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Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes (UK)

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by Farab, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. More lunacy from PC headquarters (UK) that will hopefully not find its way down here (Oz & NZ). Basically they want a law to make the most powerfull vehicle responsible in an accident, regardless of actual fault:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6841326.ece

    From The Sunday Times
    September 20, 2009
    Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes
    Ministers are considering a far-reaching change in the law in a bid to promote greener transport

    MINISTERS are considering making motorists legally responsible for accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians, even if they are not at fault.

    Government advisers are pushing for changes in the civil law that will make the most powerful vehicle involved in a collision automatically liable for insurance and compensation purposes.

    The move, intended to encourage greater take-up of environmentally friendly modes of transport, is likely to anger some drivers, many of whom already perceive themselves to be the victims of moneyspinning speed cameras and overzealous traffic wardens.

    Many will argue that it is 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.

    However, policy-makers believe radical action is required to get people out of cars and onto bicycles or to walk more. Only 1%-2% of journeys are at present made by bike.

    Other proposals to promote greener — and healthier — transport include the imposition of blanket 20mph zones on residential streets.

    Supporters want such measures to be included in the government’s National Cycling Plan and Active Transport Strategy, due to be published soon.

    Phillip Darnton, chief executive of Cycling England, an agency funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) to promote cycling, said four key policy changes were needed. “I would like to see the legal onus placed on motorists when there are accidents; speed limits reduced to 20mph on suburban and residential roads; cycling taught to all schoolchildren; and cycling provision included in major planning applications,” said Darnton.

    Such proposals will be seen by some as part of a battle for control of Britain’s roads between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

    In London, where cycling has bucked the national trend and increased sharply, clashes are already common.

    Last week James Martin, the television celebrity chef, described in a newspaper his joy at running a group of cyclists off the road and into a hedge while test-driving a sports car. Martin was forced to apologise after thousands of angry cyclists protested.

    Matthew Parris, a columnist for The Times, was similarly forced to backtrack last year after suggesting that piano wire should be strung across roads to decapitate cyclists. Parris said he was joking, but statistics show that cyclists are actually among the most vulnerable road users, with 115 deaths last year alone.

    Last month Harry Wilmers, 25, a mental health support worker, was killed when his bicycle was hit by a lorry in Manchester. Wilmers was the boyfriend of Rebecca Stephenson, the daughter of Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner.

    The government is spending £100m on building cycle routes in 18 pilot towns. Yet motorists and residents are often infuriated at seeing swathes of road space, or the kerbs where they park their cars, turned into cycle lanes. Councils in York, Huddersfield and Cambridge, have all had to deal with anti-cycling protests.

    Last week lobbyists for cycling and walking groups met Jessica Matthew, the DfT official in charge of sustainable transport who is drafting the National Cycling Plan. Placing the onus of responsibility on motorists is perhaps the most controversial move under consideration.



    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.

    Similar policies — which would not extend to criminal law — have already been adopted by Germany and Holland, where transport campaigners say they have had a significant influence in changing attitudes towards cycling.

    Matthew, who has been briefing Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, also confirmed that ministers want to slash speed limits in urban areas.

    Her report is expected to recommend that councils should introduce 20mph zones in all residential streets and on other roads with high numbers of cyclists or pedestrians. This would include roads around schools, markets and shopping areas, as long as they are not major through routes.

    Edmund King, president of the AA, said it was wrong to see cyclists and motorists as separate and opposed groups. “Many cyclists are motorists and many motorists are cyclists,” he said.

    “Simple changes in the law that assume one party is in the wrong because of what they drive will not help harmony on the roads.”
     
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  2. Parked Hyabusa hit by Mini, rider charged with careless parking?

    I really hope this is April fools, it's a rather absurd law.
     
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  3. & if two cyclists crash? Put them on the dyno, right?

    Second stupidest thing I have read all day.
     
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  4. Sometimes I wonder what it's like to be British, but I've never been willing to spoon three quarters of my brain out to learn.
     
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  5. The way the proposal presents itself in the UK is absurd, but the proposal is actually the law in Copenhagen for collisions between road vehicles and cyclists.

    In Copenhagen, more than half of all traffic movements are by bicycle. Drivers there are very wary of and have great respect for cyclists - one because they're most likely one themselves, two because it could be a friend or relative they just knocked over and three, because they get reamed by the law even if it wasn't their fault.

    The rest of the world isn't like Copenhagen, nor does most of the world have it's cyclingcentric infrastructure. This makes the UK proposal pretty impractical...
     
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  6. According to the article its got more to do with "environmental" reasons:"intended to encourage greater take-up of environmentally friendly modes of transport". Nothing seems unreasonable for this lot if its done in the name of climate change, etc.
     
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  7. No, I couldn't possible see any form of insurance abuse that could arise from a law that always make one side the one legally at-fault, regardless of which vehicle was in the wrong. :rolleyes:

    Feel like taking 6 months off? A new bike too? Easy. Ride your bike into the side of a car parked at an intersection, and claim debilitating back pain for 6 months while living off the car driver's insurance policy, and have him replace your old set of wheels for a brand spanker!
     
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  8. It's currently a proposal nothing more.
    Let's all kick up a stink if it comes to fruition but I doubt it will in its current form, especially if there is a voter backlash which seems quite likely.
     
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  9. On the face of it, the compo thing sounds like a possibility... but I think the polly's would have suitable weasel words around it.
     
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  10. It's not that crazy - from what I gather they are only proposing that the presumption of blame would lie with the car in a car-cycle collision (I assume that the 'most power' thing was a convenient way of saying pedestrian > pushbike > motorised vehicle, not something to be taken literally). If the cyclist was performing an illegal manoeuvre, then they would still be at fault.
    I'm not a boat person, but I understand powered water craft must give way to sail boats and row boats. Can anyone clarify that comparison?
     
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  11. I think you need to read the article again, carefully. What you're proposing above is NOT what the article is stating at all.
     
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  12. Got about half way through before anger levels reached critical levels.. I cant finish this response without much swearing and monitor bashing, so I'll leave it be..
     
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  13. I think you'll find it is...

    I'm not sure I think it's a good idea although it would mean that if a car hit a Motorcycle then the driver would be at fault unless I was doing summat stupid...

    But at the end of the day it's only a discussion document...

    By the grue I think I do okay with my quarter of a brain... It's not the size it's what you do with it that matters...
     
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  14. which contradicts the second sentence:

    Ok, so which is it? Is the vehicle automatically liable (ie. meaning no considerations), or is it merely presumed liable (ie. there are considerations).

    It also uses the words presumption and automatically within the same sentence in your quotes above. The two words have two different meanings.

    Poor journalism here as it's presenting two different statements.
     
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  15. Awesome. can't wait till those laws arrive here. I need a new car, I can write it off into a lambo, he will get blamed AND cop the three points for neg driving. SWEEEET
     
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  16. It's very poor journalism. But it appears to have worked as it's taken what is merely a discussion document proposing what is already in place in much of Europe and has managed to get people 10,000 miles away all het up over it...

    I don't know for sure but as the existing laws overseas are based on presumption and it is mentioned more than once, I'd say the former.
     
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  17. The above quote reads to me like there is room to move if the cyclist is clearly in the wrong. Just as the 'presumption of innocence' concept present in many legal systems does not mean everyone is always innocent.

    I also think the pedestrian > cyclist > car part of my post is valid - not hayabusa vs mini or anything like that.

    However, this BBC article suggests that the driver would always wear the insurance liability regardless of criminal culpability, in which case I would agree with you that the suggestion is not a great one.

    In a way though, we already have that situation in Victoria. TAC insurance (paid for by motorists) covers cyclists that collide with cars even if the cyclist is at fault. The important distinctions are that the 'burden' is spread over all motorists, and it covers personal injury only.

    I should point out that I don't have a problem with the Victorian system (except in relation to PTW and protective clothing, but that's another thread!) - I can't imagine the portion of the annual cost paid by me amounts to more than a few cents if that, and I am covered if I'm riding my pushbike.
     
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  18. if the idea is to get drivers off the road and into greener transprt, then I respectfully suggest they sort the public transport system out. It's a ****ing disgrace outside of the major cities. Where I used to live we had two busses a day. that's two. one in the morning and one in the evening. no wonder nobody wants to get out of their cars when there is no practical alternative for the majority of the population
     
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  19. Your making me curious...

    I give in. What came first?
     
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  20. A Craft must give way to any craft who’s movement is restricted by mode of power (Or something along those lines)
    It means that because you can’t sail a boat directly into the wind and it takes time to perform a tack or jibe that boats who can go where they want have to give way.

    I will also point out that there is an other rule that says that any craft must give way to a craft that has it’s movement restricted by size.
    So sailing boats still have to give way to super-tankers (For example)
    Now the way I see it, if you hit a cyclist up the tail this would apply but if a bloody pedestrian can’t turn around on the spot then they should go back to kinder and learn to walk.
    Personally I believe that on water it has some merit, but in this scenario it’s bloody stupid (And I say this being a cyclist) People should be made to take responsibility for there actions. If a cyclist launches into traffic and gets cleaned up, then why should the car driver who was doing the right thing be considered responsible.
     
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