Liability means respect on roads

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THE response to Cycle Law Scotland’s Road Share campaign to introduce strict liability in Scotland has been encouraging (News, 21 April), although there are misconceptions that I hope I can clear up.

The principle of innocent until proven guilty underpins Scots criminal law but not civil law. It is civil law we hope to change, where strict liability is already widely used to protect consumers and employees. And although motorists in accidents with cyclists would be presumed liable, they will always be able to attempt to prove the cyclist’s negligence.

Strict liability isn’t about making cyclists invulnerable to consequences from their actions but about giving those who deserve compensation their recompense quickly.

Nor will this 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. It is also an imperative if 
we are to catch up with our European neighbours and 
realise our ambition to become a cycling nation.

Brenda Mitchell, Founder, 
Cycle Law Scotland. Peebles