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Arnott v Sprake & Another, Court of Appeal

26 February 2001
The issues

Duty Of Care to be Expected on Unclassified Roads from a Motorist.

The facts

The Claimant was driving a motorcycle on an unclassified rural road with a speed limit of 60 mph. He went around a left hand bend and collided with an agricultural vehicle driven by the First Defendants who was turning right into the lane from a junction on the Claimant’s left hand side.

There were no markings on the lane to indicate the approach to the junction. At first instance the Judge found the Defendants liable on the basis that the Claimant was travelling at 45mph and was unaware of the approaching junction. The bend in the lane was “unusually dangerous” and the width and length of the Defendant’s vehicle made it “an unusual vehicle”. There was a duty on the driver of the agricultural vehicle to place a warning triangle in the lane and/or switch on flashing lights and sound his horn as he turned.

The decision

There is no justification for the finding that point in the lane was unusually dangerous or that the farm vehicle was unusual. It was precisely the sort of junction that could be anticipated on a road of this type. The vehicle was a typical agricultural vehicle to be expected on country roads. The onus was on the driver on such a road to drive in a manner that would not put him at risk of being surprised by what was around the next bend.

Appeal allowed.

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