European Union: law to make motorist automatically liable in bike/car accidents
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  1. #1
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    European Union: law to make motorist automatically liable in bike/car accidents

    The European Union is working on some legislation that would make motorist automatically liable in bike/car accidents. Be interesting to see if they pass this.

    Wonder if something like this would ever make it far in the US.


    Story pasted below from Bicycle Retailer news page Feb 21, 2005.

    FEBRUARY 21, 2005 --
    BRUSSELS, Belgium (BRAIN)


    The European Union, now 25 nations strong, may be on the verge of shaking motorists out of the unconscious fog some seem to be in when driving into cyclists and pedestrians. The method: slap 'em in their pocketbooks, where it may actually hurt.

    The European Two-Wheel Retailers' Association (ETRA), reports that a bill making motorists automatically liable in an accident with cyclists and pedestrians has passed the European Parliament and will soon be before the European Council, the union's main decision-making body. If the council adopts it, all member nations will within the next two years have to pass similar laws guarantee cyclists compensation if they are involved in a crash with a motorized vehicle.

    "In ETRA's view, assuring non-motorized road users of damages is making a clear signal to motorized users. Many accidents happen because of the dominant attitude of motorized users, as a result of which they seriously lack attention for non-motorized users. This attitude needs to change in order to get priorities right," said Annick Roetynck, the association's secretary general.

    Holland, Belgium and several other countries already have similar legislation in place, and, ETRA observed, it "proves to considerably improve the relation between cyclists and motorists." Those countries' legislation has not sent insurance rates skyrocketing or resulted in outlandish claims, Roetynck said.

    ETRA and many of its 6,000 retail store members lobbied for the legislation, arguing that cyclists and pedestrians are more exposed to injury and suffer fatality rates five to six times higher than motorists'.
    Last edited by meat tooth paste; 02-22-2005 at 08:48 PM.
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  2. #2
    remodeling...me
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    A law like that would never get anywhere in the US. We can't even get the states to divert some of the money spent on paving everything to proper public transportation. Car's rule in America as much as that s*cks.
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  3. #3
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    What difference does it make?

    What would it matter? The cyclist is still dead in many cases. A friend of mine died a little over a year ago due to some dumb ass running a red light. He was hardly insured and the beneficiary only got $30K from this dumbass and he had nothing else to take. He ended up spending a measly 8 months in jail for Gross Vehicular Manslaughter.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorf411
    What would it matter? The cyclist is still dead in many cases. A friend of mine died a little over a year ago due to some dumb ass running a red light. He was hardly insured and the beneficiary only got $30K from this dumbass and he had nothing else to take. He ended up spending a measly 8 months in jail for Gross Vehicular Manslaughter.
    Same dumbass would immediately have his license revoked pending investigation in most european countries- and be given a BAC test whether or not there was any probably cause he/she had been drinking. Much of europe acts like driving is an actual skill. It is amazing how smoothly roundabouts function- or that traffic can smoothly stop on a dime when someone enters a crosswalk... or that people generally follow the speed limit... or that few drive drunk.

    Frankly, 8 months for running a light is rather heavy in the US... I'm surprised they could turn it into manslaughter.

  5. #5
    Hilly McNilly
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    It can't be that far off... I see it as a definite possibility.

    I mean, in California the pedestrian has the right of way no matter if he is running across Mission St. at 3 in the morning with all black on.

    I bet something like this gets passed at a local level first. (S.F.)

  6. #6
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    Yeah I can see something like this getting passed in a cycling city like San Francisco. When I used to live there, I remember the SF Bike Coalition estimated that 25,000 people in SF commuted by bike. So combine that with a progressive mayor like Gavin Newsom, I think it has potential in SF.
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Same dumbass would immediately have his license revoked pending investigation in most european countries- and be given a BAC test whether or not there was any probably cause he/she had been drinking. Much of europe acts like driving is an actual skill. It is amazing how smoothly roundabouts function- or that traffic can smoothly stop on a dime when someone enters a crosswalk... or that people generally follow the speed limit... or that few drive drunk.

    Frankly, 8 months for running a light is rather heavy in the US... I'm surprised they could turn it into manslaughter.
    In Europe they can drink at 16 years old, but cant drive untill 18.

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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Same dumbass would immediately have his license revoked pending investigation in most european countries- and be given a BAC test whether or not there was any probably cause he/she had been drinking. Much of europe acts like driving is an actual skill. It is amazing how smoothly roundabouts function- or that traffic can smoothly stop on a dime when someone enters a crosswalk... or that people generally follow the speed limit... or that few drive drunk.

    Frankly, 8 months for running a light is rather heavy in the US... I'm surprised they could turn it into manslaughter.
    They really do treat driving like a skill. I knew people in Europe that studied for months to get their license, the tests are ridiculously hard, and they all know how to drive as a result of that. To get my license (about 10 months ago) I had to take a written test to get my Learner's Permit that I never studied for nor did I ever crack the Maryland Driving Handbook (I'm pretty sure I never owned one), take 30 hours of class that I slept through and still got 90s on all the assessments, and take 6 hours of behind the wheel training with a Filipino man who, for the most part, talked on his cell phone with his wife and occasionally barked out "Left/Right". I then had to take the Driver's Test which was ridiculously easy. It required no skill or work on my part to get my license and you can really tell how lax the standards are just by looking at the roadways.
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    Even as a cyclist I'm not sure I agree with this. Does it mean a motorist is guilty (i.e. liable) until proven otherwise? Shouldn't you be presumed innocent and only be guilty when there is proof? What if a cyclist darts out from a side road and I have no chance of stopping -should I be liable?

    OT a bit: I'm from the UK originally, and now live in Boston (face blanches when thinking about driving). I also thought the Massachusetts driving test a complete farce and joke. Unfortunately most people in the UK think they are superior drivers, but even so, the standard is considerably better in Europe IMHO. And drinking and driving? Isn't it a norm in the States? Off hand, I can only think of three people I know who haven't had a few drinks and gone behind a wheel -though I think Mass. is particularly bad for that.

    Europe as a whole treats driving as a privilege you have to earn and be skilled at. I see it as a god given right in the USA. In fact, I don't know why the states don't just save money and not even bother with a test, I'm convinced the results would be the same. Oh wait, maybe that is what they do already.

    I remember reading a guide book about Portugal (printed in the States) that warned me how bad the driving was in Lisbon... once I experienced it, I laughed. Sure they drive alot faster (I distinctly recall a "Ronin" like taxi ride to the old part of town), but each driver seems to know what they are doing, the width of their car and limitations -Boston drivers, to generalize, don't know any of that. I thought it terribly condescending a guide book would do that.

    The worst thing I see in the States compared to Europe is a cultural apathy to the potential lethalness of an automobile -people just don't seem to care or want to concentrate -they do makeup, eat and hold a cell phone, read a book or the newspaper while driving, never bother to clear off snow off their cars except a for a small slit at windshield eye level (my personal favourite) or they just seem to plain forget they are behind a wheel!


    Quote Originally Posted by CycleBatten
    They really do treat driving like a skill. I knew people in Europe that studied for months to get their license, the tests are ridiculously hard, and they all know how to drive as a result of that. To get my license (about 10 months ago) I had to take a written test to get my Learner's Permit that I never studied for nor did I ever crack the Maryland Driving Handbook (I'm pretty sure I never owned one), take 30 hours of class that I slept through and still got 90s on all the assessments, and take 6 hours of behind the wheel training with a Filipino man who, for the most part, talked on his cell phone with his wife and occasionally barked out "Left/Right". I then had to take the Driver's Test which was ridiculously easy. It required no skill or work on my part to get my license and you can really tell how lax the standards are just by looking at the roadways.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy
    Even as a cyclist I'm not sure I agree with this. Does it mean a motorist is guilty (i.e. liable) until proven otherwise? Shouldn't you be presumed innocent and only be guilty when there is proof? What if a cyclist darts out from a side road and I have no chance of stopping -should I be liable?

    OT a bit: I'm from the UK originally, and now live in Boston (face blanches when thinking about driving). I also thought the Massachusetts driving test a complete farce and joke. Unfortunately most people in the UK think they are superior drivers, but even so, the standard is considerably better in Europe IMHO. And drinking and driving? Isn't it a norm in the States? Off hand, I can only think of three people I know who haven't had a few drinks and gone behind a wheel -though I think Mass. is particularly bad for that.

    Europe as a whole treats driving as a privilege you have to earn and be skilled at. I see it as a god given right in the USA. In fact, I don't know why the states don't just save money and not even bother with a test, I'm convinced the results would be the same. Oh wait, maybe that is what they do already.

    I remember reading a guide book about Portugal (printed in the States) that warned me how bad the driving was in Lisbon... once I experienced it, I laughed. Sure they drive alot faster (I distinctly recall a "Ronin" like taxi ride to the old part of town), but each driver seems to know what they are doing, the width of their car and limitations -Boston drivers, to generalize, don't know any of that. I thought it terribly condescending a guide book would do that.

    The worst thing I see in the States compared to Europe is a cultural apathy to the potential lethalness of an automobile -people just don't seem to care or want to concentrate -they do makeup, eat and hold a cell phone, read a book or the newspaper while driving, never bother to clear off snow off their cars except a for a small slit at windshield eye level (my personal favourite) or they just seem to plain forget they are behind a wheel!
    I totally agree with your assesment of driving in the US. (I've no idea how Europe compares.) I think that it is best shown by the response many, including the MTBR thread here recently and the Sec of State of Illinois, that the answer to cell phone usage is a head set. The problem is not (only) where the eyes and hands are, it's where their mind. They are suppose to be DRIVING. Guiding a 4000 pound bullet at 55+++ mph requires your total attention. To do otherwise is criminal, IMHO. - TF
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