CYCLISTS are calling for a new law that assumes drivers are at fault in accidents involving cars and bikes.


Cycling adventurer Mark Beaumont handed in a petition to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament for the change campaigners believe will reduce accidents and deaths.

The law of presumed liability exists in most European countries and according to the Road Share campaign is an incentive to drives to take more care.

The campaign has more than 8000 signatures on a petition which will be handed to the Transport Minister Derek Mackay by MSPs together with the Road Share report which argues presumed liability leads to fewer accidents.

The campaigners said Scotland is trailing other countries in promoting walking and cycling and safety on the roads is one reason why.

It said walking and cycling are becoming less safe that travelling by car.

It quotes research showing the risk of walking a mile compared with driving a mile has grown by 37% over ten years to make it 19 times more dangerous to walk than take the car.

Alison Johnstone Green, MSP, said: "This proposal would change the culture on our roads to protect the most vulnerable. Most progressive countries in Europe have a law like this and Scotland has a chance to take a lead in the UK. The Scottish Government mustn't ignore this detailed research at a time when they want far more of us to walk and cycle."

Brenda Mitchell, the founder of Road share is a personal injury lawyer with Cycle Law Scotland.

She said: "Motorised vehicles bring the most harm to a collision involving a cyclist or walker yet this is not reflected in our current road traffic liability laws.

"The law expects those injured or the families of those killed to go through an often harsh and protracted legal process to gain much needed treatment, care and compensation.

"Presumed liability laws provide an incentive to exercise care and would be the catalyst we need for cultural change that values the protection of the vulnerable and places them at the centre of the legal process."

In Scotland, according to Road Share in 2013, serious injury to cyclists was 10% higher than the 2004-2008 average and can only partly be explained by higher levels of cycling.