Yet again compensation lawyer Brenda Mitchell uses your newspaper (Letters, 20 June) to call for all other road users to be held liable for incidents involving cyclists on public roads.
She says “vulnerable road users should be afforded the utmost protection” – surely the best way for cyclists to protect themselves is to learn to use public roads properly before taking to them in the first place.
Every driver who wants to use the roads to drive a vehicle for which a licence is required (and that licence is a privilege, not a right, as it can be withdrawn at any time for legal or medical reason) has to undergo compulsory training and testing on road use involving safe lane discipline, the meaning of road signs (such as No Entry and One Way Street), the legal responsibilities of using the road (driving with due care and attention) etc, knowledge of the Highway Code and road law.
If cyclists had to undergo compulsory training and testing to the driving test standard, they would be taught about such things and would be using the public road under the same conditions as everybody else.
Cyclists, however, can take to the road with impunity at any time with no training whatsoever or any other legal requirements on a bicycle which has not had maintenance or safety checks for many years.
Ms Mitchell wants the law changed to make the other trained/licenced/insured road users in their annually safety-inspected vehicles to be held responsible for the cyclist’s actions.
She mentions our European neighbours, but those who have the high levels of safe active travel she talks about also have separate roads and cycle routes – in the UK the majority of routes are shared by everybody, but only one group of users is allowed to be untrained, unlicensed and uninsured (although there is nothing to stop a cyclist taking out insurance, many companies offer it).
That group is also the only one which isn’t legally obliged to carry a unique identification number to allow them to be traced in the event of an incident.
Brenda Mitchell of Cycle Law Scotland should understand that life has its risks. Without them we would lose our natural instincts of self-defence.
Risks can’t simply be legislated away.
Road collisions are best dealt with by education. My own practical experience, during 56 years of road use, demonstrates that selfishness, lack of concentration, inability to judge situations, and inappropriate speed, are – in entirety – the four causes of road collisions.
Anyone involved in a road collision should be assessed on these factors and trained accordingly. There is no such thing as an accident.