Green MSP calls for "strict liability" law in road accidents

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Green MSP Alison Johnstone called on the Scottish government to consider new law to make motorists automatically at fault in an accident.

Under a "strict liability" law, motorists would be held responsible in the civil courts for all accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians - unless they can prove they were not to blame.

Ms Johnstone, the co-convener of Holyrood's group on cycling, was leading a debate on the issue on 29 October 2013.

The UK is one of only five European countries that do not currently have "strict liability".

Nine cyclists died on Scotland's roads last year, with a further 167 injured and Ms Johnstone told the chamber 12 cyclists had been killed already this year.

She said: "Stricter liability is a contribution to a better culture on our roads where vulnerable users are better protected".

Transport Minister Keith Brown said he did not support the change to the law as there was a "lack of robust evidence that stricter liability could have positive benefits for vulnerable road users".

Mr Brown did say he welcomed the debate and was more than willing to listen to other evidence.

Cycle Law Scotland is campaigning to introduce stricter liability into Scottish civil law, claiming it will reduce the number of injuries to cyclists and compensate injured road users more quickly.

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