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The campaign for presumed liability on our roads spreads across the British Isles, prompting fears that Scotland could be left behind

Support to introduce presumed liability into Civil Law to protect vulnerable road users is broadening, as the Scottish campaign, Road Share, is taken up by an increasing number of cyclists as well as policy makers, lawyers and insurance companies in different parts of Great Britain & Ireland.

Now with nearly 10,000 signatures to its online petition, Road Share has also seen its calls for presumed liability on Scotland’s roads echoed in comments made by cyclist and British Cycling Policy Advisor, Chris Boardman, the UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill and Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer QC.

According to Road Share, introducing presumed liability would rectify a system that is out of date and inherently unjust. Under the current system of Civil Law, the vulnerable road user – the injured and the bereaved – must prove the case against the more powerful, which in most situations of a road traffic collision involving a cyclist is the motorist’s insurance company. With presumed liability, it is for the more powerful to prove that the vulnerable road user is liable for any damage or injury.

With the volume of calls of presumed liability rising, Brenda Mitchell, the founder of Road Share now fears Scotland, where the campaign started, could be left behind.

In the UK, the powerful London Cycling Campaign, Road Danger Reduction Forum and Stop Killing Cyclists are all supporters. In Ireland, both the Dublin Cycling Campaign and Irish Cycling Advocacy Group have come on board.

While Phil Gawne, the Minister of Infrastructure for the Isle of Man Government announced recently that presumed liability will be brought forward alongside a variety of road safety measures in a Bill later this year.

Both specialist insurance brokers Yellow Jersey and Kwik Fit Insurance Services are now backing the campaign, with Stewart Barnett from Kwik Fit Insurance commenting:

“In a recent Kwik Fit survey into the UK’s attitudes towards road cycling of nearly two-thirds (63%) that have cycled on the road before, only 26% would feel safe doing so. That’s a huge number of people who still feel road cycling is an unsafe option, so we’ve been looking for solutions.

“Currently the UK is one of only a few countries in the EU not to have implemented a “presumed liability” policy. Presumed liability essentially means that in the case of a road accident, liability lies with the most “powerful” person involved – for example, a driver would be considered liable in a collision with a cyclist. This doesn’t refer to criminal liability, but does allow for claims, compensation and potentially medical aid to be managed far more quickly, lessening the trauma for all parties involved.”

While in Birmingham, local Solicitor Ann Houghton of Anthony Collins Solicitors put forward a compelling case for presumed liability following the death of 13 year old Hope Fennell in November 2011, in which Hope’s mother was subjected to the upset of having to prove that the driver of the lorry that hit her daughter was at fault in the Civil Court in order to get justice, after the criminal court failed to convict him.

Brenda Mitchell, founder of Cycle Law Scotland and Road Share added:

“When it comes to road traffic collisions where a cyclist is hit by a car, or indeed where a pedestrian is knocked over by a cyclist, we have an archaic system where the odds are frequently stacked against the vulnerable and receiving compensation quickly and fairly in many cases is impossible without resort to litigation which adds to the distress of those who have been injured through no fault of their own.

“We think it is right for Scotland to lead the rest of the UK by changing its Civil Law to respect and protect the vulnerable in society by moving to a system of presuming liability to support cyclists and pedestrians injured in road traffic collisions. However, what started as a Scottish campaign has been taken up across the British Isles and the fear is that Scotland could be overtaken in terms of policy leadership.”

Steering Group


The Road Share campaign has set up a steering group to take things forward.

To find out more about the individual members of the Steering group and its overall remit.

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MSP Supporters

The campaign has attracted Cross Party support at Holyrood. See who is supporting, who is undecided and who doesn't support the campaign.

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Celebrity Supporters


The Campaign has successfully attracted a number of celebrity supporters who feel strongly about the introduction of presumed liability and have given their support.

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