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Title: Filtering or Overtaking?

Date: 19 October 2011

Filtering or Overtaking?

Question

Can you please explain the difference between filtering and overtaking? I had what I think was a filtering accident when I was passing the outside of a line of stand still traffic at 10-15 mph when someone in a 4x4 suddenly pulled out across my path leaving me no time to stop. But my solicitors are telling me the person who pulled out on me is arguing I was dangerously overtaking. My solicitors want me to accept 80% of the blame and therefore end up with just 20% of my compensation. I am not happy about this.

Faye Pullum

Answer

The first thing to say is that filtering is perfectly legal so that has to be the starting point. Overtaking comes into play when the traffic being overtaken is no longer thought to be stationery or “stop start”. Powell –v- Moody was an unhelpful case from 1966 which resulted in a 20/80 split and I imagine this is what your solicitors are thinking of when advising you to accept 80% of the blame. However things have moved on somewhat since then. Although one has to take extra care when filtering, especially on the approach to junctions, where judges are most likely to reduce compensation by virtue of contributory negligence primary liability (fault) should still rest with the person who pulls into the path of the correctly proceeding motorcycle.

Filtering at 10-15 mph past stationary traffic is a reasonable filtering speed. It does not count as overtaking (as opposed to filtering) to my mind let alone dangerous overtaking. You don’t say if you were on the approach to a junction for example, which would likely lead to some reduction, but what is clear is that a 20% settlement is not sufficient. Firms such as those often appointed by insurance companies don’t always understand the law pertaining to filtering, most of them being non-specialist accident firms. I suggest you seek alternative advice.

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