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Road safety proposal branded draconian by former policeman

STV: Road safety proposal branded “draconian” by former policeman

A new Government policy proposes punishing motorists for accidents involving cyclists, regardless who is to blame.

21 January 2010 17:14 PM

The Scottish Government are considering plans to make motorists responsible for any accident involving cyclists, regardless of who is to blame. The measure aims to encourage more people to get on their bike, but car drivers are furious at the possibility that they could be punished for an accident that is not their fault.

The policy has been adopted in Germany and Holland where campaigners say it has had a great influence in improving attitudes towards cyclists. However, will Scottish drivers be willing to bear the brunt?

Al Fraser, a former policeman and instructor at the Knockhill Centre for Driving Excellence, is vehemently opposed to the issue, arguing that it is a “draconian” method.

“You do see bad driving and bad cycling, but this potential measure by the government is a bit draconian. We all should be responsible for our own actions and I think that it has got to be taken on its own merits.

“A simple scenario could be that I’m driving in my car or sitting in a line of traffic, stopped and a cyclist hits me, then I’m at fault.”

Cyclist Richard MacPherson, who was recently hit by a car, admits that there are some bad cyclists out there who give the rest a bad name, but argues that cyclists will always come out worse in a collision with a car.

“I’m the person that gets most annoyed when I see a cyclist jump a red light, but we are all well aware that in a collision with a car, never is a car driver worse injured than a cyclist. The cyclist is always going to come off worse,” said MacPherson.

In such a collision the driver is covered by insurance while the cyclist, if he has none, has to pay out of his pocket. However, MacPherson opposes the possibility of compulsory insurance for cyclists.

“No, because not everybody cycles everyday or is into it as much as myself,” he said.

“I think you need to have the option there that if you have not cycled for ten years just to take the bike, or if your car won’t start and you want to take the bike out the shed and cycle that day.

“If you don’t have the insurance, you wouldn’t have that option to do so.”

As for going green and encouraging more people to get on their bike, MacPherson added: “Unless it is safer on the roads, there are not a lot of people that are going to take it up.”

Last updated: 21 January 2010, 17:12