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Old 03-02-05, 07:30 AM   #1
powers2b
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EU proposal to make motorist liable

FEBRUARY 21, 2005 -- BRUSSELS, Belgium (BRAIN)--The European Union, now 25 nations strong, may be on the verge of shaking motorists out of the unconscious fog some seem to be in when driving into cyclists and pedestrians. The method: slap 'em in their pocketbooks, where it may actually hurt.



The European Two-Wheel Retailers' Association (ETRA), reports that a bill making motorists automatically liable in an accident with cyclists and pedestrians has passed the European Parliament and will soon be before the European Council, the union's main decision- making body. If the council adopts it, all member nations will within the next two years have to pass similar laws guarantee cyclists compensation if they are involved in a crash with a motorized vehicle.



"In ETRA's view, assuring non-motorized road users of damages is making a clear signal to motorized users. Many accidents happen because of the dominant attitude of motorized users, as a result of which they seriously lack attention for non-motorized users. This attitude needs to change in order to get priorities right," said Annick Roetynck, the association's secretary general.



Holland, Belgium and several other countries already have similar legislation in place, and, ETRA observed, it "proves to considerably improve the relation between cyclists and motorists." Those countries' legislation has not sent insurance rates skyrocketing or resulted in outlandish claims, Roetynck said.



ETRA and many of its 6,000 retail store members lobbied for the legislation, arguing that cyclists and pedestrians are more exposed to injury and suffer fatality rates five to six times higher than motorists'.

Enjoy
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Old 03-02-05, 07:58 AM   #2
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I wholly agree with this kind of logic and I suppose that it would generally follow that should a cyclist hit a pedestian, the cyclist would automatically be liable unless he can prove otherwise.
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Old 03-02-05, 08:03 AM   #3
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Excellent post!. I was on London earlier this year and was apalled at the traffic flow on some streets. Roads are narrow and traffic is swift and agressive. Pedestrian crossing zones are few and far between, with a limited amount of time to cross before the light changes. I was glad I did not bring my bike with me. When you couple the tight, fast traffic with travel on the wrong side of the street, you have a dangerous combination.

We take for granted the privilages we have. Accoding to the DMV manual, a pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way, even when crossing against a red light. This is because the potential for harm is great. They built into the law a buffer to protect the weaker party (the pedestrian). I have never seen it really enforced, but at least it exists on paper. The fact that in the EU they have to lobby for the same rights says quite a lot.
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Old 03-02-05, 08:45 AM   #4
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I like the basic premise here, but we need to remember that all motorists are not bad drivers.

If this passes, the floodgates will open.

Need some money? Let a car hit you!

There are plenty of bad bicycle riders and even pedestrians out there. Why assume a motorist is at fault because a bicycle rider or pedestrian does something way out in left field?

Riding on the wrong side of the street? No lights at night? Run out between parked cars? Cross against a light? These are things I regularly deal with while driving in the neighborhood where I work. And it's not kids, it ADULTS!

I can't believe these people are stupid, but there sure needs to be some education somewhere along the line. At least in CA, we have laws to cover these things. Why not learn them?

Too bad the schools are too busy teaching to the exit exams now. When I was in elementary school way back in the 60's we had pedestrian and bicycle safety classes. We had to pass a safety test before we rode our bike to school!
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Old 03-02-05, 09:33 AM   #5
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In Quebec there is an insurance charge included in the annual vehicle registration fee. This covers injuries, time off work and damaged clothes to pedestrians and cyclists. It doesnt cover damage to the bike. If you are hit by a car you then claim on the government insurance - it doesnt matter if the driver has any insurance or not.
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Old 03-02-05, 09:57 AM   #6
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This rule sounds like the rule for many boats. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but on the water, larger boats must always yield to smaller boats, even if the small boats are piloted by idiots. I don't think the law would encourage reckless cycling. Most of us are more afraid of the emergency room than court room.
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Old 03-02-05, 10:50 AM   #7
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Sorry Daily, let me correct you, and I do agree with the latter part of what you say. As a Captain that has crossed the Gulfstream from Lauderdale to the Bahamas nearly 30 times in the last few years, I can tell you that might makes right just as on our roads. 800 foot container ships do not give way to 65 foot cargo boats, even when the smaller has the right of way in a crossing situation. Even in Inland waterways larger vessels often have the right of way because they are often constricted by their draft. Sailboats under sail power have rights on paper, but in New York harbor, taunting sailboats when you are driving a highspeed ferry is a bit of a sport.
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Old 03-02-05, 11:37 AM   #8
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I love the idea that the motorist would ALWAYS pay for a cyclist's medical bills, but lawyers would hate it. "Who is at fault?" "The motorist....when the guy on the bike ran the red light, the motorist failed to get out of his way".
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Old 03-02-05, 11:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro
Excellent post!. I was on London earlier this year and was apalled at the traffic flow on some streets. Roads are narrow and traffic is swift and agressive. Pedestrian crossing zones are few and far between, with a limited amount of time to cross before the light changes. I was glad I did not bring my bike with me. When you couple the tight, fast traffic with travel on the wrong side of the street, you have a dangerous combination.

We take for granted the privilages we have. Accoding to the DMV manual, a pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way, even when crossing against a red light. This is because the potential for harm is great. They built into the law a buffer to protect the weaker party (the pedestrian). I have never seen it really enforced, but at least it exists on paper. The fact that in the EU they have to lobby for the same rights says quite a lot.
WRONG side of the road or DIFFERENT side of the road?
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Old 03-02-05, 12:15 PM   #10
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I'd like to know the basis of this statement.


Quote:
Many accidents happen because of the dominant attitude of motorized users, as a result of which they seriously lack attention for non-motorized users.
"Many" is very vague. 1% can be "many", since there are thousands of accidents per year, and 1% of, say, 10,000, is 100, which is arguably "many".

But addressing 1% of any problem is hardly addressing the problem seriously.
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Old 03-02-05, 02:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
I love the idea that the motorist would ALWAYS pay for a cyclist's medical bills, but lawyers would hate it. "Who is at fault?" "The motorist....when the guy on the bike ran the red light, the motorist failed to get out of his way".
NJ has "No fault" insurance which means doctors don't have to wait forever to receive payment because the insurance companies have to pay regardless of who is at fault. This system does make for higher insurance payments for everyone but if you're car free, it will not effect you.
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Old 03-02-05, 02:54 PM   #12
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Steve

I'm surprised that no fault raises insurance cost. Other places that tried it lowered their cost.


eubi

I couldn't agree more. Automatic anything is scary and will likely lead to grave errors. Once Mass. had a similar law I think it was that any driver involved in a fatel accident with a ped automatically lost his drivers license for some time period I think a year. Then A ped commited sucisde my jumping in front of a bus. Lots of witnesses! They changed the law.

Joe
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Old 03-02-05, 03:26 PM   #13
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Sorry Webist, "wrong" choice of words on my part. I was speaking from the USA perspecive. I should have said "other side of the road". (Did not put enough thought into my response. Please accept my apology.) I will try to be more thorough in the future.
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Old 03-02-05, 03:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeprim
Steve

I'm surprised that no fault raises insurance cost. Other places that tried it lowered their cost.


eubi

I couldn't agree more. Automatic anything is scary and will likely lead to grave errors. Once Mass. had a similar law I think it was that any driver involved in a fatel accident with a ped automatically lost his drivers license for some time period I think a year. Then A ped commited sucisde my jumping in front of a bus. Lots of witnesses! They changed the law.

Joe
NJ for many reasons has one of the highest insurance rates in the country. The last governor made some changes in derugulation and brough in Geico so rates have gone down. I don't know much about it since I've been car free.
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Old 03-02-05, 03:48 PM   #15
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I respect the efficiency of no-fault insurance, but I fear it further insulates motorists from accountability. The end resutls we all want to obtain are to make everyone a more conscientious road user and to compensate civil wrongs financially. How we get there is a challenging puzzle.
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Old 03-02-05, 08:15 PM   #16
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I smell an Onion. This sounds too good to be true, and too ignorant to be real. The EU doesn't pass sweeping laws that effect sovergin countries, the EU wasn't organized to do this. There are quite a number of accidents where the cyclists or ped is at fault.

Just think, you aren't at fault for riding on the wrong side of the road and hit a car? What about a man on a suicide mission that steps out in front of a truck? This looks way to bogus to me.
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Old 03-02-05, 09:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
In Quebec there is an insurance charge included in the annual vehicle registration fee. This covers injuries, time off work and damaged clothes to pedestrians and cyclists. It doesnt cover damage to the bike. If you are hit by a car you then claim on the government insurance - it doesnt matter if the driver has any insurance or not.
I'm not so sure that the no-fault system we have in Quebec is really the best.
Partically because (as stated in the Civil Code) the payouts do seem to be quite low and consequently the premiums are quite low. But a good point is that they are directly linked to the number of points that you have on your liscence.
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Old 03-03-05, 12:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
I like the basic premise here, but we need to remember that all motorists are not bad drivers.

If this passes, the floodgates will open.

Need some money? Let a car hit you!

There are plenty of bad bicycle riders and even pedestrians out there. Why assume a motorist is at fault because a bicycle rider or pedestrian does something way out in left field?

Riding on the wrong side of the street? No lights at night? Run out between parked cars? Cross against a light? These are things I regularly deal with while driving in the neighborhood where I work. And it's not kids, it ADULTS!

I can't believe these people are stupid, but there sure needs to be some education somewhere along the line. At least in CA, we have laws to cover these things. Why not learn them?

Too bad the schools are too busy teaching to the exit exams now. When I was in elementary school way back in the 60's we had pedestrian and bicycle safety classes. We had to pass a safety test before we rode our bike to school!
I donīt think there will be a lot of cyclists who will decide to ride into cars if this legislation were to be passed. If they would only get ther medical bills paid it would just have the effect of making the doctors richer. I have not heard of this happening in Holland anyway.

I dont think it would be a bad idea though to have an initial presumption of financial liability at least for the car driver with maybe the possibility for the car driver to prove he/she wasnīt at fault. It would have the effect of making them a bit more cautious and less likely to perorm aggressive and dangerous manouvers when they perceive that you are holding them up.

We need to change the car-centric culture that says that cars rule the roads and eveyone else had better get out of the way or else. I was talking to my parents in the UK last summer and they were telling me how they needed to drive on the pavement to get somewhere and it was really dangerous because the peds had to jump out of the way and they were serious .

Anyway- donīt worry the car-centric UK will never pass such legislation and I think the last time it was raised they blocked it.
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Old 03-03-05, 12:05 PM   #19
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http://www.bikecafe.net/Press/PR.02.14.05ETRA.asp
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Old 03-03-05, 09:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I smell an Onion. This sounds too good to be true, and too ignorant to be real. The EU doesn't pass sweeping laws that effect sovergin countries, the EU wasn't organized to do this. There are quite a number of accidents where the cyclists or ped is at fault.

Just think, you aren't at fault for riding on the wrong side of the road and hit a car? What about a man on a suicide mission that steps out in front of a truck? This looks way to bogus to me.
- - Check out today's thread by Grasschopper: American returns from Denmark with observations

One of his observations is:

"The law - WOW these people actually STOP for a stop sign or stop light...and they wait. In 4 days there I saw 2 people run lights and that is of litterally more than a thousand cyclists I saw."

Apparently The European Union does not have as many bicycling scofflaws as we do in the USA so the proposal is more feasible there.
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Old 03-18-05, 06:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalflash
I donīt think there will be a lot of cyclists who will decide to ride into cars if this legislation were to be passed. If they would only get ther medical bills paid it would just have the effect of making the doctors richer. I have not heard of this happening in Holland anyway.

I dont think it would be a bad idea though to have an initial presumption of financial liability at least for the car driver with maybe the possibility for the car driver to prove he/she wasnīt at fault. It would have the effect of making them a bit more cautious and less likely to perorm aggressive and dangerous manouvers when they perceive that you are holding them up.

We need to change the car-centric culture that says that cars rule the roads and eveyone else had better get out of the way or else. I was talking to my parents in the UK last summer and they were telling me how they needed to drive on the pavement to get somewhere and it was really dangerous because the peds had to jump out of the way and they were serious .

Anyway- donīt worry the car-centric UK will never pass such legislation and I think the last time it was raised they blocked it.
There are no personal medical bills in the UK apart from trivial prescription charges for certain working people and riding on the pavement is illegal so it's no wonder the peds were angry.
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