Scottish Road Share campaign steers presumed liability law towards Parliament

Road safety group look to introduce European-style strict liability legislation to Scottish civil law

by Elliot Johnston   April 23, 2014  

Scottish Parliament Bike Stands (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

Cycling campaign group, Road Share, is drawing on expertise from organisations including CTC, Scottish Cycling and Pedal on Parliament as it steps up its campaign for Scotland to adopt a law of presumed liability against motorists involved in collisions with people on bikes.

Road Share’s Campaign for Stricter Liability is targeting the introduction of liability laws that would deem motorists automatically liable in incidents with cyclists, unless it can be proved that the cyclist was at fault.

As it stands, the UK is one of only five EU countries that do not have a presumed liability law in place, which are based on a hierarchy of road users, with the most vulnerable afforded the greatest protection.

Under the system there is a presumption of liability against a lorry driver involved in a collision with a car, for example, or against a cyclist involved in an incident with a pedestrian.

A petition calling for a change in Scottish liability legislation has been active since April last year and has attracted 5,500 signatures.

In order to focus its efforts on lobbying the Scottish Parliament for the legislation, Road Share has set up a steering committee.

The committee has been tasked with analysing the benefits of civil law reform on road safety while also lobbying MSPs for a Member’s Bill for presumed liability in traffic collisions to Holyrood in the near future.

According to Glasgow-based newspaper The Herald, the steering committee is made up of 14 individuals from a number of key cycling organisations, including CTC, Scottish Cycling, Cycle Law Scotland and Pedal on Parliament which is coincidentally due to hold its third annual ride to Holyrood in Ediburgh this weekend to call for cycling-friendly Scottish roads.

Under the principle of presumed liability that Road Share wants to see introduced, in a collision between a car and a cyclist, the driver would be deemed liable and must pay full damages if the collision was unintentional by both parties and the cyclist cannot be proved to have been at fault in some way.

Similar laws operate in the majority of European countries, including in the Netherlands since the early 1990s.

Road Share references the continental cycling experience in a Q&A on its website where it cites strict liability laws as one of the contributing factors to the positive cycling culture in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.

It says: “Those of us who have cycled on the continent know that there is a very different relationship between motor vehicles and cyclists, one based on respect that was brought about in part by stricter liability.”

The campaign’s steering committee is to be chaired by national cycling charity CTC councillor Dr Chris Oliver, while other prominent Scottish cycling supporting councillors Frank McAveety and Jim Orr are due to join him.

The founder of  Cycle Law Scotland, Brenda Mitchell, who established the Road Share campaign last year, spoke to The Herald about the formation of the steering committee.

She said: "I am very pleased to see representatives from a number of different key organisations come together to work on this very important campaign."

You can keep up with Road Share's progress via its Facebook and Twitter feeds.

49 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

@mpdouglas

I agree that there are some truly awful people out there who will lie for gain or to protect their mistake. But the example you use is not a good one:
"Strict liability means it's easy money for a pedestrian willing to step out in front of a cyclist and feign injury."

Cyclists would have to be careful going over zebra/etc crossings (as we already should be - in case the lemmings leap out from nowhere!), but if a pedestrian 'steps out in front of a cyclists' in the road where there wasn't a crossing, this would be exactly the sort of thing which would revoke the presumed liability.
On the other hand, if a cyclist was ever on the pavement (where they shouldn't be) then they would always be presumed liable for any accident that took place in this space.

I know laws don't always work this way... but "presumed liability" really is meant as a soft nudge-nudge to the party in the larger vehicle to be more careful and considerate around smaller parties. Not as a stick to penalise them when accidents (not incidents mind you) do happen!

My two-penneth... D Smug

posted by dgcorp [11 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 23:50

34 Likes

So if two cars collide is the one with the more powerful engine or heavier weight at fault?

And if two cyclists collide is the one with the lower FCN liable?

posted by Initialised [245 posts]
24th April 2014 - 0:57

24 Likes

format wrote:
Insurers should be jumping at this. Most of their costs are incurred from going to court, and Presumed Liability would drastically reduce the likelihood of a case getting that far.

Mmmm not sure about that, If most of the costs were from courts they could avoid those now by accepting liability without dispute.

Whilst you would hope driver behaviour changed and claims were minimal there'll be some additional costs and those will be borne by insurers firstly and premium payers in the end.

Don't get me wrong I agree in principle with the idea but I wonder if the campaigners have sort a view from motor insurers.

posted by IanW1968 [226 posts]
24th April 2014 - 2:48

14 Likes

The politics of this is interesting -if it's a No in September, the SNP will do well to look at policies that make us (in Scotland) more akin to the other social democratic Euro countries, to help increase the distinction some of us perceive between our politics and outlook and those of SE England. Meaning, this policy might float then, despite the political risks it carries.

posted by vbvb [387 posts]
24th April 2014 - 2:52

12 Likes

Sorry, but strict / presumed liability would not make our roads safer.

If we want our roads to be safe, then safety must be the responsibility of ALL road users. Existing civil law already does this, by making all road users responsible for their own actions and not presuming that any party is automatically liable if an accident occurs.

Road safety also depends on more than simply adhering to the letter of the law or the minimum people can get away with under the Highway Code. It needs road users also to abide by the SPIRIT of these rules. Good road behaviour includes being aware of others, being courteous to other road users, and driving/riding in appropriate ways that other users can predict. These principles underpin proper defensive driving/riding techniques that cautious cyclists and careful drivers rightly adopt.

The strict liability campaign undermines these good principles. Strict liability only works with hard and fast rules - it can't cope with tests of whether parties' behaviour was reasonable in the circumstances. If strict liability applied, drivers would have to be made liable even if cyclists marginally complied with the minimum requirements of the law, even if the cyclist’s actions were reckless in those particular circumstances.

Cycle Law Scotland's agenda seems to be even worse. It appears they want drivers to be liable even where a cyclist has failed to abide by the Highway Code. Rule 72 of the Code clearly states "Do not ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left." But that's not what Cycle Law Scotland's website would have you believe. According to them "Filtering is a perfectly legal way to make progress through traffic safely" (http://www.cycling-accident-compensation.co.uk/Filtering.aspx) - no exceptions given.

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
24th April 2014 - 8:36

18 Likes

Mmmm not sure about that, If most of the costs were from courts they could avoid those now by accepting liability without dispute.

Most cases don't go to court - insurers will settle out of court after dragging their feet for as long as possible.

What Presumed Liability will help with is helping vulnerable road users be compensated quickly and fairly for their injuries and losses. At the minute you can have people waiting years for a resolution to their case, which is entirely unfair.

format's picture

posted by format [10 posts]
24th April 2014 - 9:17

15 Likes

Sorry, but strict / presumed liability would not make our roads safer.

If we want our roads to be safe, then safety must be the responsibility of ALL road users. Existing civil law already does this, by making all road users responsible for their own actions and not presuming that any party is automatically liable if an accident occurs.

Presumed Liability works very well in several european countries with very low cyclist KSI rates. There is absolutely no reason it won't work here

Road safety also depends on more than simply adhering to the letter of the law or the minimum people can get away with under the Highway Code. It needs road users also to abide by the SPIRIT of these rules. Good road behaviour includes being aware of others, being courteous to other road users, and driving/riding in appropriate ways that other users can predict. These principles underpin proper defensive driving/riding techniques that cautious cyclists and careful drivers rightly adopt.

I'm glad we agree on this - being courteous to other road users is very important. All the evidence thus far shows that it is a minority of bad drivers that are at fault in the majority of incidents between cyclists and motorists. Presumed Liability would be a strong disincentive to this minority (and everyone else) to improve their behavior to other road users. I

The strict liability campaign undermines these good principles. Strict liability only works with hard and fast rules - it can't cope with tests of whether parties' behaviour was reasonable in the circumstances. If strict liability applied, drivers would have to be made liable even if cyclists marginally complied with the minimum requirements of the law, even if the cyclist’s actions were reckless in those particular circumstances.

Strict liability could be seen to undermine these principles. That's why we're campaigning for 'Presumed Liability' - if a road user has acted completely responsibly then the presumption of liability will evaporate!

Cycle Law Scotland's agenda seems to be even worse. It appears they want drivers to be liable even where a cyclist has failed to abide by the Highway Code. Rule 72 of the Code clearly states "Do not ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left." But that's not what Cycle Law Scotland's website would have you believe. According to them "Filtering is a perfectly legal way to make progress through traffic safely" (http://www.cycling-accident-compensation.co.uk/Filtering.aspx) - no exceptions given.

Except the highway code *does* allow filtering. Rule 72 only applies to vehicles turning left. It says nothing about multiple lanes or traffic or filtering past stationary traffic. Filtering is perfectly acceptable in this situations.

format's picture

posted by format [10 posts]
24th April 2014 - 9:31

25 Likes

format- do you have anything to support the statements "most of the costs are incurred by going to court" whilst also saying "most cases dont go to court" ?

Seems a bit contradictory.

Once again I support Presumed Liability and your campaining but I also understand the influence insurers have on policy especially at the moment when our goverment wants to been seen as "champions" of the great british motorists and keeping cost down.

Have you approached the insurers for a view?

posted by IanW1968 [226 posts]
24th April 2014 - 12:47

13 Likes

Apologies, I should have been clearer.

Most cases don't go to court because the majority of the time, the insurance companies know they don't have a case.

In terms of going to court - it incurs very high fees, so a system which lessens the likelihood of this happening should in theory be preferable to the insurance industry.

format's picture

posted by format [10 posts]
24th April 2014 - 13:42

17 Likes

Some points about strict/presumed liability:

- They are not the same thing. "Strict" means we always consider the person with the larger vehicle liable. "Presumed" means we presume they are liable unless they can show otherwise (which seems fairer to me). This may seem pedantic, but often the terms are used interchangeably which is wrong.

- We already have a good example of presumed liability in the UK. We all know that if one driver rear-ends another the driver behind is presumed liable unless they can prove otherwise. This generally works well, except in a small number of "crash for cash" scams. Pedestrians and cyclists are rather less likely to commit this kind of fraud because it would require them to be injured, which hurts.

- Despite presumed liability being a sensible rule which all civilised nations have already implemented - obviously the person with the biggest most dangerous vehicle should be the most careful (rather than "might is right") - we should not delude ourselves that it will result in much safer roads or mass-cycling. No driver expects to have a collision. Knowing the driver will be blamed is small consolation in an accident, or in a near miss situation. It will NOT encourage people to cycle or to let their kids loose on the road. Only safer infrastructure is proven to make that kind of change. But it might send a signal that cycling and walking are considered worthy of being prioritised.

posted by pmanc [168 posts]
24th April 2014 - 15:57

17 Likes

format wrote:

Presumed Liability works very well in several european countries with very low cyclist KSI rates. There is absolutely no reason it won't work here.

Where's your proof for this? Why is presumed liability a cause of low cyclist KSI rates rather than, for example, better cycling infrastructure or laws that clearly set out what drivers and cyclists can and cannot do.

Also, in which of these countries does presumed liability apply where the cyclist is a fit adult (as opposed to a child or vulnerable adult)?

Presumed Liability would be a strong disincentive to this minority (and everyone else) to improve their behavior to other road users.

How can placing almost all of the responsibility for road safety on only some road users possibly be better for safety than placing responsibility on ALL users?

That's why we're campaigning for 'Presumed Liability' - if a road user has acted completely responsibly then the presumption of liability will evaporate!

Sorry, but I fail to see how this encourages ALL road users to act "completely responsibly"?

Except the highway code *does* allow filtering. Rule 72 only applies to vehicles turning left. It says nothing about multiple lanes or traffic or filtering past stationary traffic. Filtering is perfectly acceptable in this situations.

The fact is that Cycle Law Scotland is highly selective about what parts of the highway code it refers to on its website. It gives the impression that cyclists have a universal right to filter, when that is NOT the case.

I should stress, I write as an occasional cyclist, and someone very dear to me is a regular cyclist. Safety for cyclists is paramount. But that is far better done through the right infrastructure, a clearer understanding for all road users about how they behave, for all drivers to behave properly and for no cyclist to give their fellow cyclists a bad name.

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
24th April 2014 - 20:17

15 Likes

If we want our roads to be safe, then safety must be the responsibility of ALL road users. Existing civil law already does this, by making all road users responsible for their own actions and not presuming that any party is automatically liable if an accident occurs.

All road users are not equal. Some road users have a much larger propensity to cause harm than others, which is why anyone who gets in a motorised vehicle that can cause death or serious injury must accept greater responsibility.

Pedestrians and cyclists who are in a collision with a motor vehicle are much less likely to be able to mount a legal challenge to an offender because they are usually physically unable to gather evidence at the scene or recount an accurate picture of what has happened. This is what happens when you're hit by fast-moving vehicle.


Strict liability only works with hard and fast rules - it can't cope with tests of whether parties' behaviour was reasonable in the circumstances. If strict liability applied, drivers would have to be made liable even if cyclists marginally complied with the minimum requirements of the law, even if the cyclist’s actions were reckless in those particular circumstances.

This is rubbish. It's not the case in other countries, and there's no reason to believe it would be here.


Cycle Law Scotland's agenda seems to be even worse. It appears they want drivers to be liable even where a cyclist has failed to abide by the Highway Code.

Get off your high horse and admit that the Highway Code is full of ridiculous inconsistencies and poorly written and framed advice, much of which is not law. The example you state is one of these. Of course, there is no law against 'filtering' (or 'overtaking' as it's commonly known). It's just as legal for motor vehicles, as it is for bicycles.

posted by fluffy_mike [91 posts]
25th April 2014 - 0:35

19 Likes

Fluffy_Mike – if you’re so keen on strict / presumed liability, perhaps you can show me actual evidence that it improves road safety. I’ve actually tried quite hard to get clarification of which EU countries apply strict / presumed liability where the cyclist is an adult, and struggled.

Perhaps you can also explain why cyclist deaths per billion km are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria) – some of which presumably have some strict / presumed liability arrangements in place: http://www.ctc.org.uk/sites/default/files/0905_sin_full_rpt_0.pdf (Appendix A)

Behaving reasonably on the roads in order to minimise the risk of accidents is EVERY road user’s responsibility. Trying to place all responsibility for avoiding accidents on one group of roads users alone is clearly wrong. If one vehicle causes more damage than another if there is an accident, then that should be reflected in the penalty a driver or cyclist faces if they were liable for what happened.

Your attempt to dismiss the Highway Code suggests to me you don’t want to be bound by either the letter or the spirit of what it states (and it clearly states that cyclists shouldn’t undertake a vehicle indicating to turn left). It would be totally unacceptable for drivers to be able to do anything they wanted on the road that was not expressly prohibited by law. Why should it be any more acceptable for cyclists?

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
25th April 2014 - 8:23

12 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:

If one vehicle causes more damage than another if there is an accident, then that should be reflected in the penalty a driver or cyclist faces if they were liable for what happened.

Laughing Rolling On The Floor

Plain Face

Must be nice living on fantasy island. You should write more often, over here in the UK it's rather bleak sometimes.

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [410 posts]
25th April 2014 - 8:32

11 Likes

userfriendly wrote:

Must be nice living on fantasy island. You should write more often, over here in the UK it's rather bleak sometimes.

Here's a tip for you. Why don't you try answering questions put, instead of relying on a couple of smart-Alec comments?

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
25th April 2014 - 8:48

12 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:

Here's a tip for you. Why don't you try answering questions put, instead of relying on a couple of smart-Alec comments?

A tip for me? How nice of you! Here's a tip for you, mate - if you register an account on a website for the sole purpose of poo-pooing something that will obviously be rather important to a majority of its users for very good reasons which have been explained to you at length, don't be surprised if people recognise you as the sad troll that you are if you keep going on making nonsense points.

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [410 posts]
25th April 2014 - 9:14

11 Likes

I'd like to see presumed liability encoded in law along with a minimum passing distance and I'd like letters sent to everybody with a driving license notifying them of these laws, because I am sick of all of the close passes.

A large minority of drivers need it to be made clear to them that their driving is not acceptable and they need to be reminded that they have a duty of care.

Just cycle along a road like Bayswater Rd next to Hyde park during rush hour to see what I mean, it is nightmarish.

posted by kie7077 [662 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:02

16 Likes

Userfriendly – Why shouldn’t I be on this board? I’m not trolling. I’m not anti-cyclist. I’m just raising a few constructive concerns about strict/presumed liability. Concerns that nobody yet has addressed, including:

• Where is the evidence that strict/presumed liability improves road safety and reduces accidents
• Why cyclist deaths per billion km are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria) – some of which presumably have some strict / presumed liability arrangements in place
• Which EU countries apply strict/presumed liability in cases where the cyclist is a fit adult
• Whether it is acceptable for Cycle Law Scotland to pretend that filtering is acceptable in any circumstances.

I can quite honestly say I have tried to debate fairly and constructively. To date your offerings are an infantile remark and an accusation of trolling. So don’t you dare throw criticisms in my direction.

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
25th April 2014 - 19:06

11 Likes

rollotommasi: to answer a couple of your points:

Quote:
Why cyclist deaths per billion km are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria) – some of which presumably have some strict / presumed liability arrangements in place
• Which EU countries apply strict/presumed liability in cases where the cyclist is a fit adult

1) Because in the UK there are FAR fewer km ridden than in Spain, France etc. Simple law of averages says that the fewer people riding, the fewer accidents there are going to be.

2) There are 4 countries without Presumed Liability: Malta, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria...and us. All other 22 member states of the EU have Presumed Liability.

Not really sure where the filtering argument comes into this??

Quote:
Whether it is acceptable for Cycle Law Scotland to pretend that filtering is acceptable in any circumstances.

It's perfectly legal - there might be times when it is not advisable but it remains legal.

I think part of the problem whenever presumed liability crops up is this notion that cyclists (or pedestrians) are suddenly going to start hurling themselves under cars and suing everyone. That is patently utter bollocks. A lot of it is down to misrepresentation of the argument, bringing emotive words and phrases like "guilt" and "blame". I'd urge everyone to read this:
http://www.happycyclist.org/?p=429
and there are numerous other articles out there from a variety of sources which a quick Google will bring up.

posted by crazy-legs [623 posts]
25th April 2014 - 20:05

9 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
rollotommasi: to answer a couple of your points:

Quote:
Why cyclist deaths per billion km are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria) – some of which presumably have some strict / presumed liability arrangements in place
• Which EU countries apply strict/presumed liability in cases where the cyclist is a fit adult

1) Because in the UK there are FAR fewer km ridden than in Spain, France etc. Simple law of averages says that the fewer people riding, the fewer accidents there are going to be.

2) There are 4 countries without Presumed Liability: Malta, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria...and us. All other 22 member states of the EU have Presumed Liability.

Not really sure where the filtering argument comes into this??

Quote:
Whether it is acceptable for Cycle Law Scotland to pretend that filtering is acceptable in any circumstances.

It's perfectly legal - there might be times when it is not advisable but it remains legal.

I think part of the problem whenever presumed liability crops up is this notion that cyclists (or pedestrians) are suddenly going to start hurling themselves under cars and suing everyone. That is patently utter bollocks. A lot of it is down to misrepresentation of the argument, bringing emotive words and phrases like "guilt" and "blame". I'd urge everyone to read this:
http://www.happycyclist.org/?p=429
and there are numerous other articles out there from a variety of sources which a quick Google will bring up.

Hate to be a pedant. The Republic of Ireland is the 4th country. Northern Ireland comes under the UK jurisdiction.

Recently had an argument with a colleague about strict/presumed liability. They couldn't even accept that their insurance company already operated presumed liability for whenever he shunted another vehicle. The retort was that scenario was different to driving over a cyclist or pedestrian.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1117 posts]
25th April 2014 - 20:56

4 Likes

I think presumed liability works well in the places that have it, but I don't think it's possible to offer definitive proof that it improves road safety.

It probably does, but to gather definitive proof, you would need a country that has implemented it as an isolated solution, a single legislative "magic bullet", while not changing anything else. No other changes in legislation, infrastructure, population density, the modal split between different transport modes, driving test regimes, road safety enforcement culture, road safety politics - just the introduction of presumed liability.

I think presumed liability is worth implementing because it makes life easier for people who have been victims of accidents. But to prevent accidents and try and elicit more considerate behaviour on the roads, I think other laws could be tweaked.

My favourite laws from Germany:
1. The first sentence in German traffic law, which states that road users must always proceed cautiously and considerately. The rest of the traffic code just expands on that and fleshes it out a bit.

2. Turning drivers give way to pedestrians crossing side roads in Germany, regardless of whether the pedestrians are already crossing (if so, UK drivers would also give way) or only thinking about crossing. Result: drivers are taught to hesitate slightly and shoulder check (not just mirror check) before making turns - pedestrians and cyclists are safer as a result.

The strict liability provisions - the fact that a driver who hits a child or an elderly person is quite likely to be held liable because they should have expected the victim to move erratically and slowed down or been more careful - are really just an extension to the general principle that one should drive according to the conditions. That's enshrined in law, but it's also something that seems to be taught well and be fairly firmly embedded in the culture.

There is a fairly strong sense of collective responsibility towards vulnerable road users, but it's hard to say whether it's fuelled more by the presumed liability rules or by the sheer liklihood of encountering plenty of vulnerable road users. The number of children in Germany that get chauffered to school is higher than it would ideally be, but still fairly limited - by and large, children make their own way to school. So people know when they get into their cars that they may well encounter children that are still learning road sense, and behave accordingly. At night, most drivers speed up quite a bit and generally drive less cautiously - the strict liabilty rules apply just as much as by day, but the possibility of encountering a child is much lower. Ultimately behaviour is probably driven more by perceived risk than by rules, so I am sceptical about attempts to elicit behavioural change by changing the rules.

posted by bambergbike [88 posts]
25th April 2014 - 21:42

10 Likes

Crazylegs: In answer to your points:

1. You’re misinterpreting the statistics. The figures I gave already take account of the extent of cycling in different countries. As I have explained, cyclist deaths PER BILLION KM are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria). I ask again - where is the evidence that strict/presumed liability improves road safety and reduces accidents?

2. You’re not answering my question. Which countries apply strict/presumed liability WHERE THE CYCLIST IS A FIT ADULT?

3. It’s not an excuse that the Highway Code is not law. Cyclists rightly expect motorists to apply a standard of driving which is far higher than is necessary to avoid criminal conviction. Why do you consider it alright for cyclists to ride in whatever way they want, provided it’s not expressly forbidden by law?

posted by rollotommasi [6 posts]
25th April 2014 - 22:27

16 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:

Userfriendly – Why shouldn’t I be on this board? I’m not trolling. I’m not anti-cyclist.

Stuff the victim act, mate. You quite obviously created an account on this website for the purpose of commenting on this thread, which can clearly be seen by looking at two things: your registration date and the fact that so far you have commented on this thread only. You also ignore the elaborate explanations already given to you by other users, and your "few constructive concerns" reek like you're pulling them out of your arse.

rollotommasi wrote:

• Where is the evidence that strict/presumed liability improves road safety and reduces accidents

archive.etsc.eu/documents/BIKE_PAL_Safety_Ranking.pdf wrote:

Between 2001 and 2010, all the EU countries except Romania saw a reduction in the number of cyclists killed. Slovakia holds the lead in average annual percentage reduction with a 17% year-to-year drop in the number of cyclist deaths. Lithuania, Latvia and Finland follow closely with average annual reductions of 13.1%, 11.0% and 10.9% respectively. Poland, Hungary, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, France and Spain have all achieved better yearly reductions than the 5.1% EU average

Note that the majority of the leaders in this statistic are fairly new EU members, who all have introduced presumed liability rather recently. The obvious result is that their numbers of cyclist deaths show the largest decline.

The countries with the smallest decline on the other end of that statistic are of two kinds: the first kind doesn't have much decline because their numbers were already much lower than the EU average, the Netherlands being a prominent example, or Denmark. The other kind doesn't have much decline because there isn't a frigging thing being done to reduce those numbers. Hint: we're living in one such country.

rollotommasi wrote:

• Why cyclist deaths per billion km are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria) – some of which presumably have some strict / presumed liability arrangements in place

Where do you get that information from? It doesn't jive at all with the information publicly available. If you bring this into a conversation you must back it up. You haven't. Causing a slight suspicion in me that you're just talking shite.

archive.etsc.eu/documents/BIKE_PAL_Safety_Ranking.pdf wrote:

there are only 3 EU countries where the number of kilometres travelled by cycle is systematically recorded: Denmark, the Netherlands and Great Britain

Yet you claim to have knowledge about those numbers for the countries of Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria. How strange! Three of which are listed by the ETSC as actually making remarkable progress, something that goes completely against your "point".

Want to try this again? This time with a bit more effort mayhaps?

rollotommasi wrote:

• Which EU countries apply strict/presumed liability in cases where the cyclist is a fit adult

All of them except the UK, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and Romania. This information is also publicly available. If you truly had an interest in debating this subject you would probably know this. The fact that you don't is, well, telling ... isn't it?

Of these five countries, only Ireland is a statistical outlier. Romania is especially bad. And if you actually did any cycling yourself, not on trails somewhere but on the road, you would know first hand the road culture in the UK and how cyclists are treated here all too often. You clearly don't.

rollotommasi wrote:

• Whether it is acceptable for Cycle Law Scotland to pretend that filtering is acceptable in any circumstances.

Already answered by someone else above.

rollotommasi wrote:

I can quite honestly say I have tried to debate fairly and constructively.

Oh, you can say that. And I can bloody well not believe you. Quite honestly.

rollotommasi wrote:

To date your offerings are an infantile remark and an accusation of trolling.

My 'infantile remark' was a subtle reference to the insultingly ridiculous "punishments" handed out to irresponsible people who kill, injure or "merely" bully/intimidate other people using their cars. Too subtle for you, evidently. Not my bloody fault.

rollotommasi wrote:

So don’t you dare throw criticisms in my direction.

Up yours.

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posted by userfriendly [410 posts]
25th April 2014 - 23:11

10 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:
Crazylegs: In answer to your points:

1. You’re misinterpreting the statistics. The figures I gave already take account of the extent of cycling in different countries. As I have explained, cyclist deaths PER BILLION KM are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria). I ask again - where is the evidence that strict/presumed liability improves road safety and reduces accidents?

2. You’re not answering my question. Which countries apply strict/presumed liability WHERE THE CYCLIST IS A FIT ADULT?

3. It’s not an excuse that the Highway Code is not law. Cyclists rightly expect motorists to apply a standard of driving which is far higher than is necessary to avoid criminal conviction. Why do you consider it alright for cyclists to ride in whatever way they want, provided it’s not expressly forbidden by law?

1) Fair point about the per billion km bit. userfriendly also makes good point too though with the facts quoted.

2) Why should anyone answer that contrived question, fit adults should be treated the same as others in law and statistics and surveys would reflect that.

3) You must be trolling to come onto a cycling forum and suggest that cyclists shouldn't filter. Filtering can be done safely and filtering is not were the vast majority of accidents happen. Coming on to a cycling site and saying that cyclists shouldn't filter is akin to going on to a top-gear forum and saying that all drivers should drive everywhere in cities at 20mph regardless of the speed limits. Filtering is both perfectly legal and acceptable.

Of course cyclists shouldn't filter down the left of a left turning vehicle and if the vehicle indicates then they can avoid risking a collision - so where is the problem.

Just because you don't like filtering doesn't mean it's wrong. I don't like boxing, I think constantly hitting a persons head, bashing their brain about in their skull is stupid but I can understand why people like it and am sensible enough to realise that sometimes you should simply accept others opinions and let it be.

posted by kie7077 [662 posts]
26th April 2014 - 9:04

6 Likes

'Filter' if you wish, just have somewhere to go if you if the vehicle decides to turn left.....I.e no kerbside fencing or only where you are confident of exiting the blind spot before the vehicle starts to move.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [806 posts]
26th April 2014 - 9:17

8 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:
How can placing almost all of the responsibility for road safety on only some road users possibly be better for safety than placing responsibility on ALL users?

This argument is a false choice.

Presumed liability does not remove responsibility from any road user: It emphasises that the vehicle/road user capable of the greater harm has a greater responsibility.

Disingenious debating helps exactly nobody.

posted by jacknorell [871 posts]
26th April 2014 - 11:16

6 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:
Fluffy_Mike – if you’re so keen on strict / presumed liability, perhaps you can show me actual evidence that it improves road safety. I’ve actually tried quite hard to get clarification of which EU countries apply strict / presumed liability where the cyclist is an adult, and struggled.

I wonder why you've struggled. Is it because:

1 - The laws do not specify whether it's applied to adults or juveniles (and thus applies to everyone)? Or;
2 - The laws in some countries do specifically exclude fit adults (this seems overly complicated to me, but wouldn't be surprised...)?

My assumption is that it's a blanket rule, especially as it only shifts the presumed financial liability, not the criminal one.

posted by jacknorell [871 posts]
26th April 2014 - 11:20

3 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:
userfriendly wrote:

Must be nice living on fantasy island. You should write more often, over here in the UK it's rather bleak sometimes.

Here's a tip for you. Why don't you try answering questions put, instead of relying on a couple of smart-Alec comments?

Rollotommasi, your questions do mainly seem designed to move the discussion away from road safety and how it may improve in the UK. In other words, they detract from the discussion, and do not merit responses.

posted by jacknorell [871 posts]
26th April 2014 - 11:22

3 Likes

rollotommasi wrote:
1. You’re misinterpreting the statistics. The figures I gave already take account of the extent of cycling in different countries. As I have explained, cyclist deaths PER BILLION KM are lower in the UK than in many EU countries (e.g. Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria).

Reliable source please?

posted by jacknorell [871 posts]
26th April 2014 - 11:28

7 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
rollotommasi wrote:
How can placing almost all of the responsibility for road safety on only some road users possibly be better for safety than placing responsibility on ALL users?

This argument is a false choice.

Presumed liability does not remove responsibility from any road user: It emphasises that the vehicle/road user capable of the greater harm has a greater responsibility.

Disingenious debating helps exactly nobody.

After having followed the debate over almost 48 entries! - which highlights how much the issue is central to a cyclist's safety - it seems the devil's advocates, who are always useful - no: necessary - in such debates, could not produce any convincing arguments for NOT introducing presumed liability. Jacknorell resumes it concisely.

I disagree with his last sentence, most opponents filed arguments which seemed important to them, they were effectively proven wrong. Good of them to post their views online, may the debate have changed their views!

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [92 posts]
27th April 2014 - 18:16

3 Likes