Motorist Passing Left Hand Turning Vehicle Found 75% at Fault for Collision
Adding to this site’s archived case summaries addressing fault for motor vehicle collisions, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing liability for a collision which occurred when a motorist attempted to pass a left hand turning vehicle.
In last week’s case (Ekman v. Cook) the Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle. The traffic ahead of him slowed to a near stop and he moved into the oncoming lane to pass the vehicles. At the same time the Defendant commenced a left hand turn into her driveway. Both motorists were found at fault with the Plaintiff shouldering 75% of the blame. In reaching this decision Mr. Justice Weatherill provided the following reasons:
 Ms. Cook knew she was driving slowly towing a horse trailer along a straight roadway where passing was permitted. She ought reasonably to have been alive to the possibility of a passing vehicle. She should have looked in her side mirror and done a shoulder check in a manner timely to the commencement of her left turn. If it is true that Ms. Henry noticed weaving motorcycles and was concerned they were going to try to pass, so too should Ms. Cook have.
 Each of the plaintiff and Ms. Cook were obliged to ensure that their respective manoeuvre could be performed safely. I find on the balance of probabilities that both the plaintiff and Ms. Cook failed to exercise the appropriate standard of care expected of them in the circumstances and was negligent and that their respective negligence caused the accident. Each is partly liable for the accident.
 I also find that, of the two of them, the plaintiff had the better opportunity to assess the circumstances and avoid the collision. It should have been evident to him that the traffic ahead of him had slowed almost to a stop for a reason, including the possibility that a vehicle ahead of him was preparing to turn left. The Truck/Trailer’s left turn signal should have been evident to him. It is incumbent upon drivers who are uncertain as to what is going on ahead of them on a highway to proceed with caution when attempting to pass. The plaintiff did not do so.
 In my view, the appropriate apportionment of liability is 75% to the plaintiff and 25% to Ms. Cook. The defendant William Joseph Cook is vicariously liable for Ms. Cook’s negligence by virtue of s. 86 of theMotor Vehicle Act.