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Old 08-08-02, 02:55 AM   #26
Chris L
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Originally posted by JDP

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?
This was not how I read the law. It merely suggested that the motorist had to prove they weren't negligent in order to avoid a civil law suit claim. And having seen the way most drivers around here flout the road rules without even caring about the consequences, I'd say the laws of probability are that the guilty until proven innocent assumption would be correct far more often than not.
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Old 08-08-02, 01:35 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Chris L

This was not how I read the law. It merely suggested that the motorist had to prove they weren't negligent in order to avoid a civil law suit claim.
This is exactly how I read the law.

Drive safely and drive with consideration and you'll have nothing to worry about.
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Old 08-09-02, 02:12 AM   #28
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My driver's education teacher insisted that all drivers involved in an accident were at least partially to blame. We came up with the most extreme examples to prove him wrong (like a deer jumping from behind a boulder into the road at the last nano-second). He held his ground.

His point was 1) virtually all accidents are avoidable if the drivers are all paying full and proper attention to every aspect of their driving, and driving accordingly; 2) if you are not willing to take the consequences for getting behind the wheel, you shouldn't do it.

I think that there is something to this.

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Old 08-09-02, 05:39 AM   #29
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while i believe that no one should be assumed guilty until proven innocent... i don't think that this is what this law means.

Guardian article quoting EU Commission: "a growing demand from pedestrians and cyclists - the weakest parties in traffic accidents - to be protected by the insurance coverage of the vehicle involved".
i haven't read the full text, but i don't think it means a flat: accident occured = driver has to pay, but merely changes the process and makes it easier for cyclists to collect damages and easier to get the "fair" responsibility: currently motorists have big insurance companies handling their caes, denying claims and picking up most legal/administrative costs to PREVENT payment to cyclists when motorists are at fault. most cyclists do not have insurance and either have to fight the big insurance companies alone or pay for a lawyer out of their own pocket --

further EU Commision: "Motor vehicles cause most accidents. Whoever is responsible, pedestrians and cyclists usually suffer more. In some member states the cyclist is covered by the insurance of the vehicle involved in the accident irrespective of whether the driver is at fault."
i completely aggree --- most of the severe accidents involve motor vehicles b/c they travel at greater speeds and are SO much larger and can inflict so much more damage. thus, these users should bear the brunt of responsibility and the processing/administrative costs (also since motorists are required to be insured and most of the work is handled w/i the insurance realm anyway)

"This new law will mean that the driver will have to prove that he/she was not at fault whereas at the moment the onus is on the victim to prove negligence. That is the big difference," said Brigitte Chaudhry, national secretary of traffic accident charity Roadpeace.
my interpretation of the little i have seen --- is that this is exactly right! if a cyclist is truly at fault, then an insurance company can so rule (you don't think insurance companies would just pay out a huge settlement w/o a legal appeal do you?) and then a judge or court can determine what's really right and the user with more potential to do damage (motorist) and more ability to get the right "profesional help" through an insurance representative (motorist) bears more of the burden.

although i have only been involved in one collision with an Auto and it was not serve (a motorist stopped at a stop sign, inched forward to turn right w/o looking left, running over my front wheel as i had slowly come to the intersection but i stopped before my body was in front of the car b/c i saw he wasn't looking, but my wheel got run over) i simply asked the driver to pay for the repair cost (i think i asked for $200 for a whole new wheel/tire + my time and loss of the bike for a few days) and got it b/c he didn't want a claim...

but a friend of mine had a collision with a car who turned right in front of him - only an injured hand and maybe $100 medical, but his expensive MTB was almost totaled --- probably $1100 damage - the insurance company refused to pay because of "yadda, yadda, yadda, xyz" and my friend sought free legal advice and tried to fight on his own and after a few months had to hire a lawyer who negotiated with the insurance company but he didn't want to go to court for fear of being responsible for huge legal costs (i told him to anyway, but he was "poor" with a new baby and couldn't risk it) and then was "graciously" only determined 50% at fault (main technicality sighted: it was near-dark (before sunset) and he had a rear light, but no headlight --- even though the cyclist had right of way b/c he was going straight and the driver should have yeilded AND the driver approached from the rear, so the rear light should have been sufficent as the front light would not have been visible until the driver had already hit the cyclist...

anyway, this is exactly the kind of law that switches the balance a little more to give the cyclists a more equal playing field... and besides, motorists ARE the real danger out there and therfore, should be MORE RESPONSIBLE for their actions. currently motorists fall under the protection of the big powerful insurance companies while the cyclist is left to fight alone. cyclists are more vulnerable and need at least equal protection if not better protection than motorists!
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Old 08-09-02, 07:20 AM   #30
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The way you explain it, Nathan, the more sense it makes. If the new law only shifts the balance to help the underdog (cyclists) without making an automatic judgement that's written in stone against the motorist, but allows adequate appeal for the innocent, it would be a good thing.
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