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Minimum legal passing distance also being considered

The Isle of Man is reportedly considering introducing presumed liability on its roads. IOM Today reports that the Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Bill, which is currently subject to consultation, could provide the foundation for new regulations.

Presumed liability sees a reversal of the burden of proof where there has been a collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist. Rather than the more vulnerable road user having to prove the incident was the driver’s fault, the onus is instead on the driver to prove that the cyclist (or pedestrian) caused the collision.

Phil Gawne, the minister in charge of the island’s roads, said: “The first thing is to get the bill through and then we hope to get some regulations drawn up. I hope to get something through by the summer, before the next election.”

While presumed liability would be Gawne’s favoured approach, he says the introduction of a minimum legal passing distance would be another option.

That is something campaigners have been pushing for on the island for some time now.

In August 2014, Kathryn Burge died at the scene after being hit from behind by Linda Thompson's Range Rover in Kirk Michael. Since then, her partner, Sean McLachlan, has been campaigning for new laws on minimum overtaking distances via the Safe Cycling IOM website.

Commenting on a recent hit and run involving two cyclists, McLachlan said:

“There is currently no comeback on drivers passing too close to cyclists, only if in doing so they caused an accident. This is the latest of four incidents that I know of where people have been knocked off their bicycles. The case for a minimum overtake distance is solid. Numerous countries around the world have adopted such laws. Safe Cycling IOM aims to get a minimum overtake law on the Isle of Man before there is another fatality.”

The Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Bill also contains proposals on increasing maximum speeding fines and reducing the drink drive limit.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

9 comments

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WolfieSmith [1381 posts] 1 year ago
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Great news. I hope the amendment passes and encourages it's wider adoption. Making the larger road user responsible unless they can prove otherwise is logical and reasonable. 

Of course it won't be accepted easily by some groups and parts of the press but the situation is getting worse. I've had two near misses today in the car with on coming traffic refusing to wait to pass parked cars. Some motorists have little regard for other drivers - let alone cyclists and that has to change. 

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Sanderstorm [34 posts] 1 year ago
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"The case for a minimum overtake distance is solid"

 

Is it? Show me the evidence. Sure it's nice in theory, but has it ever protected cyclists where it has been introduced?

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monty dog [463 posts] 1 year ago
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Problem on IOM is that many roads outside the towns effectively have unrestricted speed limits and some drivers treat it like a race track and appear to resent anyone on the road that prevents them from driving full-bore, particularly on the Mountain Road. Got 'buzzed' a few times cycling there a few years ago.

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efail [105 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

OK, I've got no 'evidence'. I do cycle very often in Spain. Many of the main roads near me have signs up showing the safe passing distance of 1.5m and quoting it as 'article 85.4'. On the whole many of the drivers are very good towards cyclists, and this includes the huge lorries that pass me. I was recently cycling near Tarragona, and was incredibly impressed with the standard of driving in relation to cyclists. Of course, you still get the occasional idiot, but I would like to think that as there is a law it helps, even if only a little.

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ianking [10 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Recently cycled in Andalucia. same experience as efail. Drivers almost universally courteous and careful to give the full 1.5 m space when overtaking.

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Initialised [322 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Sanderstorm wrote:

"The case for a minimum overtake distance is solid"

 

Is it? Show me the evidence. Sure it's nice in theory, but has it ever protected cyclists where it has been introduced?

If there's a minimum and a driver hits a cyclist whilst passing then the driver is presumed at fault as they must have breached the minimun distance. It has a similar effect to presumed liability.

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fatbeggaronabike [847 posts] 1 year ago
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I hope the presumed liability law/act gets passed on the IOM, Scotland were/are going to go for it don't know whats happened there. But if it happens on the island it might then "trickle down" to the rest of the UK.

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giff77 [1270 posts] 1 year ago
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fatbeggaronabike wrote:

I hope the presumed liability law/act gets passed on the IOM, Scotland were/are going to go for it don't know whats happened there. But if it happens on the island it might then "trickle down" to the rest of the UK.

Nah  it got booted into touch up here by Derek Brown who claimed that there was no evidence that it reduced casualties.   Meanwhile,  the current government are giving lip service to infrastructure as a means to reduce injury and fatalities of the vulnerable road user though this infrastructure seems to be more for the leisure and tourist rather than the urban and the monies given over are pittance to say the least.  They would rather widen roads and build bridges to encourage more motorised traffic.  Still, Cycle Law Scotland is still campaigning for presumed liability to be brought into Scottish Civil Law  

 

 

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rodmit [4 posts] 1 year ago
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Cycle Law Scotland and the Road Share Steering group are still campaigning to introduce presumed liability. The current Scottish Elections have provided an opportunity to further educate more Politicians as to why they should seriously consider changing the burden of proof from the vulnerable to the more powerful in the event of a road traffic collision involving non motorised vulnerable road users. The education and comunication process continues and they are slowly but surely making progress. 

It is good to see the IOM pushing forward. It looks like they have the right opportunity with a new bill being passed and can seize the moment. Good luck to them.