06 Jul Slow Drivers

Does it drive you crazy when someone is driving really slowly in front of you? Be patient and don’t try to pass that driver on the left, or you could cause an accident.

In the case of Ali v. Fineblit, 2015 BCSC 1494, the Plaintiff was riding his motorcycle along a residential street between 30 -40 km per hour. He slowed as he approached an intersection and claimed he turned on his left turn signal. He stopped and ensured the car behind him had stopped.  As he started to make his turn, he was hit by the car that had been stopped behind him as it tried to pass him on the left.

According to the Defendant, the Plaintiff was driving very slowly, at what she described as a “walking pace”. She testified that the Plaintiff was unpredictable. She could not ascertain what he was doing as he approached the intersection.

The Plaintiff’s position was that the accident was the result of the Defendant’s frustration and annoyance at a delay in her travel and her decision to proceed in an unsafe manner by passing on the left in an intersection.

The Judge accepted the Plaintiff’s evidence that he put his left hand turn indicator on, and checked and saw that the Defendant had stopped behind him before commencing his turn. The Defendant’s evidence at trial was that she was unable to ascertain what the motorcycle was going to do prior to passing it.

The Judge held that the Defendant took an ill-advised risk, hoping she could pass the Plaintiff and that he would not turn left. The law was clear that she was the servient driver, and she had to wait until she was able to ascertain what he was going to do or sound her horn to let him know she was passing.

Having considered the evidence, submissions and case law provided, the Judge found that the Defendant failed to ensure she could pass safely before attempting to pass the Plaintiff, and she was held 100% at fault for the accident.