Tested by cyclists

I have been following the ­cycling debate on presumed ­liability with interest (Letters, 24 June).

Some interesting points have been raised, but I still have one question: a motorist has to 
undertake a training course under the supervision of a qualified instructor before being deemed ready to sit the driving test.

This test comprises a written examination of his or her knowledge of driving theory and the rules of the road, plus a rigorous practical driving exam by a tester who is well aware of the responsibility that goes with his power to pass the learner and allow him or her to drive solo.

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Should they pass, they will then be licensed and must obtain insurance to drive a vehicle that has been tested and certified as roadworthy.

A cyclist, however, is not required to be trained or tested in cycling skills or knowledge of the Highway Code.

Neither is there any required test for the condition of the brakes, lights, steering and tyres of their machines. They can just jump on a bike and start ­pedalling.

Now, I am not a cyclist-basher; I fully accept that there are many cyclists on the roads who behave properly and take their responsibility as a road-user seriously.

Unfortunately, however, there are also many who do not, so my question is this:; apart from the fact that presumed liability contradicts the basic principle of the British justice system, if the two road users I have described are involved in a collision, where is the faintest shred of logic in automatically apportioning blame to the motorist?

Walter J Allan

Colinton Mains Drive


The increasingly heated debate in your pages about presumed 
liability and cyclists appears to be bringing the worst out in people.

What is the answer? As in most cases, it seems both sides need to learn a little empathy.

Perhaps The Scotsman could organise an event at which drivers who are suspicious of cyclists spend a day on a bike, and cyclists who enjoy running red lights and cycling on the pavement get a taste of their own medicine.


Ferry Road