Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reversing the burden of the proof would encourage cycling

Commuters cycle across Blackfriars BridgeI read today in The Times, an article sensationally titled Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes.

As usual, facts are quite different from the eye catching headline: it is only question to reverse the burden of the proof towards motorists for accidents involving cyclists. Which seems only fair as they don't have a metal body around them when travelling as opposed to those driving cosseted within two tonnes of metal

Such scheme would place the presumption of blame against whoever was driving the most powerful vehicle involved in an accident, so they or their insurers would be liable for costs or damages.

If a cyclist were hit by a car, the presumption of blame would fall on the driver, while a cyclist would automatically be blamed if he or she knocked down a pedestrian.
It's already the case in the Netherlands for instance, and it forces drivers to be more careful.

I already hear the voices saying that
...the risky behaviour of some cyclists — particularly those who jump red lights and ride the wrong way along one-way streets — that is to blame for a significant number of crashes.

This comment for me stems from people who never ride, as jumping a red light is often safer than risking being mowned by cars turning left or accelerating forward when the green light comes on. Some odd cyclist behaviours are also caused by the stupidity of those planning cycle lanes in the most bizarre fashion (read this great book for more: Crap Cycle Lanes)

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