Car Pulls Out on Side Road Who Is At Fault?

June 20, 2018

Car Pulls Out On Side Road, Who Is At Fault?

Fig 1

Car Pulls Out of Sider Road

Car Pulls Out of Side Road

A car pulling out of a side road or junction and hitting a motorbike rider is an extremely frequent accident to riders (see Fig 1). This is one of the most common accidents on the road involving a motorcycle where a motor car pulls out of a side road at a junction into the main road. The motorcyclist has the right of way but quite often they will fail to be seen by the motorist. It is important that all motorists think “BIKE” when at a junction, but instead the motorist pulls out and causes an accident.


Who is at fault when a driver pulls out of a side road and hits a motorcyclist?

From a legal point of view the general answer is the driver.  There are many reasons behind this judgement call.  When a driver pulls out of a side road onto a main road see Fig 1, the driver must give way as the junction is controlled by ‘give way’ lines. The driver must be prepared to slow down and stop at the junction.

The problem for the driver is that often they do not see the motorcyclist and rider (generally they are looking out for other vehicle users), and proceed on to the main road without stopping or giving way.

As the driver ‘overshoots’ the give way lines, the vheicle then obstructs the motorbike rider’s path causing the accident.  The driver’s positioning of the vehicle takes the motorcycist by surprise, they expect the driver to stop so there is no or little time to avoid the collision with the motor vehicle.

Unless there are mitigating circumstances the driver will be 100% to blame for the accident.

When can the driver blame the cyclist if he pulls out of a side road?

The three main defences the driver will have against the motoryclist are set out below.

  • Excessive speed; There can be various reasons, one could be that the motorcyclist was riding at speed, well above the legal limit permitted for the main road.  This could mean that whilst the driver was approaching the junction, at first the motorist had a clear view of the road, but as the mtororist enters the road, the motorcyclist approached at such speed it was impossible for the driver to stop the vehicle so as to avoid the collision.


  • Dangerous manoeuvres; In addition to excessive speed or as an alternative the motorcyclist may undertake a dangerous manoeuvre such as a ‘wheelie’ or ‘weaving in and out of traffic’ which may make the cyclists more difficult to see. If the cyclist loses control or makes any sudden or reckless change of direction, again this could be judged to be riding dangerously or carelessly and thus causing or contributing towards the accident.


  • Motorbike overtaking stationary line of traffic at a junction; This is another common feature where a motorbike and car collied causing injury (mainly to the cyclist). In this example, the motorist is pulling out of a side road, there are vehicles stationary either side of the junction with a gap allowing for the vehicle to enter between the vehicles onto the main road, (often the driver will flash the other driver on the side road as a matter of courtesy to allow entrance to the main road).  However, undetected by the motorist, the motorcyclist overtakes a stationary line of traffic, the motorist pulls out the motorist and motorbike rider collied and causing the accident, (See Fig 2).

In all three circumstances there is a case for and against both the driver of the car and the rider of the bike. Eseentailly both can be said to have failed to keep a proper look out, failed to adhere to the Highway Code on giving way at junctions and overtaking at junctions.  There is likely in the circumstances that both parties at varying degrees will be to blame if the matter proceed to court.  As the proportion of blame for each party this will be decided by the facts of each individual case.

Fig 2

Overtaking Stationary Line of Traffic

Overtaking Stationary Line of Traffic


Our motorbike claims solicitor Ronnie Hutcheon, confirms an overtaking motorbike as a junciton where a car pulls out may give rise to a motorcycle compensation claim against the motorist. However the motorcyclist  may be held to blame as overtaking can be risky, see the well cited case on Powel v Moody that is often used by motorists Lawyers blaming the motorcyclist.

Can ‘Undertaking’ by a motorbike be held to at fault?

At a junction the short answer is YES.  A motorcyclists undertaking vehicles should always be done with caution as motorists will find motorcyclists difficult to see due to ‘blind spots.’ A vehicle pulling out of a side road faced with an undertaking motorbike will be unexpected, a surprise, leading to an accident.  See more on undertaking.

Accident Compensation Service

To learn more about the compensation service from R. James Hutcheon Solicitors, please speak with one of our specialist injury and accident advisors on 0800 011 2757 or 0151 724 7121 and we will discuss whether you have a case to pursue.

What Are The Four Most Common Motorbike Accidents?

As alluded to above in this article about common motorbike accidents any experienced rider will be familiar with the possible outcomes and guard against them.  However no matter what type of precaution adopted sometimes there is nothing the rider can do to prevent the accident and should this occur we are hear to help you claim compensation and all losses including damage to your motor cycle, helmet and leathers, boots and clothing.

For further reading please click on the following links:

  1. Motorbike Overtaking Stationary Line of Traffic
  2. Car Pulls Out of a Side Road
  3. Bike Swerves to Avoid Car
  4. Bike overtakes on a bend