Put onus on drivers, says cycling world champion Mark Cavendish [The Times]
Mark Cavendish, the cycle road race world champion who is tipped to win Britain’s first gold medal at the London Olympics, today calls on ministers to consider European laws to protect cyclists.
The fastest man on two wheels says that if drivers knew that they would face harsh penalties if they knocked down a cyclist they would pay more attention and safety would improve.
He cited the example of the Netherlands and Belgium, where there is a presumption of liability against drivers involved in crashes with cyclists.
In most European countries the onus is on drivers to prove their innocence in collisions resulting in civil law suits for damages. The reverse is true in Britain, where cyclists or their families have to prove that the driver was at fault if they are to win a civil action.
Change would be opposed by many motorists, but Cavendish said that in return cyclists would have to ride within the law, a move that would help ease tensions with drivers.
“In Holland and Belgium the actual law is if the driver of a motorised vehicle has an accident with a cyclist, unless the driver can actively prove it was the cyclist’s fault it is the driver’s fault. There is an assumption of guilt on the driver,” he told The Times during a break in training for the Tour de France and Olympic Games.