While visiting my parents (on my Norton motorcycle) over a weekend, I decided to go to Colchester, which was a relatively short drive away.
Because I preferred to drive on the minor roads (still don’t like highways!), I took a leisurely drive along a quiet road and came to an intersection where the crossing traffic had “Stop” signs. As I was approaching the intersection, I was aware of a car approaching its “Stop” sign on my left. As I entered the intersection, I realized at the very last moment that the car had not stopped. It hit the back of my ‘bike knocking it across the road and ejecting me as it did so.
Fortunately, neither my ‘bike, nor me, suffered any significant damage however, the incident had to go to court to determine fault and address accordingly.
Technically, the case was very simple to resolve because the other driver did not stop at the “Stop” sign. The judge ruled very quickly against the other driver however, he then turned to me and told me that I was also responsible! He asked me to explain to him why I did not stop. My obvious response was simply that I did not have a “Stop” sign, and the other driver did. He repeated the question “Why didn’t you stop?” I replied “Because I assumed that he was going to stop!”
That is exactly what the judge wanted hear, because he then said that I should never assume anything when I am driving. Allow for cars turning left when their right signal is flashing. Allow for cars stopping for no apparent reason and without warning. Allow for cars not stopping at “Stop” signs. Allow for cars not giving me right of way when they should. In short, don’t expect other drivers to behave either predictably or in accordance with the law. He told me that I could have avoided that accident. Having finished his lecture, I was allowed to leave.
At the time, I remembered wondering what his problem was to “preach to me” like that but, in retrospect, it made a lot of sense. That whole technique is now known as defensive driving and, when you are on “two wheels”, it can easily become a life saver!