Welcome opportunity to debate cycling concerns

Sarah at the 2013 Pedal on Parliament event

Last week I participated in a Member’s Debate on potential measures to protect vulnerable road users.

So called strict liability would change the onus of proof by creating a hierarchy for road users.

For example where an accident involves a driver and a cyclist, it would be presumed that the driver was at fault unless they can show that this is not the case.

Similarly, in cases involving cyclists and pedestrians, the cyclist would be presumed liable.

The views I have heard on this issue have been polarised between those concerned about the safety of cyclists and those who believe it unfairly persecutes drivers. If these proposals

Ultimately, all road users have responsibility for road safety and any proposal should be measured not in terms of the compensation awarded but by how it can encourage positive behaviour amongst all road users.

At this stage, the debate was a useful forum to discuss the issues.  I used my speech to call for evidence to be presented which considers issues like insurance and for an analysis of how similar proposals have been introduced in other countries.

Such analysis is important if we are to make an informed choice on whether strict liability would be an appropriate measure.

Concerns over safety remain a major barrier to increased uptake of cycling, particularly in busy cities like Edinburgh.

If we are serious about encouraging people out of their cars and on to the saddle we must also see sustained investment in dedicated cycle routes and facilities and more ‘20s Plenty’ initiatives to reduce speeds on busy local roads.