Profit motive

Brenda Mitchell (Letters, 19 June) has been saying for some time that there should be presumed liability for road traffic collisions, whereby the motorist would be liable for any accident involving a cyclist.

She is a lawyer specialising in compensation claims, and has been peddling her services for years.

Because of the anger of pedestrians about cyclists on pavements she has adjusted her presumed liability manifesto to include them.

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How would her legal firm regard any cyclist injured because they did not use a cycle track provided, but ignored it, as of course they usually do?

Malcolm Parkin

Gamekeepers Road

Kinnesswood, Kinross

I see that National Bike Week has come around and the demands for presumed liability are being aired again.

The roads are dangerous not just for cyclists and pedestrians but for vehicle drivers too.

Yet drivers require to have insurance and pay vehicle excise duty; where is the counterpoint of this for cyclists?

It is all very well setting up cycle-specific training and upgrading the country’s infrastructure, but who pays for all this?

I am minded to remind
cycling groups of an old adage from our American cousins past, slightly re-phrased: “No representation without taxation”.

David J Mackenzie

Keith Place


Regarding Brenda Mitchell’s various assertions concerning presumed liability, she omitted to mention one rather important fact – of which your readers ought to be aware.

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Action 12 of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland 2010 was “to undertake a legislative search to reveal the operation of liability laws and how they work in other countries in Europe and around the world, and whether there is robust evidence of a direct link to levels of cycling and (the numbers of those killed or seriously injured (KSIs).”

The salient finding was: “The data (do) not supply robust evidence of a direct link between strict liability legislation to levels of cycling and KSIs, when countries like the UK and Ireland are clearly reducing fatalities in cyclists and all other road users without strict liability legislation in place.”

The whole paper can be found at

It is, perhaps, a great pity that Brenda Mitchell failed to mention such an important paper in her letter.

Strict liability should have 
no place in an environment as complex as the road one – and neither should presumed 

Andrew Fraser

Argyll Avenue