DRIVING IN THE HIGH STREET? BE CAREFUL!
The building works outside the Regent Arcade have made it even more tricky than before to drive from the top of Rodney Road through to Winchcombe Street. Easing your car through pedestrians requires patience, but this is important, even if the High Street at that point is not officially pedestrianised. If there is an accident, it is highly likely that the car driver will be found to blame.
An example of this was seen in the Birmingham High Court recently. Mr Mahesh Odedra was driving in the city centre late at night along a single lane, one-way street. Robert Ayres, who was 24 and drunk, was on his way to a nightclub with friends. As Mr Odedra approached, Ayres walked into the road in front of the car and dropped his trousers. The car stopped, but then tried to get past, and as it did so misjudged it and hit Ayres. He fell down, hit his head on the kerb, and the car then ran over his leg. He was left with a serious brain injury as well as a broken leg.
The judge said that Ayres had behaved very stupidly, he was very drunk, his dropped trousers meant he could not move out of the way easily, and he should not have stopped in the middle of the road. However, all Mr Odedra needed to have done was wait until Ayres was out of the way, and his priority should have been to do this until he was sure it was safe to drive on. He was found to be 80% to blame, and Ayres only 20%.
The courts take the approach that cars are dangerous things, and they are much more likely to injure pedestrians than vice-versa. Although each case is decided on its facts, in general it will be the car driver who is entirely or mainly to blame, however stupid the pedestrian may have been.
Remember this when you are driving in the High Street…
Tim Howarth, Davis Gregory Solicitors, 25 Rodney Road. Tel 235202.