Scottish Parliament to debate road death prevention methods

By staff writers
27 Oct 2013

Cross-party support has been secured for a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 29 October regarding a popular European system designed to protect road users.

Transport Scotland statistics published this week show a 23 per cent increase in cycle casualties since 2008, despite cycle traffic only increasing by 14 per cent.

Also, cars represent 83 per cent of accidents involving cyclists despite only accounting for 77 per cent of mileage.

"Strict liability", in terms of the motion being considered in the Scottish Parliament, presumes a motorist is liable in a civil claim against them by an injured cyclist or pedestrian, and that a cyclist is liable in a claim by a pedestrian.

Campaigners say that as part of a package of measures, it can encourage respect, helping to make roads safer for all.

The debate has been secured by Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian and co-convener of Holyrood's group on cycling.

The newly published figures show a worrying trend in people injured and killed on Scotland's roads while cycling and walking, say activists.

Between 2011 and 2012 there was a nine per cent increase in cycle casualties and a 33 per cent increase in pedestrians killed. 2013 is on course to record an even higher number of cycle deaths than the nine fatalities in 2012.

Alison Johnstone MSP declared: "The number of fatalities and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists on Scotland's roads is unacceptably high. Versions of a strict liability rule exist in the civil law of many European countries and it could make a difference here as part of a package of measures. It is heartening to see MSPs from all parties agreeing that it deserves debate."

She continued: "A petition by Cycle Law Scotland has secured over 5,000 signatures and there are many walking and cycling campaigners who see the benefits. To date the Scottish Government has dismissed the suggestion of looking at the idea; hopefully Tuesday's debate will persuade ministers to think again."

* Transport Scotland Research: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/strategy-and-research/publications-a...

* Cycle Law Scotland petition: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/pass-a-member-s-bill-for-strict-li...

* The motion for Tuesday's debate: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?Searc...

[Ekk/3]

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