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Grealis v Opuni, Court of Appeal, 28 January 2003

5 February 2003
The issues

Road traffic – overtaking – motorcycle.

The facts

The Claimant was an 18 year old student working part-time as a Pizza Delivery boy. In July 1997 sometime after 11.00 pm, he was riding a moped along the A5 intending to turn right to make his last delivery. The traffic lights were on green and there were some other vehicles in the filter lane also waiting to make a right hand turn. The Claimant jumped the queue and instead of remaining in the filter lane to turn right, passed to the right of the centre bollard before making his turn. He collided with a car being driven across the junction on the other side of the carriageway. The car was travelling at something between 37 and 39 mph. The speed limit was 30 mph. The collision was between the front of the car and the rear wheel of the moped and the Judge found in probability that the collision would have been avoided if the car had been travelling at a slower speed. Nonetheless, the driver’s breach of the Road Traffic Acts could not be equated with a breach of duty of which the Judge found none on the driver’s part. The claim was dismissed. The Claimant appealed.

The decision

The Defendant should have been aware of the possibility of vehicles that were queuing to cross the road miss-judging the speed of oncoming traffic and crossing at an inappropriate time. It was negligent in those circumstances to drive at a speed in excess of the speed limit. The Claimant bore a heavy responsibility to the extent of 80%. Appeal allowed.

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