motorbike riders and cyclists.

Cycle Accident At Junction – Who is at Fault?

As specialist cyclist compensation solicitors we see this type of accident all the time and advise clients on their claim for damages and losses.

The picture below depicts a common scenario.

  • The red vehicle (car) enters the main road from a side junction (a minor road) controlled by ‘give way’ signs.
  • The car fails to give way at the junction.
  • The cyclist has right of way on the ‘main road’ and is a priority road user. The car is positioned on a ‘minor road.’
  • The car fails to stop at the give way signs, on the minor road.
  • The cyclist should expect the car to stop at the junction and carries on as usual.
  • The car pulls out beyond the ‘give way’ junction, enters the main road where the cyclist is unable to stop or serve the bike in time causing a collision.
  • In this situation the driver is a fault for the cycle accident at the junction.

Car Pulls out of Side Road and Hits Cyclist

What does the Highway Code Say on Liability at Road Junctions?

In court the Highway Code is persuasive only and not the determining factor as the Judge has an unfettered discretion to consider all the facts of the case and decide who is liable for the bike or cycle accident with another vehicle.

So what does the Highway Code say on bike accidents at road junctions?

Take extra care at junctions. You should

  • watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians including powered wheelchairs/mobility scooter users as they are not always easy to see. Be aware that they may not have seen or heard you if you are approaching from behind
  • give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way (see Rule H2)
  • remain behind cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and motorcyclists at junctions even if they are waiting to turn and are positioned close to the kerb
  • watch out for long vehicles which may be turning at a junction ahead; they may have to use the whole width of the road to make the turn (see Rule 221)
  • watch out for horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect
  • not assume, when waiting at a junction, that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will actually turn. Wait and make sure
  • look all around before emerging. Do not cross or join a road until there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely.
  • You MUST stop behind the line at a junction with a ‘Stop’ sign and a solid white line across the road. Wait for a safe gap in the traffic before you move off.
    Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 16
  • The approach to a junction may have a ‘Give Way’ sign or a triangle marked on the road. You MUST give way to traffic on the main road when emerging from a junction with broken white lines across the road.
    Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1),16(1) & 2
  • Dual carriageways. When crossing or turning right, first assess whether the central reservation is deep enough to protect the full length of your vehicle.
    • If it is, then you should treat each half of the carriageway as a separate road. Wait in the central reservation until there is a safe gap in the traffic on the second half of the road.
    • If the central reservation is too shallow for the length of your vehicle, wait until you can cross both carriageways in one go.

The list goes on in relation to different scenarios but what is important the Highway Code makes it a priority for cyclists and other vulnerable users.

Who is at fault when a vehicle pulls out at a junction?

It is clear in the above circumstances the car, van or lorry driver is the person at fault where junction is controlled by give way signs or markings and fails to stop.

When approaching the junction, you can only enter the main road from a minor road by significantly reducing your speed, allowing you to come to a stop if needed. Prior to entering the junction, the driver must carefully assess both directions; if the roadway is unobstructed, the driver can resume your normal speed and enter the main road safely.

Further Reading on Types of Cycle Accidents

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What is the cause of the accident?

Generally speaking cyclists are particularly vulnerable at junctions due to various factors.

  • Their smaller size can make them less visible to car users, especially in blind spots.
  • Speed between cyclists and cars can lead to misjudgements, making it challenging for drivers to accurately gauge the cyclist’s approach.
  • At a junction there is often multiple directions of traffic, increasing the complexity for both cyclists and drivers to navigate safely.

9 Ways avoid cycle accidents at a Junction.

The above factors underscore the importance to cyclists of cautious behaviour and thorough observation for all road users at junctions to minimise the risks of collisions. Following extensive consideration of liability factors which bike accident solicitors will deploy in any case, the most useful advice to cyclists.

1. Enhance Visibility:Wear bright clothing and use front and rear lights, especially in low-light conditions, to increase your visibility to other road users.

2. Strategic Positioning:Choose a smart road position. If approaching a junction, consider moving to a primary position in the center of the lane to enhance your visibility, particularly when making a right turn.

3. Anticipate Traffic Movements:Stay aware of the traffic around you and anticipate the movements of other road users. Pay attention to indicators and signs that a vehicle might turn in front of you.

4. Establish Eye Contact:Whenever possible, make eye contact with drivers to ensure they’ve seen you and are aware of your presence.

5. Clear Signaling: Use clear and timely hand signals to indicate your intentions, helping drivers understand your planned movements.

6. Moderate Speed:Reduce your speed as you approach a junction, giving yourself more time to react to changing situations.

7. Ready to Brake:Keep your hands on or very close to the brake levers to react quickly if needed.

8. Optimal Road Positioning: Choose the best road position for your intended direction. For example, when turning right, position yourself in the center of the lane.

9. Plan Escape Routes: Be aware of potential escape routes in case a vehicle unexpectedly turns or maneuvers in front of you.

Cycle Compensation Solicitors

There has been a change of the law that allow solicitors to charge a “Success Fee” if you WIN compensation. So if you won your cycle accident claim and recovered £4,000 in compensation, your solicitors can take £1,000 leaving you with only £3,000. It can be expensive going to another cycle injury solicitor. Our “Success Fee” starts at 0% so you are able to keep 100% of your compensation. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help guide you.

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