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23 February 2012
The AA has always had an interest in cycling and safety
The first AA patrols rode cycles from 1905 – some 40 years before patrol vans – and they were a regular sight on the nation's roads until the outbreak of the Second World War.
The AA has always had an interest in cycling and safety. Many of our staff, including AA President Edmund King, are enthusiastic cyclists and we we always get a good turn out (from our CEO down) at London-Brighton and other cycling charity events.
The AA would like to see more cycle training across the UK as AA/Populus figures show that less than one quarter of AA members who cycle have ever taken any cycle training.
We hope that AA cycle safety initiatives will help cyclists and motorists, who are often the same people, coexist in harmony on our roads.
Eighteen per cent of AA members (approx 1.5 million) cycle on a regular basis but we expect to see this number increase as fuel prices continue to escalate.
Last year the AA Charitable Trust ran a cycle safety initiative giving away 5,000 free helmets and high visibility vests to London cyclists.
The response from Londoners was overwhelmingly positive. We had nurses, plumbers, police, lawyers, parking attendants, students all queuing for their helmets. In fact the give-away ended early as we ran out of stock.
Views and attitudes of potential drivers can be formed at a very early age and are often already entrenched before a teenager gets behind the wheel of a car.
Cycle safety should be embraced within a broader road safety strategy.
In road traffic personal injury cases in the UK, the burden of proof is on the victim to prove the other party is negligent. Under strict liability, the burden of proof is reversed. Vulnerable victims, not drivers, are the ones assumed innocent with regard to causing their injuries. It is up to the driver to prove the pedestrian or cyclists were negligent. Strict liability only applies to civil compensation and does not affect criminal prosecution.
We agree with Norman Baker Mp, Transport Minister, who stated:” So the Department has focused on those approaches to behaviour change rather than insurance or liability.
Any change in the law is likely to be very contentious and it would be important to have strong evidence of a benefit to justify a change in the law."
The AA does not believe the liability law should be changed.
(24 February 2012)