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-   -   E.U. Law (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/12716-e-u-law.html)

willic 08-04-02 04:26 AM

E.U. Law
 
Listening to radio this morning I heard that the E.U,(European Union).
Is introducing a Legaslative Law whereby any motorist involved in an accident with a cyclist is liable to be charged and costed with the accident regardless of wether it was their fault or not.

Is this a victory for the cyclist?

Motoring insureres are stating that this will increase car premiums by 50 a year , with the usual reaction from motoring orginisations and drivers

A motorist came onto the radio programme slagging off cyclists, the usual thing "cyclists should not be on the roads" why should we pay through the nose for using the roads when cyclists pay nothing.

Is this as much a victory as it sounds though i can now see the situation where a hit and run occurs rather than a motorist hanging around to face the consequences!

what do others think

aerobat 08-04-02 05:38 AM

As much as I like to think the motorists should be responsible for any accidents they cause, whether with a cyclist or another car, I think cyclists or anyone for that matter, should also be responsible for their actions if they are in the wrong. This ruling doesn't seem to embrace that concept.

velocipedio 08-04-02 06:38 AM

It has long been the case in places like Belgium and the Netherlands [or so I am given to understand] that, in the event of an accident between a car and a cyclist or pedestrian, the presumption of guilt is on the motorist. Basically, assuming that no one does anything really stupid, like step right out into traffic, motorists have a legal responsibiity to be more careful than cyclists and pedestrians. If this is being adopted across Europe, I think it is a good thing.

Niall 08-04-02 09:30 AM

As motorists are in control of a vehicle that has a much greater potential for damage and harm, then yes an increased responsibility lies with them. It should be pointed out to irate motorists that this also applies to cyclists who choose to use split cycle/pedestrian paths and shouldn't hurtle along at 20 mph.

The presumption of guilt excepting stupid behaviour seems sensible but according to most press info on the proposed law though, this doesn't seem to be the case, as Willic describes.

Even if it was, where do you draw the line for stupid behaviour? What a cyclist may describe as an assertive maneuver to maintain a safe position may be described as reckless or aggressive by many drivers.

On the other hand perhaps drivers should realise that driving is not a racing computer game and that they are in control of a ton (and upwards) of metal going at speeds man was not designed to react at, or survive.

Of course care and tolerance from all road users would make the situation infinitely better but that's just not going to happen.

LittleBigMan 08-04-02 12:54 PM

Blaming the motorist for every car/bike crash is not fair.

In the Netherlands, where this law is already in effect, it is forbidden to cycle on any road that has a cycle path alongside it.
In the United States, the law often allows police to order a cyclist off the road (and on to the path) whenever there is a path next to the road.


Here's something interesting:

www.hsa.lr.tudelft.nl/~bvo/fiets/nlbybike.htm

orguasch 08-04-02 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by willic
Listening to radio this morning I heard that the E.U,(European Union).
Is introducing a Legaslative Law whereby any motorist involved in an accident with a cyclist is liable to be charged and costed with the accident regardless of wether it was their fault or not.

!

what do others think

that is good to hear,:beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :fun: :roflmao:

John E 08-04-02 04:04 PM

I favor the E.U. law, in the sense that every motorist's Prime Directive is to avoid a collision with another road user. In the U.S., the legal system too frequently sides with the motorist. However, whenever the bicyclist or pedestrian clearly causes the collision, the motorist should not be held accountable.

Dutchy 08-04-02 08:38 PM

Quote:

In the Netherlands, where this law is already in effect, it is forbidden to cycle on any road that has a cycle path alongside it
I have learnt that those rules apply year also. If a bike path is available alongside a road, on the same side you are travelling, then you are required to use it. It isn't enforced though, the police don't hassle cyclist's. The revenue gained wouldn't be worth the paper work, especially if it goes to court. Thankfully the police put most of their attention at speeding cars and drunk driver's

CHEERS.

Mark

Chris L 08-04-02 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Niall
The presumption of guilt excepting stupid behaviour seems sensible but according to most press info on the proposed law though, this doesn't seem to be the case, as Willic describes.
I'd like to see the press release of the actual law before making too many comments. However, I have long advocated the presumption of guilt policy being applied to the larger vehicle (whatever that vehicle may be) on the condition that there is a clause excepting exceptional circumstances (like stupidity on the part of the smaller vehicle).

Quote:

Originally posted by Niall

Even if it was, where do you draw the line for stupid behaviour? What a cyclist may describe as an assertive maneuver to maintain a safe position may be described as reckless or aggressive by many drivers.

In theory at least, this is why we have courts and judges.

Quote:

Originally posted by Dutchy
I have learnt that those rules apply year also. If a bike path is available alongside a road, on the same side you are travelling, then you are required to use it.
That's not true. The law applies to a bikelane rather than a bike path as such. There is a difference. There was a post here from Allister some time ago where he successfully argued this one with a cop in Brisbane who thought he shouldn't be on the road.

Brains 08-05-02 06:30 AM

For those outside the UK, the proverbial has hit the fan, this story has made the first few pages of every national newspaper and the TV news - Obviously now the Commonwelth Games are over, and they are bored with reporting yet another bombing in India/Israel/Spain, they have all found a nice 'local' story that will run and run.

Never let a little truth get in the way of a good story

http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/...769369,00.html

Todays Guardian (A national upmarket broadsheet)

chewa 08-05-02 06:49 AM

Nice link Brains.

I'm covering for 83 Brits who don't cycle (if the average is 77km per year)

I think we shouldn't get confused about the difference between civil and criminal law.

From what I read this relates to civil actions (i.e claims for compensation) and if it does, I'm not in favour, as it means presumably that insurers will have to prove liability by a cyclist to refute a claim for damages, leading to increased costs all round. However, it may push more cyclists to get insurance and you can decide for yourselves if it's a good idea.

I don't think it will affect criminal actions(i.e in Uk the presumption of innocence until proven guilty) so I'm not sure there'll be more hit and runs.

Niall 08-05-02 07:44 AM

The placing of the onus to prove innocence on the driver (if that is indeed what this law will mean), is fairly reasonable as they are probably the cause of more accidents. Unfortunately most TV and printed reports only mention that drivers' insurance will cover compensation whoever's fault it is. A bad reaction from the public is inevitable.

This is probably intentional PR handling by the government, hoping to please a motorists lobby which is inevitably far stronger than any cylcists one.

Final point: In every report I've read or seen (and I tend to watch quite a few bulletins on different channels) the term "guerilla cyclist" used with no mention of the crap and agro from motorists that we recieve at every junction or roundabout.

JDP 08-05-02 08:26 AM

This is a defeat.

I can understand the desire for affirmative action but this will ultimately hurt cycling. It will create too much animosity among drivers. Basically it is an injustice to label someone at fault by default in a two party accident. Even presuming guilt is an injustice. If there is a disagreement about who is at fault, let the courts decide it. I would hope that most people out there would take responsibility for their actions.

jmlee 08-05-02 08:42 AM

I don't know the law here exactly, nor how it is applied(civil/criminal), but I just read that in Germany an accident invloving a car and a bicycle or an inline skater will automatically confer *some* guilt to the driver. This works under the presumption that the bigger the vehicle, the more responsibility. This came as part of a ruling from a German court that effectively extended the law governing pedestrians to bikes and inline skaters.

Interesting to note that the same general principle applies to boating, whereby the vessel under less power (a sailboat, for example) has greater rights of way.

Also in Germany, although a stretch of Autobahn may have no speed limit, a driver going more than 180 kmh (110 mph) will automatically have to bear some guilt in an accident.

Cheers,
Jamie

JDP 08-05-02 08:55 AM

In the case of boating, I believe a sailboat is given right of way because of its lack of manueverability. It can't stop or turn as quickly as a power boat under a variety of conditions. This is also why a smaller boat must yield right of way to a larger boat. This analogy hurts the argument that motorists should be presumed guilty in a car/bicycle accident.

chewa 08-05-02 09:11 AM

Again I would say we have to watch the distinction between presumed guilt vis a vis a criminal law and presumed liability vis a vis civil law.

they are not the same. Presumption of guilt rather than presumption of innocence goes against the the very fabric of the law here, but strict liability ( fault) does exist in many circumstances in UK law in respect of liability for damages

JDP 08-05-02 09:21 AM

I suppose there should be a difference in civil vs. criminal but traffic accidents are not always purely civil matters. If the accident is caused by a violation of a traffic law shouldn't that be considered criminal. At least in cases where intent to harm or accidental death, criminal charges are sometimes pursued.

Regardless, I don't think liability should be a default in any case. Let the circumstances of each accident decide who is responsible. If there is a clear guilty party and a clear innocent party, why should liability be handed by default (possibly to the innocent party)? Is it not an injustice for a victim to take responsibility for the actions of the transgressor?

Pat 08-05-02 09:38 AM

I know the EU law making motorist at fault for accidents with cyclists sounds wacky. But it may make policy sense.

I assume that motorists are required to have insurance. Few cyclists have insurance. Serious accidents involving cyclists are rare. Having the motorist's insurance policy cover the damages is almost certainly pretty cheap and maybe it is even cheaper in the long run then figuring out who is at fault and who is liable. We are talking about civil liability here and not about anything else. Civil liability can be counter intuitive.

Dutchy 08-05-02 07:13 PM

Quote:

That's not true. The law applies to a bikelane rather than a bike path as such.
You are right, I have checked my road rules and I was incorrect.

CHEERS.

Mark

roadbuzz 08-05-02 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by willic
Motoring insureres are stating that this will increase car premiums by 50 a year
I'll bet you this is the real cause of the up-roar. And I expect that the amount of the rate hike is unjustified, but is being leveraged an opportunity to increase profits, using cyclists as the scapegoat.

I've never been involved in a case here in the US, but barring a few exceptions, the cyclist is presumed guilty. Or at least, the motorist is let off with little more than a nod and a wink.

There are exceptions. A recent incident in North Carolina comes to mind. An intoxicated driver hit a stopped cyclist, apparently on the side of the road, and "left the scene." There must have been witnesses, because amazingly, the vehicle and owner were located and charged with an assortment of infractions. The cyclist was in critical condition... I don't know the outcome. They may have found some way to fault the cyclist.

Chris L 08-05-02 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by JDP
This is a defeat.

I can understand the desire for affirmative action but this will ultimately hurt cycling. It will create too much animosity among drivers.

You're telling this to a guy who gets honked/abused on a almost daily basis. I would argue the animosity already exists. As far as I am concerned, it's now only a question of trying to curb the behaviour that results from this animosity, something this law will do very effectively.

Quote:

Originally posted by JDP

Basically it is an injustice to label someone at fault by default in a two party accident. Even presuming guilt is an injustice.

Assuming, of course that it is an accident. I don't believe anything resulting from negligence can be considered any more accidental than deliberate.

Quote:

Originally posted by JDP
If there is a disagreement about who is at fault, let the courts decide it. I would hope that most people out there would take responsibility for their actions.
Agreed. Unfortunately, history tells us that generally people don't take responsibility for their actions. It's about time that motorists started to face up to the fact that being in control of a vehicle that can easily kill another human being is, in itself, an awesome responsibility.

JDP 08-06-02 05:48 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Chris L


Assuming, of course that it is an accident. I don't believe anything resulting from negligence can be considered any more accidental than deliberate.


I disagree to a certain extent. There is a grey area there. Negligence certainly deserves a just punishment but I think there is a special place in hell reserved for people that intend to harm others. I guess that's what you are saying though, part accident and part deliberate. The injustice arises when the cyclist is negligent, causes an accident, and then is treated as a victim.

Chris L 08-06-02 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by JDP
The injustice arises when the cyclist is negligent, causes an accident, and then is treated as a victim.
People tend to forget just how easy it is for a driver to prove their innocence in such a situation. The rules of the road state things like speed limits, stopping at red lights, allowing at least 1 metre of space when passing a cyclist etc very clearly. If a driver wants to get off the hook, all they have to do is prove they were doing these things properly and actually following the rules of the road.

If they actually did this, traffic collisions of all kinds would be reduced.

JDP 08-07-02 07:27 AM

It's not always so easy. Everyone always has their version of how an accident happens. If there are no witnesses and no conclusive evidence, who can be believed.

As an example, I was in a fender bender in my car not long ago. The guy that hit me was reversing down the road and didn't see me turning. I didn't see him until the last minute because I was looking for traffic coming in the proper direction down the road. Sounds like a pretty simple case in my favor, right? His insurance company denied my claim. I've got my ins. co. working on the legal battle but it baffles me that this even has to happen.

Besides, the EU law would place liability on the motorist regardless of how well he was driving. Imagine that you are driving your car down the road at the speed limit, following all traffic laws, and being the most defensive driver in history. Then, a biker jumps the curb and you plow right into him before you can react. You would be liable for all his medical bills, property damage, etc. including the property damage to your car. How is that fair?

Stor Mand 08-07-02 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by willic
any motorist involved in an accident with a cyclist is liable to be charged and costed with the accident regardless of wether it was their fault or not.
How/why is it possible to lay the blame on the motorist if it is not the fault of the motorist? That's assinine.


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