Below is such a poignant letter from Roy Spilsbury - reproduced with his permission - that it needs to be more widely read and acted upon.

 

The number one thing that the UK government can do for vulnerable road users is to give us the same legal protection as enjoyed by most of our European neighbours.

Motor vehicle drivers should be responsible for the primary source of danger - their vehicle - and therefore have the primary duty of care. Drivers are also better protected and in a much better position to secure witnesses than an injured pedestrian or rider.

On the continent, if a cyclist was at fault and the driver has taken every possible care to avoid a collision then the driver will not be penalised under the system. One has only to cycle in the countries mentioned to see the positive difference in attitude from drivers.

Less frightened people = more cyclists and pedestrians = healthier population + lower CO2 emissions. And the Possibility of avoiding road pricing? If the government added in reduced VAT on cycling gear to garnish and complete with a default 20mph speed limit on residential streets then we're on our way to a better country.

David Holman

CTC Right to Ride Representative in Wolverhampton & Campaign Officer of Wolves on Wheels Cycling Campaign

Rhyl Cycling Club - Driver Insurance Liability

 

Editor, Daily Post.

Madam/Sir

The news that Conwy CBC and insurers for the driver involved in the Abergele cycling tragedy have agreed to receive compensation claims. albeit 'without prejudice', is to be welcomed. Hopefully this will assist progress as justice delayed, is justice denied.

Had such an incident occurred in France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, or the Netherlands, the claim for compensation would have been dealt with promptly under the terms of the driver's insurance In those countries legislation places the burden of proof on the driver and his insurers, recognising that if a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, cyclist, or equestrian, the victim is likely to suffer far greater injury and lasting consequences than the driver. In this country the reverse is the case. The burden of proof rests on the victim to prove fault on the part of the driver. Hence dependents and crash victims often find it very difficult to obtain compensation in the absence of independent evidence. And furthermore, victims often have difficulty recalling the exact circumstances of a collision with the clarity needed to provide persuasive evidence, particular in the presence of a brain injury, or the victim is a child.

This unacceptable bias against the victim needs to be reversed, with the burden of responsibility placed on the driver. Short of being prosecuted for a criminal offence if the evidence is present, the worst that could happen to the driver is the loss of the no-claim bonus - with account taken of any blame on the part of the victim in the damages awarded.

Speaking at the funeral of Maurice Broadbent, Chair of Rhyl Cycling Club, the vicar of Abergele Shirley Griffiths reminded the congregation that major changes in rail safety followed the Abergele train disaster of 1868. She felt that given political commitment, Abergele could again feature in a legislative sea-change; this time bringing profound benefits to cyclists and other vulnerable groups . I'm sure that with the overwhelming international sympathy felt at the time, few would have disagreed with her. Taking the cue from Rev Griffiths, local Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly Members should lobby for the introduction into the UK of the principle of 'no blame' third party motor insurance. Its presence in certain European countries is believed to be one reason why cyclists over there are treated with far greater care than in this country. What better living memorial it would be to those who died in this dreadful incident? Whether cyclist or non-cyclist, we are all potential victims of the law as it stands. We all stand to gain from its amendment.

Roy Spilsbury

Acting Chair CTC Cymru - Welsh Region of CTC, the 70,000 member national cycling organisation.

CTC National website

CTC Cymru North Wales website

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