January 28, 2011

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Dont Believe the Hype?

From http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2010/12/oh-london.html, comments:

Strict Liability seems to have become a rather popular idea amongst British cyclists recently. In some cases, people claim that this alone would be enough to get people cycling. However, I believe this is false.

Changing the legal liability doesn't change how the streets feel. The lack of cycling is not due merely to a worry that their family might not get compensation after they've been crushed by a truck. No, it's worry about being crushed by a truck in the first place.

How it works is also somewhat different to what many British cyclists have been told. (you can see a simplified legal document here). In many cases a driver in an incident will not be held 100% liable. That would be quite absurd.

Note also that this only came into Dutch law after there was a majority cycling culture. I don't think it's at all realistic to expect it to happen in the opposite order.

However, don't worry about that. It's a good thing, yes, but actually only a very small part of the picture. Most Dutch people I've mentioned this to are unaware of the legal difference. There is also no simple phrase (like "strict liabilty" in English) to describe it. It's known as "art. 185 WVW" of the law, and that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

That's a reflection on how conscious the average Dutch driver and cyclist is of this law. It's not something which comes to the forefront of every driver's mind each time he sees a cyclist and Dutch cyclists don't reflect on how good it is to have the protection of "art. 185 WVW" before they take to two wheels.

Todd Edelman more than 3 years ago

Great idea!

I wish the US had this. People would drive more carefully.

Bruce Alan Wilson more than 3 years ago

Ontario also has a Strict Liability law

Ontario has a similar liability law. Here it is:

"When loss or damage is sustained by any person by reason of a motor vehicle on a highway, the onus of proof that the loss or damage did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle is upon the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle."



Kevin Love more than 3 years ago

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