Leader: ‘The solution put forward is seductive’

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Cycling safety has improved a great deal in Edinburgh in recent years. Not only is there a growing network of cycle lanes, but also an increasing awareness of the need for motorists to give more space to bikes.

Of course, much more needs to be done. You don’t have to study the Capital’s horrific cycling road 
accident statistics to realise that. The question is, how do you improve road safety, especially on those stretches of the city’s streets where it is impossible, or nigh on impossible, to create separate cycle paths.

The solution put forward by the Cycle Law Scotland campaign is seductive. Putting the onus on motorists to avoid cycle accidents by creating a legal assumption that they are to blame unless they can prove otherwise would change the driving culture on our roads.

Car drivers would be forced to give bikes a wide berth for fear of being sued for any bump or scrape.

It would also put an end to interminable legal process that some families have had to go through following fatal accidents.

Similar laws are credited with helping create cycle friendly streets in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The problem with such a law is that it is divisive. The idea that one person should be viewed differently by our courts simply due to the type of transport they use, is not just.

Good laws must be underpinned by a sense of fairness. The alternative is that they create antagonism.

In this case, it would be easy to imagine a worsening of the sometimes fractitious relationship between motorists and cyclists which does nothing to improve safety. There are many other ways to make our roads safer for cyclists. Making bike awareness a compulsory part of the driving test is just one excellent example of what we should be doing instead of creating an unjust law.

Home comforts

THE idea of teaching patients how to treat themselves at home may instantly raise cost-cutting alarm bells. But the pioneering project we report on today should not be dismissed so readily.

It not only frees up space in 
under-pressure hospitals but giving people the option of administering their own intravenous drugs at home is undoubtedly more convenient and comfortable for many.

Provided patient choice remains at the fore, and those who would prefer to be treated in hospital are still allowed to do so, then this is exactly the kind of initiative which should be supported. No-one like visiting hospital and anything which makes treatment easier has to be a good thing. There is after all, no place like home.