Proposed legal change to protect Scottish cyclists

Organisation in Scotland is calling for changes to civil law to divert presumed liability away from vulnerable road users involved in collisions.

Proposed civil law change could improve outcome for Scottish cyclistsIn a move to provide cyclists with greater protection under liability law, the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) is changed its own policy and is calling for a change in Scottish law that will divert presumed liability in traffic collisions away from the cyclist and onto motorised transport.

Such a change would bring Scotland in line with much of the rest of Europe in providing such legal emphasis in helping vulnerable users in the aftermath of incidents on the road, according to campaign organisation Road Share. The move is also expected to improve road safety for cyclists, a group of road users which is the only one suffering worsening safety statistics on Scotland’s roads. In the ten year period up to 2014, serious injuries amongst cyclists in the region increased by 16%.

According to STUC, cycling is an important aspect of improving health and wellbeing in Scotland as well as a better environment through a reduction in carbon emissions.

Commenting on the way in which the proposed changes are able to improve road safety, STUC’s Deputy General Secretary, Dave Moxham said, “By introducing presumed liability for vulnerable road users to Scots Civil Law we can begin to affect how people view their responsibilities as road users. It is embedded in the cycling cultures in Europe, where cycling is far safer. It seems strangely stubborn of our Government to continue to ignore this simple and sensible course of action.”

STUC wants to encourage the uptake of cycling and is therefore supporting the presumed liability initiative as part of its policy.

Road Share’s founder, Brenda Mitchell is also in support of changes in legal attitudes towards vulnerable road users, saying: “When it comes to road traffic collisions where a cyclist is hit by a car, we have an archaic system where the odds are frequently stacked against the vulnerable and receiving compensation quickly and fairly in many cases is impossible without resort to litigation which adds to the distress of those who have been injured through no fault of their own.”

Describing the existing approach as archaic and inherently unjust, Road Share believes that the introduction of presumed liability in favour of the vulnerable would rectify this.

“We think it is right for Scotland to change its Civil Law to respect and protect the vulnerable in society by moving to a system of presuming liability to support cyclists and pedestrians injured in road traffic collisions,” Mitchell concluded,

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Legal and Insurance

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