The Government Promises a Cycling Revolution and the Liberal Democrats Put Forward “Presumed Liability” Plans.
Unfortunately it seems that not a week goes by without further deaths on British roads due to accidents involving cyclists – and this last week has been no different. This makes the timing of two announcements from the government all the more pertinent.
David Cameron has announced a cash injection to improve cycling infrastructure and the Liberal Democrats have outlined their plans to put forward an idea where the assumption after a collision is that the larger vehicle is at fault.
As discussed in our blog post on 2nd August, there is a need for tolerance on our roads – from both motorists AND cyclists. That tolerance will hopefully develop as the numbers of cyclists using the roads continues to grow.
A sustainable transport infrastructure is vital for our future and cycling would appear to be the ideal mode – cheap, energy efficient and healthy.
However, although the numbers are growing, year upon year, it is the case that many people are put off taking to the roads on their bikes due to safety fears.
With that in mind, the government has announced a £94m injection of cash to promote cycling and improve or create cycle routes. Eight cities and four national parks will share in the funds as David Cameron aims to create a “cycling revolution.”
Manchester sees itself as the home of British Cycling, thanks to the excellent facilities that were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, now the National Cycling Centre. The facilities include the Velodrome, an Indoor-BMX course and access to extensive mountain bike trails and have been an integral part of the success that the British Cycling team has achieved in recent years.
Next year’s Tour de France also makes a very brief visit in to Greater Manchseter as it dips quickly in to Littleborough before turning back in to Yorkshire.
However, Manchester’s roads are anything BUT cycle friendly. Therefore, the news that the city will receive £20m of the allocated £94m to build and improve 30 miles of cycle paths and create many new 20mph speed limit zones is welcome.
“It comes on the back of the Olympic and Tour de France successes and coincides with the Tour starting in England next year. Manchester is to received the largest amount of funding and the government are urging new designs at Council and Highways level, to incorporate facilities for cyclists that will enable future changes and alterations to be less expensive and more easily achieved.”
Alongside David Cameron’s “cycling revolution”, the Liberal Democrats have also announced that they intend to put forward a new policy of “presumed liability” in road accidents – a system whereby motorists will be automatically found at fault for accidents involving cyclists.
Jason explains the new proposals:
“This is one of a number of proposals put forward in the Liberal Democrats’ “Green Growth and Green Jobs” paper. This is a system that is adopted widely across Europe and has always been a ‘hot potato’ in the UK. Under the new proposals motorists will automatically shoulder blame for all accidents involving cyclists unless they can prove otherwise.”
“I personally think cases should be looked at on their own merits and note that whilst it works in many European countries, it should also be said that the attitudes towards cyclists differ greatly in those countries – and the cycling networks are much more advanced than those in England. It must be noted that Scotland has been trying to push through similar proposals where a formal campaign was launch in April this year.”
“I would say for both news items, it is a case of “watch this space!””
Jason Wiltshire joined NW Law in July 2013 and is a member of our Road Traffic Accident Department. He has 15 years experience dealing with large loss RTA claims and motorbike and cycling accident claims.