Motorcycle rider survives TAC appeal on trailer smash

27 March 2013
A man who was knocked from his motorcycle by a wayward trailer whilst riding along the Great Alpine Road has survived a TAC appeal against a County Court finding that the vehicle with the trailer was at fault in the crash.

Road safety lawyer and rider activist John Voyage from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, says the appeal against the County Court's original findings was breathtakingly audacious by the TAC, reinforcing the organisation's negative views of motorcyclists.

Anthony Cuthbertson was knocked off his motorcycle when the trailer being towed swept on to the wrong side of the road as the two vehicles passed from opposite directions on a bend.

"The court heard that Mr Cuthbertson was travelling slowly on the correct side of the road when the trailer crossed the dividing line, impeded on his legal road space and knocked the rider from his bike, causing him significant injuries as he hit the road," Mr Voyage said.

"The TAC refused to accept the Court's verdict, despite the fact the rider had clearly been impacted by the wayward trailer, causing the fall.

"The TAC did not accept the injured motorcyclist's description of what had happened, or that of independent witnesses, instead insisting that the motorcyclist had contributed to his injuries, despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary."

It took a panel of judges at the Supreme Court's Court of Appeal to finally set the TAC straight, with Justice Whelan saying in his final decision: "I would reject all of the grounds of appeal relied upon. In my view the appeal should be dismissed."

Peter Baulch of the Victorian Motorcycle Council said the TAC's desperate attempt to avoid helping a rider who was injured through no fault of their own, is a sad indictment on the general anti-rider attitude the TAC continues to display.

"Riders are sick of being treated like second-class citizens by other road users and by the organisation set up to protect their rights on the road," Mr Baulch said.

"It reinforces the importance of rider advocacy programs such as the Stop SMIDSY campaign, which says inadvertence is no excuse for hitting vulnerable road users such as riders, and that we all need to take more care on the roads to increase safety."

 The full verdict of the Court of Appeal can be found here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2013/29.html