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Is it a good idea to saddle car drivers with presumption of liability when they are involved in cycling accidents?

It certainly would be a bold and controversial move, but it is one advocated by many groups, including road safety campaigners, personal injury lawyers and cycling safety campaigners such as Cycle Law Scotland.

The cyclists' rights group has said that recent revelations of the low number of reported cycling accidents involving drivers makes it imperative to ensure that cyclists are protected and liable drivers prosecuted.

They argue that having a system of "presumed liability" would make it incumbent on all motorists to disprove liability for injury, damage or loss sustained by cyclists in road accidents.

The calls have been prompted by a Freedom of Information request put to Police Scotland. The information showed that in although 898 cyclists suffered serious personal injury in road accidents in 2012 – with nine killed – there were very few prosecutions.

"The figures showed there were 400 incidents involving motorists and cyclists in Lothian and the Borders in 2012, but only 44 were referred for prosecution," commented Brenda Mitchell of Cycle Law Scotland

"That suggests there isn't a robust system of criminal law in place."

"One of the arguments often used against a system of stricter liability for vulnerable road users is that the existing criminal law provides all the protection a cyclist or pedestrian needs …These figures suggest that simply is not the case."

However, both Transport Scotland and Police Scotland dispute the likely efficacy of a system of presumed liability; whatever the case, it is clear that more needs to be done to prevent cycling accidents in Scotland.

If you would like to consider your possible right to compensation following a cycling accident in Scotland, click here for more information from Thompsons - Scotland's leading personal injury solicitors.

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