Motorists should automatically be blamed for collisions with cyclists unless it can be proved that the rider is at fault, according to Cambridge’s MP.
Julian Huppert argues a law of ‘proportionate liability’, assuming that the larger vehicle and less vulnerable road user should be responsible for a crash, would offer cyclists greater protection and stop drivers claiming they hadn’t seen bikes.Fantastic idea, I'm sure you’ll agree. We must send the owner of this van the bill immediately!
Funny that. When I pass a wagon on the motorway mu concentration greatly increases.
It's big and it could cause me a lot of pain, so I watch out while I'm passing it.
Under this pants suggestion I could just wizz past, cut in, and if anything goes wrong, just blame the bigger guy from my hospital bed.
Conclusive evidence then, that a Doctorate doesn't bestow Common Sense on an individual.
"unless it can be proved that the rider is at fault"
Since it can be proved in this case that it was the rider's fault (the van was parked), the proposal works fine.
You would need to find another example if you want to show that this proposal is no good.
Joe Public---Who has ever claimed that a doctorate (small 'd') bestows common sense (small 'c', small 's')? Oh, and evidence is contributory, only proof can be conclusive.
"Motorists should automatically be blamed for collisions with cyclists..."
The commonsense proposal is one of 'presumed liability' which is not quite the same, Julia. Overall cycling risks could be significantly reduced when the minds of motorists...and their Insurers, are sharply focused in this fashion.
As someone who did a lot of pedal biking and motor biking long ago I like to keep watch for these road users. Sadly, there seem to be a proportion of careless, stupid and inconsiderate users just as among motor drivers.
It is not the mode of transport that is the problem but, the person behind the wheel or handlebars.
I speak as both a cyclist and a motorist.
Reading the News article I can only assume that he was not wearing a helmet. I can speak from personal experience that a helmet can be a life saver. But if a motorist is going to get you, their is little that you can do if they feel they can get away with it.
Similarly, I feel that too many cyclists do not take personal road safety seriously. No lights, no helmet or high-vis'is asking for trouble and for an MP to be calling for this without taking into account individual responsibility is very worrying.
MP's have caused enough misery without sticking their ill-informed noses into other areas of life such as this.
Another way to look at this is to say that if the van hadn't been parked there the cyclist wouldn't have crashed into it, the accident was therefore caused by the van driver because he left his vehicle there.
I believe this line of thinking used to be used (and maybe still is) in one of the Gulf States, where it was decreed that if a foreigner was involved in an accident it was automatically the fault of the foreigner, because the accident would not have happened if he hadn't been there.
This does have a ring of the LibDems to it, doesn't it ?
Applying identical logic, I wonder if Dr Huppert would also "Presume cyclists are to blame for crashes with pedestrians" ?
Thank you so much for the grammar lesson.
Perhaps I should have used the phrase 'incontrovertible evidence'.
yes, this is not "proportionate liabilty" but "strict liability" or "presumed liability" (as MTG says).
Now, in law generally, "strict liabilty" only applies to fairly minor offences, like not paying your car tax on time, parking on a yellow line etc, where the fine is small and it's a ticking off more than anything.
"Strict liability" cannot possible be made to stick in car vs cyclist accidents, maybe the actual harm is minor (bike has to brake suddenly) or major (cyclist killed), it might be the cyclist's fault.
I agree with the general idea of reversing the burden of proof in cases of car v human (to force drivers to be more careful, even if pedestrians and cyclists are idiots and arseholes, so what), but it's all a bit of a minefield, it goes against "innocent until proven guilty" and so on.
Further research shows that:-
"Conclusive evidence is evidence which no party is allowed to contradict"
So your snide comment "Oh, and evidence is contributory, only proof can be conclusive." is wrong.
@ Joe Public
The mask (sorry, avatar) slips to furnish a glimpse of the deity (or person) not overly fond of Close Encounters with Academics of the Cycling Kind?
Now hang on a cotton picking moment here - IIRC, UK Transport Research Labratory did an analysis of "unhappy mechanical conflicts" between motorised vehicles and pedestrians - the pedestrians carelessness / stupidity was attributed 85% + of the blame - note that word "blame" - they caused the problem!
Julian Huppert is clearly a twerp of the first rank and a blind one to boot.
I recently spent a day in Cambridge and came close to being mown down by speeding cyclists several times. My relatives who live there said that cyclists whacking pedestrians is a regular occurrence.
Both cyclists and pedestrians insist on being out in public with iPod "buds" etc jammed in their ears and having severely limited situational awareness. Lighting on bicycles isn't enforced - I've nearly flattened a matt black hoody ninja on an A road - on a matt black BMX at night with no lights - and I'm to blame?
On my day in Cambridge I saw numerous dangerous moves made by cyclists with complete disregard for traffic.
And finally jaywalking - it should be made a misdemeanor capable of a £100 on the spot fine.
Naturally the logic of this marvellous idea can be extended so that if the householder is bigger than the burglar, and if the mugger's target is bigger than he(or she)is...
I think a better idea is to educate the majority of cyclists that have never read the Highway Code, much less follow any of its guidance or even realise that it applies to them too.
I must confess I have never heard of Julian Huppert - so I googled him. Raised and educated in Cambridge, Research Scientist by profession, bearded, bespectacled and a Lib Dem ...
The case rests M'Lud
In my little town we have two gold posboxs due to paralympic cyclists.
Cycling is big round here and the roads are lethal with lycra-clad kamikazes.
So what is the score if one of these hits a pedestrian?
So what is the score if one of these hits a pedestrian?
Pedestrian's fault, obviously.
Stepped out into the road/pavement knowing full well the cyclist would be unable to stop in time (cyclist's brief holds up a photo of a supertanker to illustrate point). Pedestrian ordered to pay costs and bound over for 6 months.
"It's big and it could cause me a lot of pain, so I watch out while I'm passing it."
Nah, you're doin' it wrong!
You need to conjure up a Shield Of Supercilious Pomposity. It'll stop anything!
"Since it can be proved in this case that it was the rider's fault (the van was parked), the proposal works fine."
I'm not as trusting as you, clearly... ;)
"Overall cycling risks could be significantly reduced when the minds of motorists...and their Insurers, are sharply focused in this fashion."
While the cyclists carry on zipping through red lights, wrapped in their Cloak of Self-Righteousness?
I think not...
"It is not the mode of transport that is the problem but, the person behind the wheel or handlebars."
Normally I'd agree. But I just can't see people who would zip through red lights or ride on pavements on a bike doing the same in their cars. Can you?
"This does have a ring of the LibDems to it, doesn't it ?"
"...it's all a bit of a minefield, it goes against "innocent until proven guilty" and so on."
Did you think double jeopardy would be the only thing they'd dismantle, once they got the taste for it?
"Both cyclists and pedestrians insist on being out in public with iPod "buds" etc jammed in their ears and having severely limited situational awareness."
Yup! Seen that a lot myself.
Amazing how many young mothers with buggies seem more intent on the smartphone in their hand than where they might be steering the fruit of their loins too..
"So what is the score if one of these hits a pedestrian?"
I suspect John Pickworth has the answer..
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