November 25, 2015

A pedestrian who ran the gauntlet amid stop-start traffic on Brisbane’s Adelaide Street has sued the driver of the BCC bus that struck her just short of the kerb outside the Brisbane Arcade.

Rosanna Sharp was making her way to the Cue store in the Wintergarden in December 2010, after alighting a bus from her home at The Gap, at King George Square bus station.

Just five days out from Christmas, the city was busy with merrymakers and shoppers. At just before 6 pm, it was still bright daylight.

Rosanna was on her way to work.

Rather than crossing at the controlled Albert Street intersection, she made her way along Adelaide Street and waited to cross from a point outside Officeworks.

Traffic was at a standstill and as she saw the lights were red at the Albert Street intersection, “she decided to go for it”.

As she made it to the centreline, she was alarmed that the buses and cars had started moving. The 27-yr-old “quickened her pace to get to the other side”.

Emerging from between two stationary BCC buses in the centre lane heading towards Albert Street, she strode into the path of a third bus travelling in the same direction in the inside lane.

She was struck by the bus and thrown forward sustaining injuries the parties agreed equated to $175k in injury compensation.

What brought the matter before the District Court was whether or not Murray Carlin – a BCC bus driver for eight years – caused or contributed to the accident by failing to keep his eyes peeled to spot a pedestrian amongst the congested traffic.

Carlin’s testimony was that the traffic was not particularly heavy and that he was coasting along the inside lane to the next bus stop just before Albert Street to allow his only remaining passenger to alight.

His swore that Sharp strode forward without stopping into the corner of his bus which was travelling at about 15 km/h and that the impact from his point of view, was unavoidable.

On the other hand, the pedestrian’s recollection was that she had stopped before entering the lane through which Carlin’s Bardon bound bus was travelling and observed that it to be clear and safe to cross.

Faced with a decision as to whose evidence should be accepted, Judge Nicholas Samios preferred that of driver Carlin.

“I find that Ms Sharp did not stop at the centre of the roadway, nor did she stop on the other side where the bus to her left was, nor did she stop to look to her left hand side to check for traffic coming from her left”.

In the court’s view, having first seen her only “about two or 3 m away,” the driver “had no opportunity to take any action to avoid a collision other than the heavy braking he in fact engaged in”.

Her claim was dismissed and Ms Sharp was ordered to pay the legal costs of the bus driver’s insurer, Suncorp.

Sharp v Carlin & Anor [2015] QDC 288 Samios DCJ 20/11/2015

Categories: Personal Injury , Litigation & Law Practice

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