Scottish National Party members will debate a strict liability law at their party conference next week, which if passed could appear in a future election manifesto.
The wording of the motion is as follows:
“notes the significant rise in cycling as a mass-participation sport and means of travel in recent years, and greatly welcomes the physical and mental health, as well as the environmental benefits, that this brings. Conference recognises the dangers inherent in cycling on busy roads, however, and supports the Road Share campaign for stricter liability as a means of building greater mutual respect between road users.”
According to the legal campaign group Cycle Law: “A system of presumed liability would create a hierarchy of responsibility whereby motor vehicle drivers would be presumed liable for any loss, injury and damage caused to a cyclist involved in a collision.
“A cyclist would also be presumed liable for loss, injury and damage caused to a pedestrian in any collision thus ensuring fairness while protecting the vulnerable. “We all have responsibility for our safety on the road and respect of all road users for one another is vital.
“Presumed liability will help promote Scotland as a cycling-friendly nation and will build a culture of mutual respect on our roads.”
Set up by the Cycle Law founder, the campaigning charity 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.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.