Scottish Parliament to debate 'Strict Liability' usage

Cross party support for law which places onus on motorist to prove they were not at fault in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians
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The Scottish Parliament is set to debate a change of law that could see Strict Liability used in collissions between cyclists and motorists.

The onus would be on the driver to prove that any incident was not their fault, should the legislation change proceed. The motion, to be debated tomorrow, was proposed by Alison Johnstone of the Scottish Green Party, who has been backed with cross-party support. Strict liability only applies to civil cases, not those put to a criminal court.

The motion reads: "That the Parliament believes that the number of fatalities and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists on Scotland's roads, including in the Lothian region, is unacceptably high; recognises that the Scottish Government has funded a number of national cycle safety initiatives; notes that versions of a strict liability rule exist in the civil law of many European countries; notes that a number of walking and cycling organisations support the introduction of such a law in Scotland; understands that a petition by Cycle Law Scotland on this topic has secured over 5,000 signatures; considers that a stricter liability rule could have positive benefits for the safety of more vulnerable road users as part of a package of measures, and would welcome further debate on this proposal."

The aforementioned petition is backed by CTC Scotland, Pedal on Parliament and the Lothian Cycle Campaign, among others.

STV News spoke to Ms Johnstone who said: "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."

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