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cyclists/pedestrians protected by motorists insurance?(4 posts)

cyclists/pedestrians protected by motorists insurance?MJ
Jul 11, 2002 12:55 AM
From the BBC website at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_2097000/2097872.stm
Plus the opportunity to comment on "Should cyclists and pedestrians be protected by a motorist's insurance?"

Blame it on the driver

Blameless drivers may be forced to compensate careless cyclists and pedestrians in road accidents, under new EU plans to shake up the UK's insurance market.

Motorists involved in road accidents which are not their fault may still lose their no claims bonus under new proposals to shake up insurance laws.

Plans drawn up by Brussels mean car drivers would automatically take the rap in any accident, regardless of who was really to blame.

It could mean pedestrians and cyclists receive compensation, even if they were the cause of the accident.

If the plans are enacted, it could also bump up the price of insurance premiums, and there are fears that it could lead some drivers to take their chances and forgo any insurance cover.

Already up to 10% - or 2.5 million - drivers take to the road illegally, without any cover, says the RAC Foundation.

Harmonisation

"The extra burden could tip more hard-pressed motorists over the edge, into not getting insured," said RAC spokesman Edmund King.

The proposal, drawn up by the European Commission, is part of an effort to harmonise motor insurance laws across the EU.

It makes the point that "while pedestrians and cyclists may be the cause of some accidents, motor vehicles cause most accidents".

Yet this has also been challenged recently.

New research by the RAC shows more than a third of adult pedestrians killed on the UK's roads each year have an alcohol level over the legal limit for driving.

The incidence of alcohol among fatally injured adult pedestrians has been increasing in recent years.

'No fault liability'

Currently, if a pedal cyclist or pedestrian has an accident with a motorist, liability rests with the one who was at fault.

The new proposals would effectively put an end to any dispute, since the motorist would always be judged liable.

The principle is known as "no fault liability".

Road accident expert, Roger Thorn QC, said the idea has been floated in the UK for 20 years.

"It's true that motor vehicles cause more accidents than pedestrians and cyclists. But there seems to me to be a terrific hole in the plan," says Mr Thorn, author of a Practical Guide to Road Traffic Claims.

Unfair, say cyclists

"The fact is you can never account for the drunken man who stumbles out of a pub in a poorly lit street, wearing dark clothing, and walks into the line of a passing car."

But criticism of the plan is not confined to drivers. Although cyclists have everything to gain from the proposal, some of those commenting on an online discussion board, called the idea unfair.

"That's a bit crap for people like the woman I smashed into on my road bike whilst trying to bunny hop it off a curb in rush hour traffic. I wouldn't have had to cough up £250 and they'd have had to pay for my new bike," said one contributor to the Singletrack.com site.

The Association of British Insurers confirmed that, if the plans were enacted, a faultless driver could still end up with a claim on their insurance record.

But insurance companies may choose not to apply these rules, said Jo Dagustun, of ABI's motor section.

The proposal is currently in the committee stage of the European Parliament and is expected to come before the full parliament in November.
re: cyclists/pedestrians protected by motorists insurance?scruffyduncan
Jul 11, 2002 1:04 AM
no cars = no serious damage to anyone. I think the point they are making is that when you decide to drive a car you are significantly increasing the risk of a serious accident, whether it's your "fault" or not. Of cours if you drive at 5mph you should be exempt from this extra charge.
Not as greater change as it appreas.....muncher
Jul 11, 2002 1:10 AM
The current motor insurance situation is that an accident is a "fault" one (i.e. the insured's) unless a recovery was made from a third party.

Thus for example, if someone smacks your car whist unattended in a carpark, or you are the victim of a hit and run, you will be at fault - and loose your no claims bounus - regardless of the fact that it was not your "fault" on any sane construction of the term.

It's another nice example of the ruses insuraces companies dream up as a cartel to empty your pockets...
Over in the U.S.kenyee
Jul 11, 2002 8:11 AM
The insurance companies seem to put all the most popular cars on the "most likely to be stolen" list so they can claim they need higher premiums on those cars. No mention of how they calculate the probability...there's a huge difference in a theft rate in the total # of all cars, vs. the rate in the # of that specific car.

Having the driver always get the blame as I understand the article is ridiculous. I'd go walk in front of all the politicians while they were driving to see how they like the new law...