Burgess & Anor -v- Mulholland & anor
Irvine J ruled that the local authority was negligent in a number of respects in relation to its management of this dangerous junction as of the date of the plaintiff’s accident. Firstly, in setting up an alternative pedestrian crossing, it did so in circumstances where it made it extremely difficult for a pedestrian to access the pedestrian signal box to avail of what is commonly described as the “green man” phase provided for within the traffic light sequence. The pole upon which that signal was mounted was located amongst road traffic cones and other debris on an area of broken ground adjacent to the roadway. The location of the traffic light pole on which the pedestrian signal box was mounted was positioned so that any pedestrian trying to access it would have to try to reach their hand around in a blind type of fashion in order to try to depress the signal by exerting pressure on the glass plate to the front of the signal box.
The Court further found that the local authority’s negligence in respect of the configuration of the temporary pedestrian crossing was further severely compounded by the negligence of its servant or agent, Mr. Sutcliffe, in his driving the local authority truck. He drove the vehicle which had a cab 83 inches high almost 25ft beyond the stop line. It was found that the effect of his breach of duty in this regard was that the plaintiff’s intended path of travel across the temporary crossing was impeded, but more significantly, the positioning of his vehicle made it impossible for a pedestrian of the plaintiff’s height to see clearly the pedestrian red/green man signal on the traffic light on the central island to which he had intended travelling.
Irvine J found that in this regard, it was more than reasonably foreseeable that in these circumstances where the plaintiff’s line of sight to the red/green man signal was impeded and where he did not have ready access to the signal box controlling the pedestrian crossing and when traffic was stationary in his favour would decide to cross the roadway without seeking to deploy the pedestrian signal.
The full judgement can be found here:
S.Major, Lacey Solicitors