The pros and cons of introducing presumed liability to protect vulnerable road users are to be researched by the government.
Presumed liability makes motorists financially liable for collisions with pedestrians or cyclists. Only when the pedestrian or cyclist is proved to be negligent does the driver avoid paying compensation through their insurance. The principle recognises that the drivers of faster, heavier vehicles have a duty of care, and that if a pedestrian or cyclist is injured in a road traffic collision, injuries or shock may make it difficult for them to accurately recollect the event.
At the moment, there are only four other countries in Europe that have yet to introduce the concept of presumed liability to their legal systems: Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Ireland.
According to the campaign group Roadshare, “Presumed liability in civil law is the proper approach for a mature, socially conscious nation as it addresses the unacceptable human cost of the current system. Under presumed liability, injured vulnerable road users are properly and promptly cared for and not forced to fight for compensation.”
At present, motor insurers routinely argue for reductions in compensation to vulnerable road users injured in road traffic collisions, even in the face of evidence that their customers are at fault.
Even cities in the home of the car are making law to protect cyclists. Los Angeles city council is one of a number of American cities to being in new laws to protect cyclists against harassment by motorists. Such laws discourage dangerous behaviour toward cyclists and provide another tool with which to prosecute offending drivers.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association said: “Presumed liability is not a panacea, but if Britain is serious about promoting cycling then it’s vital we fall in line with the majority of other European countries.”
Ethical cycle insurance
Check your small print for so-called ‘new-for-old’ replacement – many insurers use the term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, they devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it.
With ETA cycle insurance, however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future. No wonder The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be Britain’s most ethical insurance company.