Presumed liability for cyclists

(61 Posts)
cdtaylornats Tue 07-Jun-16 12:26:28

Mark Beaumont is asking for the Scottish Parliament to change road laws so that in a collision between cars and cyclists then car drivers are assumed to be liable.

I think that would be okay as long as cyclists on roads are licenced and insured and in a collision between cyclists and pedestrians then the cyclist is assumed to be liable.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 07-Jun-16 16:56:23

Whilst there are many many twats of drivers, there are twat cyclists so I don't think it's fair to assume that the driver is always at fault. Even when driver hits a pedestrian there is no automatic assumption that the driver is in the wrong is there?

DH was driving up a steep single track road towards a hill where lots of cyclists do mountain biking. As can be predicted, a car was coming down the hill as he was going up. He was already stopped but the car coming down was going fairly fast and had to brake fairly hard to get into the passing place. However a cyclist was pelting down so close to the car's backside that there was no way he was able to stop, he had to do a quick maneuver and come down the right side, narrowly missing DHs car too. So, had the cyclist bashed into the back of the downward car or into DH going up the hill (both of whom were stationary), the car would be liable under the proposed road law? I don't fucking think so, you shouldn't be travelling closer to the vehicle in front than you can safely stop. I wonder if he knows what his braking distance is?

Zampa Tue 07-Jun-16 17:05:40

There is assumed liability against drivers in Bangkok. Bangkok traffic is crazy but I felt safer cycling there than I've ever felt in the UK because of this.

In an accident between a cyclist and a driver, it's more than likely that the driver will walk away whilst the cyclist could be seriously injured or killed.

Assumed liability should always be on the more "lethal" mode of transport so I agree that a cyclist should be liable in an accident with a pedestrian.

Just think of a world where cyclists are over taken safely, ASLs remain car free and people look in their mirrors before turning left! Our children might be able to cycle to school! Commuters might abandon over priced and over crowded trains! Cycling utopia!

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 07-Jun-16 19:00:05

So, a bike crashes into a stationary vehicle and the car driver is liable? Fuck that.

So a car is also liable if someone jumps in front of it too given that the more lethal mode of transport is always to blame?

And if cyclists are to be held liable for accidents with pedestrians then they will need to have insurance.

What about if a pedestrian leaps out the way of a speeding car in front of a cyclist and gets hit and cyclist is badly injured too, that would be the cyclist liable?

It really can't be done by a blanket policy, it's just ridiculous.

I am perfectly happy to follow the road rules and be especially mindful of cyclists knowing their vulnerability but i am not taking responsibility for twats.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 07-Jun-16 19:02:07

I also don't know many people who commute by train for fun - it's miserable but necessary as the distances are too far to be cycling everyday unless you are Bradley Wiggins. Very few people do short journeys by train where I live anyway.

prettybird Tue 07-Jun-16 19:40:33

As I understand it, presumed liability doesn't mean that the cyclist is never Iiable: just (and I know this is the contentious bit) that the driver then has to prove that he/she wasn't at fault.

In the example given, of the cyclist that went into the car on a downhill, that would be relatively simple but then, I'm not a lawyer

Zampa Tue 07-Jun-16 19:46:05

Presumed liability wouldn't apply if the driver could prove they weren't at fault. It wouldn't be the case that the cyclist is always the innocent party. A cyclist couldn't run a red light, be knocked over by a car and then claim damages.

Also the liability would only be for civil claims not criminal prosecutions.

France introduced presumed liability and cycling deaths fell by 60%.

Personally, I think that if you're fit and healthy it's feasible to cycle any journey under 10 miles, bearing in mind luggage, children etc. This is under the average commuting distance.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 20:00:31

The majority of people I know that use the train are travelling between Edinburgh, Glasgow or from further north to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

I see what you mean about presumed but what about where there are no witnesses? It's going to be one person's view against another and a perfectly innocent party could be presumed liable with no evidence. Bikes would still need to have personal liability insurance which would be unworkable really, what if you only go out on your bike a couple of times a year?

I think it would be far easier just to "eliminate" twats - I'm happy with any form, shooting, lethal injection etc. I think that's fair.

Not all journeys of under 10 miles are commutable by bike either, even taking out luggage or dropping of children etc. If your normal under 10 mile commute involves the motorway then finding a route that isn't might lengthen your route to longer than is feasible.

I was briefly in a position to commute by bike but had to stop because I had children to collect and there was no way, even if I worked out how to get two toddlers home from nursery by bike (too heavy for a trailer), that I could get there in time without cutting my hours, which would have resulted in me needing a new contract and losing preserved benefits.

Zampa Tue 07-Jun-16 20:12:59

Cycling doesn't work for every journey. I can't commute by bike at the moment as I'm too slow and can't get home before nursery shuts! But I do think that if cycling was safer (and presumed liability sits alongside better infrastructure, cycle training etc.) more people may do those shorter journeys by bike.

With regards to liability insurance, most cyclists are already covered under their home or motoring insurance or through membership of cycling bodies.

prettybird Tue 07-Jun-16 21:28:24

At the moment, without presumed liability, if there is an accident without witnesses, the more likely injured - or even dead sad - party is likely to be the cyclist, given that the car is by far the more lethal weapon hmm.

I'm fortunate that despite commuting 3.1 miles each way for years, I never had an accident. I did however have on many occasions take avoiding action from the cars that cut straight across me (when I was on the main road, with a high viz jacket and a light even in daylight). I did on occasion seriously think about not braking and going into the side of these cars as I had right of way but even though I was in the right, I'd still be the one that came of worst in any contact hmm

My dad, who commuted further than me for many years (Bearsden/Milngavie into the centre of Glasgow) was knocked off his bike 3 times (none of them his fault) and hit from behind once but managed to stay upright once.

My mum was knocked off her bike once in a hit and run and has no memory of the accident: she was cycling down Ledcameroch Road and someone saw a car come out a drive way, knock her over and just drive off. although the cycling accident that ultimately killed her was just bad luck and no one else's fault sad

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 21:34:55

I'm not anti cyclist but I do enjoy a wet windy morning drive knowing my chances of meeting a cyclist are severely lessened.

Question for a cyclist, should cyclists be sneaking up on your left when you are waiting at a roundabout? My daily commute involves me joining onto a huge two lane roundabout which is taking traffic from a dual carriageway A road onto a Motorway and vice versa. There are also 3 other entry/exits. I come from one of the 3 entries, the one after the dual carriageway and before a 60 A road. I am either going onto the motorway which is straight over (in the morning) or onto the A road (in the afternoon), there are two lanes and I am in the left one meaning I can either go onto the A road or onto the inside lane of the Motorway depending on the time of day. It's extremely busy, you have to really be on your toes to get out and do 0-60 in no seconds flat!, hence you are concentrating and craning your neck to the right. I will always check my left mirror when I can smell a gap coming and then redirect my attention immediately to the right. Twice this week a bike has appeared at my side on the left as I've pulled away. I haven't gone anywhere near hitting him but once I had to stop with my nose sticking onto the roundabout and wait for the next gap.

So, is he allowed to come up my inside when it is clear that I will be concentrating to join the roundabout? I think a junction with lights is different as when they go green you have time to check more carefully for cyclists as you already have right of way so you are keeping a weather eye for idiots rather than trying to find a gap in the traffic if that makes sense?

dementedma Tue 07-Jun-16 21:37:10

Totally against this. Cyclists often create dangerous situations by ignoring red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, swerving unexpectedly and not able to keep up with traffic flow, causing bottle necks and jams. If they cause an accident, then they are liable.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 21:38:30

oh by the way, I changed my name during the thread in case you thought I didn't come back after my original post smile I'm not the OP.

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Tue 07-Jun-16 21:40:45

wankers. Legally yes I believe cycles are allowed to filter up the inside of traffic light that. Personally as a cyclist I don't as I believe it puts you in a vulnerable position, so I go in the middle of the lane approaching lights, junctions, roundabouts........but that pisses a fair number of car drivers off who shout abuse about "get over", etc. So many cyclists feel too intimidated to do it.

The presumed liability against motorists is the case in the Netherlands and works well over there.

museumum Tue 07-Jun-16 21:47:54

wankers in stationary traffic cyclists often choose to come up the left because if they take the centre of the lane and wait behind the queue then the cars that come behind either get really arsey when you inevitably hold them up, or they try to come round you or give you abuse for "blocking the road".
However it is very dangerous, particularly if the vehicle you end up inside is an hgv or bus.
It's an effect of our roads being badly designed for cycling. Better roads have a lane marked and also a "refuge" at the front of the queue of traffic. Not because cyclists just want to jump the queue but because being at the front is the best way to be seen.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 21:49:48

Wherethefuck I think lights is different as you have time to look for cyclists more since when the lights are green you have the right of way without the pressure of looking for a gap in traffic. Does the same rule apply to roundabouts? Most cyclists come off the road onto the pavement in order to completely avoid the roundabout which will be illegal but is safer for everyone. You are lucky if you get 2 pedestrians a day on the path as it's not really a pleasant walking route to anywhere.

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Tue 07-Jun-16 22:05:43

Yes, even at a roundabout filtering is legal. The onus is on the driver to make sure you can pull away safely. But I appreciate what you're saying that your attention is focused elsewhere.

Zampa Tue 07-Jun-16 22:09:15

If they cause an accident, then they are liable.

This would still be the case. Presumed liability didn't absolve cyclists of any responsibility. However, it's clear from the experience of other countries that presumed liability makes drivers more careful and accidents reduce.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 07-Jun-16 22:09:59

I countries where presumed liability is used, it causes no issues of unfairness to car drivers - it doesnt really affect the driver - it's for the insurance company to sort out.

AFAIK presumed liability also means that in a cyclist /pedestrian collision the cyclist is presumed at fault.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 22:14:46

I have to think that the cyclist must be aware of how fucking difficult it is to get away from that junction so he may be legal but he is a twat. <gavel>

I think the point is that he is turning left and it's quite a wide bit to join that road, so unless anyone is coming from my right and taking the corner tightly, he can sneak round onto the road really without waiting. The fact that he could be hit by me whether I am turning right or straight on is seemingly irrelevant as it would be my fault regardless of the fact that he has appeared out of nowhere while I am trying to judge if I can get out before an artic lorry doing 55 or 60 comes out the junction before me. Oh well sad

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 22:16:00

it doesnt really affect the driver - it's for the insurance company to sort out. of course it affects the driver, he may have increased premiums or get points on his licence (or worse). confused

Zampa Tue 07-Jun-16 22:26:20

I think presumed liability could actually solve your roundabout problem wankers.

If presumed liability existed, more cyclists would feel confident about cycling in a primary position as they would not be targets for abuse as they are now.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 07-Jun-16 22:31:27

I don't think it would affect it all Zampa - Cyclist doesn't want to wait in the queue like the rest of us. He also doesn't want to sit in the middle at the front either and have to wait on a gap that he can get into. He wants to do exactly what he is doing which is to sneak down the inside so he doesn't have to wait. changing the liability onus won't change that.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 07-Jun-16 22:31:45

of course it affects the driver, he may have increased premiums or get points on his licence (or worse).

Well yes, and rightly so - I meant the driver doesn't have to go to court, or be personally liable etc.

DebCee Tue 07-Jun-16 22:32:26

It is very noticeable cycling in France that the drivers that cut you up are often the Brits - the French are very respectful of cyclists. Some of that is that they have a cycling culture so drivers are more likely to have cycled themselves, but a lot of it is the assumed liability law.

The CTC have a campaign called SMIDSY because so many drivers defense, after they have knocked over a cyclist, is "sorry mate I didn't see you".

Drivers who know they are going to have to prove they didn't do anything stupid are less likely to do something stupid.

And yes, there are many annoying and irresponsible cyclists around, but they are far less likely to kill or seriously injure people than drivers:

In 2012, 1 pedestrian was killed by a cyclist and 78 were seriously injured. 60% of pedestrians injured by cyclists were at fault, having stepped into the road without looking.

In the same year, 253 pedestrians were killed by drivers and 4,426 were seriously injured.

Also in the same year , 118 cyclists were killed by drivers. Deaths to cyclists are the only kind of traffic incident to be steadily rising.

There are definitely some dreadful cyclists out there, but we car drivers do have to recognise that we are driving a potentially dangerous weapon and we need to give cyclists room and respect on the roads. That's what this legislation would be aiming to promote. I'd be all for it.

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