In the Netherlands, any car driver involved in a collision with a cyclist (or a pedestrian) is automatically deemed to be at fault. Consequently, motorists tend to drive more gingerly when mixing it with soft and squishy fellow road users. Now - yippee - there's an EU proposal to extend the law Eurowide

The strong must bend to the weak

According to a report on the European Commission has proposed that car drivers shall always be liable in ‘accidents’ with cyclists or pedestrians.

The unprotected road user is always more badly injured than the car driver in his/her motorised exoskeleton.

In the UK, it often seems motorists feel cyclists should not be on ‘their’ roads, and many drive with apparent disregard to the possible injuries cyclists would incur in any collisions, even slight ones.

Even when cyclists are killed by motorists driving ‘without due care and attention’, the erring motorists are generally let off lightly, with paltry fines and short driving bans.

With cyclists ‘rights’ being protected by law, conditions for UK cyclists could very well improve overnight and this would lead to an increase in cycle usage, especially cycle commuting.

This is an important development and one that is likely to be fought by the motoring lobby. BikeBiz will closely monitor the progress of the .

And this possible Netherlands-style rule change is in addition to the toughening of penalties for UK drivers who kill cyclists or pedestrians. New guidelines for magistrates have been drafted by Lord Falconer, the new minister for state for criminal justice, sentencing and law reform. At the recent RoadPeace conference, Lord Falconer said victims of road traffic ‘accidents’, and their families, would be treated more fairly and the consequences of poor driving would now be taken into consideration in court cases.

The government is considering adding a new offence to the statute book, that of ‘negligent driving’. This would result in more successful prosecutions because the current definition of ‘dangerous driving’ is hard to prove, and the lesser charge of ‘careless driving’ doesn’t carry very stiff penalties.

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