…but I’m rooting for him:
A motorcyclist left paralysed in a crash after two schoolgirls allegedly stepped into his path is suing them for more than £300,000 in damages.
And before anyone points out it’s ‘monstrous’ to sue two teenage girls, just have a look at the facts of the case:
Dennis Porter, 60, is said to have swerved to avoid sixth formers Charlotte Humphries and Gemma McMillan when they walked into moving traffic on their way home from school in Hackbridge in 2008.
Mr Porter said he hit the brakes and avoided the girls, now both 19, but skidded into the path of an oncoming Ford Transit van.
Essentially, he’s suing them for causing the accident by not using the provided crossing. And I feel for him, because, frankly, it could only have been a matter of time.
Time and time again I see pedestrians with little or no road sense stepping out into traffic often mere feet away from a legitimate crossing. And I’m not just talking about children either – just a few weekends ago I saw an elderly lady (walking with a stick) hobble across a dual carriageway just ten feet from a Pelican crossing!
Even where the fault of the driver is pretty much a foregone conclusion, pedestrians don’t help themselves by failing to use the crossings because it’s inconvenient…
Miss Humphries, of London Road, Hackbridge, and Miss McMillan of Reigate Avenue, Sutton, were travelling home from school, getting off the 151 bus at about 4.45pm on June 30, near to Miss Humphries’ home.…“Instead of walking further north to use the pedestrian crossing, the defendants walked south along the eastern footway until they were almost opposite [Miss Humphries’ address] and then attempted to cross the road between slow-moving traffic.
“Two motorcycles passed [Miss Humphries] who then moved to the offside and began to filter past motor cars while, nevertheless remaining on his own side of the road.
“He was aware there was a 30mph speed limit and he negotiated a left hand bend appropriately and within a the speed limit before straightening up.”
“As he did so the defendants suddenly and without warning emerged from between slow moving traffic from the right and established themselves past the white centre line in the claimant’s path, unable to proceed through the northbound traffic.”
Now, the sole comment to that piece at the time of writing was that, under the Highway Code, pedestrians have right of way at all times, even if they aren’t on a crossing. But the Highway Code was written when a certain amount of personal responsibility was expected. It hasn’t taken into account changing attitudes to road safety.
And I’m not advocating a ‘mow ‘em down if they don’t get out of the way!’ free for all approach. Tempting though that might be…
But frankly, I’d like to see a lot more personal responsibility of the part of pedestrians, and if this lawsuit forces that, I’m all for it.
The two teenagers now have a chance to lodge a defence.
It’ll be interesting to see what that could possibly be…