FORMER Scotland rugby star Scott Hastings and his wife have backed calls for the law to be changed so motorists would be presumed to be at fault if they were in an accident with a cyclist.
The couple have given their support to the campaign after they both lost close friends in road accidents in recent weeks.
Campaign group Cycle Law Scotland has been calling for stricter liability laws to be introduced, so that in the event of a collision involving a car or other motor vehicle and a cyclist or pedestrian, it would be presumed the motorist was liable for the accident unless they could show otherwise.
This would apply unless the injured person was under 14 or over 70 years of age, or disabled, in which case the motorist would be deemed to be fully liable.
While both Mr Hastings and his wife Jenny enjoy cycling as a hobby, Mrs Hastings had been trained by Douglas Brown, a founding member of the Edinburgh Triathletes Club, who was killed in a collision with a truck in West Lothian last month.
The couple were both friends with Andrew McMenigall, a coach with the Edinburgh Triathletes Club, who was killed earlier in July.
Mr Hastings said: “For Jenny and I, this is all about awareness. All road users need to be far more aware of cyclists who use the road. This can be as simple as giving more space to a cyclist when passing or overtaking but we also believe that cyclists also have a responsibility to be more visible to other road users.
“Cycle Law Scotland’s campaign will help to make our roads safer for all cyclists and we would urge as many people as possible to support this worthwhile cause.”
Cycle Law Scotland founder Brenda Mitchell said she was “delighted” at the Hastings’ support for their campaign.
“Road safety measures affect us all and I am pleased they are both able to recognise the benefits a strict liability regime could introduce,” she said.
“Our European neighbours are proving that the regime, which imposes responsibilities on those in control of dangerous objects to others, leads to increased awareness and greater consideration for vulnerable road users, therefore potentially reducing the number of tragic incidents.
“Losing someone you love in a road traffic collision is a tragedy I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. With already nine cyclists killed in Scotland this year, now is the time for action, we must join our European counterparts.
“It is our goal to change the culture amongst road users in Scotland to bring about a mutual respect for one another and importantly each other’s safety.”