Though I have been encouraged in the past week by the response to Cycle Law Scotland’s Road Share campaign to introduce strict liability in Scotland, I have noticed a number of misconceptions from some about what we are proposing. I hope I can clear these up.
First, the principle of innocent until proven guilty underpins Scots criminal law but not civil law.
In fact, strict liability is already widespread as an integral part of workplace regulation and consumer protection legislation.
It is civil law we hope to change and though motorists in accidents with cyclists would be presumed liable, they will always be able to attempt to prove the cyclist’s negligence.
Second, we recognise that though the vast majority of cyclists are responsible road users, there are some who aren’t.
Strict liability isn’t about making cyclists invulnerable to consequences from their actions but about giving those who deserve compensation their recompense quickly so that they can get back to good health and back to normality as soon as possible.
Finally, strict liability will not increase tensions between motorists and cyclists. It would actually usher in a greater sense of care and respect on the roads as motorists become more cautious towards cyclists, and cyclists towards pedestrians.
We view strict liability as just one part of a range of policies the Scottish Government can and should be pursuing to improve cycle safety.
Strict liability is none- theless imperative if we are to catch up with our European neighbours and realise our ambition to become a cycling nation.
Cycle Law Scotland
Malcolm Parkin (Letters, 18 April) says cyclists are largely a menace, as any driver or pedestrian will confirm. This is one of the most outrageous statements I have ever read, without getting in to the rights and wrongs about changes in the law regarding cyclists.
Since the mid-1960s I have been a club, competitive and leisure cyclist and still ride 3,000 miles a year in retirement. I have ridden in many European countries and, before retiring, my annual car mileage was around 20,000 miles per year. I am well placed to voice an opinion on the behaviour of cyclists and drivers.
Yes, a minority of cyclists do not obey the Highway Code, but cyclists do not want to be knocked down and injured. I have seen many acts of dangerous driving by drivers who pass too close, overtake and make sudden left turns across your path, or open car doors as you pedal past.
For my part, I do feel lucky not to have been seriously injured cycling on public roads over the past 40 years. Possibly Malcolm Parkin should get out on a bike for a month before making such outrageous statements. He might come to the conclusion that most drivers are a menace.
I read with interest Malcolm Parkin’s letter, in which he states that “cyclist are largely a menace, as any driver or pedestrian will confirm”.
Well, I drive a car, walk, ride a motorcycle, have a mountain bike and road bike and would not say cyclists are a menace. As a road user on multiple vehicles I find car drivers on a mobile phone to be a bigger menace. Mr Parkin suggests cyclists should pass a test, pay road tax and have insurance. I just wondered what this would achieve.
All car drivers legally must have all three but has this stopped all cars from crashing and causing any fatalities of other road users?
Road tax on cars is currently calculated on CO2 emissions and any car with less than 100 CO2s has a zero road tax rate, so since a bicycle produces no CO2s would it not be zero rates as well?
The health and environmental benefits of cycling are huge and must be encouraged.
Richard A Smith