The long hot summer has encouraged not just questionable sartorial choices but an influx in the number of commuters hopping on bikes. Sadly, this has led to a high number of cyclist deaths.
A few days ago a man died after being hit by a lorry near Archway. He is the sixth cyclist to be killed in London this year and the fourth in collision with a HGV. These deaths have triggered ‘space for cycling’ protests, where groups of cyclists have stopped traffic in order to press for roads to be redesigned to include dedicated spaces for cycling (for further information see http://road.cc/content/news/89850-london-cycling-campaign-calls-protest-ride-after-another-cyclist-death).
As regards non-fatal accidents, in Scotland pressure is growing for a rule of strict liability to apply to cycle accidents, meaning that if a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, there will be a rebuttable presumption that the motorist is responsible. This may sound extreme to Anglo-Saxon ears but the UK is one of only five European countries that do not currently have the rule.
One of the advantages of strict liability is that it would ensure cyclists receive compensation more quickly, however is it fair to single out cyclists in this way? Many accident victims are seriously injured and therefore would benefit from receipt of damages at an early stage so that care and adjustments can be put in place. Moreover, the delay in receiving damages may currently be addressed by way of interim payments.
Insurers will undoubtedly seek to resist this law being passed and there may be little appetite to pay increased premiums.