This looks very interesting to me , has anyone been to the UK,  Europe to see how it works and could it work in Australia ?

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The UK doesn't have it.

The liability discussion quickly turned into a discussion on penalizing bad drivers with higher "rego" premiums. Which, not strangely, causes drivers to be more careful according to the fellow being interviewed.

When I lived in Japan I had drivers in all seriousness tell me they must be-careful of pedestrians and cyclists because if there were an accident then they (the motorist) would be held to blame...

My understanding of Strict Liability is that it often relates to insurance claims. Rather than police automatically blaming the driver to allot demerit points, unless proven otherwise. A negligent driver could face questioning by insurance company and police.
I believe that drivers being aware of potential hassles would encourage driving safely near vulnerable road users. Hassles like dealing with insurance company and increased premiums. Too often cyclists and motorbikers suffer from Looked But Did Not See, and pedestrians from turning vehicles.
In Australia, casualties for vehicle occupants have decreased, but increased for cyclists and motorbikers. So I have support Ross re introducing Strict Liability legislation.

@Ken - you have posted that article before if I remember correctly and it is a good read.

Nonetheless, my anecdote from my time in Japan is real - those motorists really did hold those thoughts when driving, make of that as you will. On the premise that many other motorists also hold those same thoughts then one can extrapolate that many motorists there are more careful due to such legislation.

I quite understand that Strict Liability Legislation does not proportion 100% of blame onto the motorist with no recourse for that same motorist - that would be a travesty of justice and certainly not something that I would support. Still it shifts the burden onto that same motorist to show that they were not to blame - I guess you can call that guilty before innocent. Thus strict liability.

Whilst Strict Liability Legislation clearly is no perfect panacea to "fix" the roads it sure would help as my Jpn example high-lights.

"My understanding of Strict Liability is that it often relates to insurance claims."

"I quite understand that Strict Liability Legislation does not proportion 100% of blame onto the motorist with no recourse for that same motorist".

Both are correct to some extent... (compared to my experience & knowledge)

Over the last dozen yrs or so I've spent half those in AU, half in Belgium, which has strict liability (although I'm not sure that's what it's called). Considering much of the current legislation in Belgium / Europe is transnational (i.e. EU), it's probably quite similar across the continent.

How I understand it to work in Belgium is that where there is an accident between multiple road users, the insurance of the least vulnerable road user will pay for all damages (in Belgium the term "zwakke weggebruiker" is used, which translates to "vulnerable road user"). That is irrespective of fault or blame, so even if a cyclist was on the wrong side of the road coming the wrong way down a one way street cutting round a blind corner at a speed in excess of the limit, and crashed into a vehicle, the insurance of the vehicle driver would still pay for any medical bills and damage to the bike. However, as any insurance provider will do, they will try to apportion some of the cost to the other party, depending on circumstances of the accident and therefore fault or blame. Assuming proof of any illegal cycling can be provided, the insurance provider of the vehicle driver would most likely recover funds from the cyclist's insurance (most Belgians have private "family" insurance which is basically a 'cover anything' type of insurance). Police could also press charges against either party, although that would not change the 'strict liability' of the vehicle driver, but it will most likely influence the actions of the insurer to recover their pay-out (if the vehicle driver is at fault, they may recover pay-outs from the driver).

Ross, I think the general attitude in Japan is very much different to many other countries, even if not legislated.

Prof Fred Wegman, a road safety expert in the Netherlands, was Adelaide Thinker in Residence 2011–2012. I attended two of his public lectures here. My recollection is that is basically how he explained strict liability legislation in the Netherlands. One difference is that a driver is to cater for unexpected behaviour from young children, so a driver cannot ‘prove’ that a young cyclist was at fault.

If strict liability legislation in Australia, surely easy to install a video camera in one's car.

There is no presumed liability in the UK. I believe the org CyclingUK (previously CTC) are looking into it.

I've seen it work in Canada though, when I went to 'jaywalk' across a road in Vancouver everybody came to a halt to let me cross. I was told by a friend that this was because homeless people throw themselves in front of cars for the insurance money. This didn't do my self image much good. Anyway essentially the motorists were breaking to keep their premiums down. 

Here is a good read on presumed liability:


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