OK so its not the snappiest of titles, but this post has a serious point, I have long been in favour of a law of stricter liability being included in the Scottish legal code. When Brenda Mitchell started her campaign for stricter liability I welcomed it on this blog. Now Alison Johnstone MSP has introduced a motion to the Scottish Parliament (Motion S4M-07934) calling for debate on a stricter liability. In order trying and encourage other MSPs to sign the motion I sent them the following letter:
I am writing to you to ask you to support Motion S4M-07934.
In a civilised country the function of the law should be to protect the vulnerable, currently in Scotland we situation on the roads where bulling of vulnerable road users is endemic. With the recent release of the 2012 statistics for reported road casualties in Scotland showed that the number of cycling deaths increased by 22% and pedestrian deaths increased by 33%. It is worth noting that while there may have been a small rise in the number of people cycling, about 2%, walking as a means of transport is continuing to decline. Therefore, it is clear that the current laws are failing to protect vulnerable road users. For this reason I ask you to support
Motion S4M-07934. The introduction of stricter liability would bring Scotland into line with other European countries which have far higher levels of active travel and lower death rates for vulnerable road users.
Obviously stricter liability by its self is not going to be enough to bring about a safer environment, but it is an important part of the package. Scotland should be looking towards a sustainable safety approach, and consider a “Vision Zero” policy that requires that fatalities and serious injuries are reduced to zero by 2030, as an increasing number of countries around the world are doing. Let make Scotland a better place to live.
Kim Harding, BSc, MPhil
I will of course up date this post with their replies (should they respond) as I receive them. I would urge others to write to their MSPs to ask them to support this motion.
Replies in the order which they have arrived:-
Neil Findlay MSP:
Neil has asked me to thank you for your email and to let you know that he is a member of the Cross Party Group on Cycling and has an interest in this issue.
Neil hopes to attend the debate, parliamentary business permitting.
Sarah Boyack MSP:
Thank you for your email on your support for Alison Johnstone MSP’s forthcoming debate in the Scottish Parliament and the information you have provided, setting out your position.
On behalf of the Lothian Labour team, I hope that it will prove helpful that as the Deputy Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Cycling I have an active interest and I will be there on the 29th and intend to take part in the proceedings that afternoon.
Kezia Dugdale MSP:
Kezia would like to thank you for taking the time to write to her on this issued.
Kezia has signed this motion and is looking forward to the debate tomorrow afternoon.
Kezia and the Scottish Labour Party remained open minded to the proposal and she looks forward to sharing your views in tomorrow’s debate.
The motion was debated on the 29th October 2013, a full transcript can be found here. It shows a range of social attitudes, the usual dribble about cyclists on the pavements (make the roads safer and people won’t feel the need to cycle on the pavements, on the mainland of Europe this is not an issue), a certain amount of macho bullshit someone who famously failed to complete the 2012 Pedal of Scotland ride (even though 5 year old did), and an interesting number of comments on the need for more and better quality cycle infrastructure.