Stricter Liability for Vulnerable Road Users


Scottish Cycling, the governing body for cycling in Scotland which boasts some 12,000 members and 150 clubs has joined the campaign which is working to introduce a stricter liability regime so that cyclists and other vulnerable road users who are involved in road traffic accidents are compensated fairly and quickly. Stricter liability establishes a hierarchical structure to identify responsibility in the event of a road traffic accident, bringing certainty to the legal process.

In addition, the number of signatures on the online petition for a Members Bill has now topped 5050.

These successes come as the Scottish Parliament prepares to hold a members debate on the issue of stricter liability this evening. (Tuesday 29th October).

Under stricter liability, 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. If the injured party is under 14, over 70 or disabled, then the driver or cyclist would be deemed liable with an opportunity open to them to establish part fault if the injured party did something dangerous or reckless thereby contributing to their own injury or loss.

Scottish Cycling is the governing body for cycling in Scotland and an integral part of British Cycling. It works to increase participation in cycling across all ages and abilities by providing services for individual cyclists, clubs, event organisers and by supporting coach education programmes, volunteering activities, and by working with local authority sport development teams.

Craig Burn, Chief Executive at Scottish Cycling, said: “Scottish Cycling is happy to back the campaign for stricter liability as part of a package of measures needed to improve road safety for all. It is our goal to promote and encourage the sport of cycling at all levels and we recognise safety plays a big part in successfully encouraging more people to take to two wheels. Therefore, we are keen to help in any way we can to improve conditions on the roads.”

“We share Road Share’s aims to increase awareness and ultimately improve the culture. We must all take an increased share of responsibility for ourselves on the roads whatever vehicle we use. This means wearing the appropriate clothing and safety gear as well as taking more care for those around us.”

The campaign, which is led by Cycle Law Scotland, has already secured cross-party support from Green, SNP, Conservative, Lib-Dem, Labour and Independent MSPs. It is now working towards introducing a Members’ Bill to the Scottish Parliament.

 Campaign founder, Brenda Mitchell, said: “I am delighted to be able to demonstrate the growing support for stricter liability on the same day as MSPs prepare to debate our proposals in Holyrood.Receiving the support of Scottish Cycling is a huge boost to our campaign as it’s members represent a significant portion of the cycling community. I welcome its backing and hope this will help encourage the Scottish Government to take a serious look at what we are proposing.

“As we’ve seen from the latest Transport Scotland figures, whilst road deaths are being reduced the number of cyclists injured is rising. By introducing stricter liability laws as part of package of measures and in line with our European neighbours, there’s a strong possibility we will eventually see this worrying trend reverse.”