A FORMER Scottish rugby star and his wife have thrown their weight behind a campaign calling for motorists to be held responsible for all collisions with cyclists after two of their friends were killed in crashes.
Scott Hastings, who earned 65 international caps for Scotland between 1986 and 1997, has joined calls for stricter liability laws to help protect Scotland’s vulnerable road users.
Under proposals drivers would be held responsible by default in crashes involving cyclists, unless it can be clearly proven the latter was to blame, under the liability law plans - ma model adopted by many European countries. The rugby star’s wife, Jenny, trained under the leadership of Douglas Brown of the Edinburgh Triathletes Club who was killed in a collision with a truck in West Lothian last month.
The couple were also friends with 47-year-old Andrew McMenigall – a triathlon coach at the same club killed just weeks earlier.
Andrew and Toby Wallace were killed on the first day of a 960-mile charity cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Both men knew the couple through the Edinburgh Triathletes Club, where Mr McMenigall coached.
Mr Brown, a founding member of the club, had also trained Mrs Hastings for a number of years.
The experience has encouraged the Edinburgh couple, who are keen amateur riders, to lend their names to Cycle Law Scotland’s (CLS) petition calling for a stricter liability law to protect Scotland’s vulnerable road users by making motorists automatically at fault in collisions with cyclists.
The former rugby star said: “For Jenny and I, this is all about awareness. All road users need to be far more aware of cyclists who use the road. This can be as simple as giving more space to a cyclist when passing or overtaking but we also believe that cyclists also have a responsibility to be more visible to other road users.
“Cycle Law Scotland’s (CLS) campaign will help to make our roads safer for all cyclists and we would urge as many people as possible to support this worthwhile cause.”
CLS was set up by Brenda Mitchell, a keen cyclist and a personal injury lawyer.
The group is hoping to introduce a member’s bill to the Scottish Parliament this autumn with the hope of changing the law.
However, opponents of the proposals have argued that all road users should share an equal responsibility for safety.
Alan Douglas, a member of the Institute for Advanced Motoring, previously said: “This assumption that it is always the motorist at fault is absolutely breathtaking.”
Ms Mitchell said: “I am delighted to welcome Scott and Jenny’s support for the Road Share campaign. Road safety measures affect us all and I am pleased they are both able to recognise the benefits a strict liability regime could introduce.”Almost 3500 signatures have been collected by Cycle Law Scotland in support of the campaign.