Progress made in making our roads safer for cyclists

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PEEBLES lawyer Brenda Mitchell, of specialists, Cycle Law Scotland, is celebrating progress on stricter liability in accidents involving cyclists.

The campaign founder last month welcomed charity Scottish Cycling, with its 12,000 members and 150 clubs, to the campaign, saying: “Receiving the support of Scottish Cycling is a huge boost.”

The Cycle Law Scotland campaign wants stricter liability so that the motorist would be presumed liable in a civil law claim against them for injury, damage or loss if involved in a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian. It would still be open to the motorist to allege fault on the part of the vulnerable road user. The same would apply to cyclists involved in collisions with pedestrians.

Last week, the campaign celebrated nearly 5,300 signatures to an online petition for a Members Bill on the issue.

And a Scottish Government debate on stricter liability at the end of last month became, at one hour 20 minutes, the longest members’ debate ever held at Holyrood.

Cyclist and Borders MSP John Lamont told colleagues then: “In virtually every collision between a car and vulnerable road user, it will be the pedestrian or the cyclist who is injured. It is therefore reasonable to place a greater burden of proof on the motorist.

“I fail to see how anyone who accepts that cyclists have an equal right to be on our roads cannot support the introduction of legal safeguards that address the imbalance.”

Campaigner Mitchell said latest Transport Scotland figures showed road deaths being reduced, but the number of cyclists injured is rising.

She added: “By introducing stricter liability laws, in line with our European neighbours, there’s a strong possibility we will eventually see this worrying trend reverse.”

Scottish Cycling’s chief executive Craig Burn said the charity backed stricter liability “as part of a package of measures needed to improve road safety for all.”

He added: “We must all take an increased share of responsibility for ourselves on the roads, whatever vehicle we use.”