Motorists could find themselves automatically to blame in accidents involving cyclists, should a new policy from the Liberal Democrats come to fruition.
The proposals, which are due to be debated at the party’s conference in Glasgow in September, would see the implementation of proportionate liability rules, which assume that the driver of the larger vehicle was at fault in an accident.
This would see motorists penalised even if the cyclist had themselves made a mistake, or had broken the law, for instance by running a red light.
The plans also include the nationwide introduction of fines for motorists who stray into cycle lanes.
Motoring groups have criticised the plans, saying that they go against the presumption of innocence – a long-standing legal principle.
The proposals are also heavily biased in favour of the cyclist and do not tackle the issue of so-called ‘Lycra louts’ who deliberately flout traffic laws to make progress in traffic, they say.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the AA said: “The Highway Code is clear that motorists and cyclists must watch out for each other.
“If a driver does something wrong they should face court – the same goes for cyclists. And does this mean that cyclists will be presumed to be at fault whenever there’s an incident with a pedestrian?”
The plans have also been condemned by the Conservatives as a stealth tax, serving only to raise revenue and not ease traffic problems.
Yesterday we brought you news that the Liberal Democrats aim to remove all petrol and diesel powered cars by 2040, largely by introducing greater taxes on fuel. These latest plans are unlikely to improve the party’s image with motorists.
Where do you stand on the cyclist issue? Do you think they need greater legal rights to protect them from motorists? Have your say below.