Brenda Mitchell in her Friends of the Scotsman article on cycling (23 August) is correct, in my view, in saying that the law needs to be changed – but not to bring in a law making drivers automatically responsible for an accident involving a cyclist; what is needed is a law making cyclists responsible for themselves.
A driver must pass a test of competence to use the road in the first place, and must drive a vehicle that is registered and, therefore, traceable, has been maintained to a safety standard, and is insured for third-party risks (for example other road users such as cyclists).
Cyclists should voluntarily undertake road-use training before taking to the streets – for their own safety as much as a courtesy to other road users if nothing else – but the wearing of safety helmets and high-visibility clothing should be compulsory, as should insurance for cyclists (it is already obtainable from any decent broker).
In this and her previous articles and letters, Ms Mitchell has not once advocated that cyclists should take some action to help themselves; it’s always somebody else’s fault as far as she is concerned. In the photographs on her website, none of the cyclists is wearing high-visibility clothing and most of the bicycles in view do not have lights fitted. Perhaps her campaign should be aimed closer to home.