A petition set up to end “David and Goliath” legal battles between cyclists and insurance firms is close to reaching the 10,000 mark.

The campaigners are petitioning the Scottish Government calling for a Member's Bill for presumed liability between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

The campaign to introduce presumed liability into civil law to protect vulnerable road users is broadening, as the Scottish push, Road Share, is being taken up by an increasing number of cyclists as well as policy-makers, lawyers and insurance companies in different parts of Great Britain and Ireland.

Below: Adventurer Mark Beaumont supports campaign

The Herald: Mark Beaumont. (53970729)

There is no threshold for the number of signatures required to spark a debate at the petitions committee to Holyrood, the subject of a petition need only fall within the scope of their parameters.

The group said there is the danger Scotland could fall behind the rest of the UK as key policy-making figures south of the Border such as the Director of Pubic Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer QC, have indicated a potential place for presumed liability.

According to Road Share, introducing presumed liability would rectify a system that is “out of date and inherently unjust”.

Brenda Mitchell, the founder of Cycle Law Scotland and Road Share, said Holyrood should act to keep up with law changes elsewhere.

She said: “When it comes to road traffic collisions where a cyclist is hit by a car, or indeed where a pedestrian is knocked over by a cyclist, we have an archaic system where the odds are frequently stacked against the vulnerable and receiving compensation quickly and fairly in many cases is impossible without resort to litigation which adds to the distress of those who have been injured through no fault of their own.

“We think it is right for Scotland to lead the rest of the UK by changing its civil law to respect and protect the vulnerable in society by moving to a system of presuming liability to support cyclists and pedestrians injured in road traffic collisions.

“However, what started as a Scottish campaign has been taken up across the British Isles and the fear is that Scotland could be overtaken in terms of policy leadership.”

Insurance brokers including Yellow Jersey and Kwik Fit Insurance Services are also backing the campaign.

Stewart Barnett, Kwik Fit Insurance, said: “In a recent Kwik Fit survey into the UK’s attitudes towards road cycling of nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) that have cycled on the road before, only 26 per cent would feel safe doing so.

“That’s a huge number of people who still feel road cycling is an unsafe option, so we’ve been looking for solutions.

“Currently the UK is one of only a few countries in the EU not to have implemented a ‘presumed liability’ policy. Presumed liability essentially means that in the case of a road accident, liability lies with the most 'powerful' person involved – for example, a driver would be considered liable in a collision with a cyclist.

“This doesn’t refer to criminal liability, but does allow for claims, compensation and potentially medical aid to be managed far more quickly, lessening the trauma for all parties involved.”