A cycle of law

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In response to Magnus Moodie and Clark Cross’s letters (14 & 16 March) let me ask them what they would do for the young family of a mother killed while out cycling, who had to wait nearly two years before they received any compensation for their loss?

Or the 67-year-old gentleman knocked from his bike causing a fractured pelvis, when a minibus suddenly struck him from behind and whose insurance company denied liability for 18 months before finally agreeing full settlement? These are the consequences of our current laws, which put property before people.

Our aim to introduce presumed liability into civil law is about shifting the burden of proof so that in the event a cyclist or walker is injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, the motor insurer is presumed liable to pay compensation unless it can be established the cyclist or walker caused or contributed to their own injury. This would encourage motor insurers to make swift decisions regarding liability which could ultimately result in less costly litigation.

If a cyclist breaks the law, he or she should be penalised. We have no problem with that. Our debate is around the efficacy of civil law, which deals with liability for injury and loss. Equally, if a cyclist collides with a pedestrian, under presumed liability, the cyclist, as the more “powerful”, would be liable for any injury.

Finally, the cost of insurance for cyclists is around £20 a year and the reason it is so low is that cyclists pose little risk to others.

Our campaign is about how we as a society protect the vulnerable on our roads.

Brenda Mitchell

Founder, Road Share and Cycle Law Scotland

Castle Street, Edinburgh