Strict Liability for Cycling Claims
A ‘strict liability’ law would mean that motorists in civil proceedings were automatically assumed to be responsible for a collision that takes place between them and a cyclist or pedestrian.
The UK is currently only one of four countries in Europe who are yet to introduce the law.
It forces motorists to prove that they are not at fault, and should mean that compensation claims quicker are more straightforward when cyclists have been injured.
Motorists are assumed to be liable because of the responsibility that comes with driving a vehicle; they have a duty of care to more vulnerable road users. The hierarchal structure will reflect the vulnerability of road users, and protect those at the bottom who are more likely to be injured than the motorist in a collision.
The new law could be successful in improving safety and reducing the danger to cyclists, by changing driver behaviour and encouraging more careful driving.
Changes to the law soon are unlikely however, as there would be significant opposition. There were discussions in Scottish parliament in 2013 after Green MSP Alison Johnstone called for its implementation. She believed that it would contribute to a better culture for cyclists. Scotland’s Transport Minister Keith Brown did not support the idea however, and stated that he did not believe there to be sufficient evidence that the law would benefit cyclists.
Anthony McCarthy, Director Solicitor at Macks says, “Strict liability in accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians is an interesting idea but is most unlikely to ever become law in the UK. There would be widespread disapproval by motorists.”