Scotland politics

Beaumont leads call for new road laws to protect cyclists

Mark Beaumont Image copyright Kieran Duncan
Image caption Mr Beaumont says presumed liability would ensure "vulnerable road users are compensated quickly and fairly"

Cyclist Mark Beaumont is leading calls for the Scottish Parliament to change laws to protect vulnerable road users.

Campaigners want the justice system to presume car drivers are liable for a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, unless they can prove otherwise.

Round-the-world cyclist Mr Beaumont has joined the Road Share campaign calling for a system of "presumed liability".

In 2015, then Transport Minister Derek Mackay said he would consider this if it would make active travel safer.

Road Share has previously won support from MSPs from all Holyrood parties, and a petition backing them has gathered more than 10,000 signatures.

In 2014, 155 cyclists were either seriously injured or killed on Scotland's roads, an increase of 16% on the 2004 to 2008 average.

Road Share argues that while there has been investment in cycle paths and road infrastructure, Scotland's roads still represent a "disproportionate danger" to cyclists.

Mr Beaumont, who broke the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by bicycle in 2008, travelling 18,296 miles in 195 days, appears in a video for the campaign.

Image copyright Road Share
Image caption Mark Beaumont appears in a video for the Road Share campaign

The Perthshire cyclist said: "Presumed liability would ensure that vulnerable road users are compensated quickly and fairly, and the bereaved and those who suffer serious injury are treated with compassion.

"I hope all MSPs in the new Scottish parliament take a few minutes to watch this video to better understand the issue and take positive steps to bring about this legislative change."

Alison Johnstone lodged a motion in parliament in April 2014, congratulating Road Share on its work and wishing it success with its campaign.

She was backed by SNP, Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and fellow Green members, although the motion was not passed.

Ms Johnstone also spoke out in favour of presumed liability in a Holyrood chamber debate in January 2015, when Mr Mackay referred to a "continuing debate" over the matter.

He said: "The Scottish government's position is that if there is evidence that the introduction of some form of strict liability will make active travel safer, we will of course look at it."

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