EDM1393 and stricter liability

Write to your MP to sign EDM 1393:

“That this House acknowledges that many other European countries have much better cyclist and pedestrian safety records than the UK; recognises that these countries apply the principle of stricter liability to vulnerable road victims, so that drivers of vehicles that hit cyclists or pedestrians are assumed liable unless they can prove their innocence; believes that this makes drivers more aware of the vulnerability of children, cyclists and pedestrians; notes that, in contrast in UK road traffic personal injury cases, the burden of proof is on the victim to prove the other party was negligent; is aware of research that shows the fatality rate of cyclists, aged 10 to 14, involved in collisions with motor vehicles is five times worse in the UK than in the Netherlands and Sweden; and calls on the Government to bring road traffic personal injury legislation into line with workplace health and safety law, product liability law and car passenger protection by adoption of the principle of stricter liability.”

Not sure who your MP is? Check here http://www.writetothem.com/.

Here is the sample letter to your MP (feel free to personalise)

MP Name
House of Commons

August 2012

Dear MP [inserting their real name here will more likely gain a response]


As a constituent who is walking, cycling and driving to get around I would like to bring the following to your attention.

Hundreds of pedestrians and scores of cyclists get killed by car drivers every year. The 2008 road casualty figures show that 332 pedestrians and 52 cyclists were killed by car collisions. In all 390 cases not one car driver was killed. Amongst pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers, it is clear that the car driver is most likely the party to inflict injury or death upon the others. Similarly, when pedestrians and cyclists are involved in collisions, which is an extremely rare occurrence, it makes sense to conclude that the cyclist would be seen as the stronger party. It goes against natural justice that the burden of proof would be on the more vulnerable road user and not the one who is actually more likely to cause harm: inflicting pain and suffering through causing injury, or devastating families by causing death.

But sadly this is currently the case in the UK.
In my eyes this is unjust. If you think so too, it would be much appreciated if you could highlight to the Minister for Transport, the Minister for Road Safety and your party colleagues on the Transport Select Committee that we ought to subscribe to a more civilised system.

We need a system that favours the vulnerable.

Most importantly, could you please consider supporting this Early Day Motion EDM1393  http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1393 for a fairer system for pedestrians and cyclists?

It must also be noted that being liable does not automatically mean guilty. Being liable simply means that the burden of proof lies with that party. Which in a fair society should always be the stronger, more powerful or more dangerous party. Better proportionality in our liability system could be achieved by establishing a hierarchy of care (as the Scottish Government is considering) where the burden of proof would always be on the user of the heavier vehicle (the party more likely to cause injury or death). This would show the commitment of this Government to its agenda of societal and social fairness.
We are lagging behind: the principle of proportionality described above is in place in all but four European countries. The UK being one of them. The others are Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.

It should also be noted that stricter liability has not resulted in higher insurance premiums for motorists in the countries that have adopted it.

I remain looking forward to hearing from you