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U.K. moving toward safer cycling laws and roads

Cyclists in the U.K. keep getting good news.

After David Cameron’s promise to contribute £77 million to improve bike routes and cyclist safety across the U.K. in August, British Cycling has won the agreement from the government to make new roads more bike-friendly.

The document that sets guidelines for building and planning new road and highway systems, the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, is being updated to include planning suggestions for engineers on how to best incorporate cyclist traffic.

Farther north on Tuesday, in Scottish Parliament debated changing laws to better protect cyclists. The motion was put forward that the number of cyclist deaths in Scotland is too high and motorists should assume responsibility of collisions unless they are able to prove otherwise. This is known as strict liability and is common across most of Europe.

The U.K. is one of only five European Union nations where there is not some form of strict liability with regard to collisions between motorists and cyclists.

Alison Johnstone, member of Scottish Parliament, told STV News that “the number of fatalities and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists on Scotland’s roads is unacceptably high. Versions of a strict liability rule exist in the civil law of many European countries and it could make a difference here as part of a package of measures.”

If the motion and debate moves toward law, it would mean victims of cyclist accidents could receive compensation more quickly and would help reduce the burden on courts dealing with these cases.

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