LET us assume that Alistair Easton (Letters, July 10) is not an idiot or stupid, but he is wrong on several counts.

He calls for more legislation, although there are already Scottish laws for strict liability and presumed liability in place to protect people from occurrences the law considers inherently dangerous. At the moment they do not cover one of the most hazardous day to day situations; that are caused by motor vehicles. That is reason why they have to carry insurance, by law.

He is right that it is the civil law presumed liability, not strict, which is being advocated by William Neilson in his considered letter of July 9.

The sound principle of "innocent until proven guilty" stands. Rather, in civil matters the burden of proof is to be put on the party most likely to create the damage. As Mr Neilson says, the insurance company can then automatically get on with assessing any compensation due without the victim or their family having the agony of a long drawn-out and tortuous process through the courts to get justice. This would save insurers as well; not having to use their weight or resources to try and "get away with it". It can even save on insurance premiums. Presumed liability leaves the door open for them to rebut the presumption in any case.

Nearly all other European counties have some form of strict or presumed liability as part of their road safety regime, which has been shown to result in much better cooperation on the roads and fewer crashes. In countries with high levels of cycling, and a far better injury records than us, wearing helmets is practically unknown. The only substantive study on helmets that bears scrutiny, I’m aware of was by Ian Walker of the University of Bath, which demonstrates that drivers pass closer to cyclists wearing a helmet. A further study on a range of clothing, including hi-vis, also showed no significant differences in space given to cyclists. It seems to depend on the expectations and alertness of the driver and the time needed to compute the situation; that is, speed.

Many cyclists do actually have insurance through membership of Cycling UK or British Cycling. That could prove useful if they should happen to be in collision with a pedestrian. Although the damage done is likely to be a fraction of that cause by a motor vehicle, under presumed liability hierarchy they would be liable since a person on foot would be the more vulnerable road user.

Now is the time, with so many new and returning cyclists, to introduce this bit of life-saving legislation to Scotland.

Peter Hayman, Glasgow G1.

ALISTAIR Easton's response makes sensible and enlightened sense in response to the somewhat strange and misguided thinking from William Neilson. Anyone venturing on to a public highway should be subject to rules of use relative to the vehicle used, including and especially cyclists, the only road users exempt from any but the most basic rules. A cyclist can take to the road with no training whatsoever in how to behave in today's traffic. They are just as capable of causing accidents as any other road user, vehicle size is irrelevant. And if cyclists are at risk from two-ton cars as Mr Neilson claims, then in terms of vehicle size don't motorcyclists, by his thinking, face the same danger? Taken to its logical conclusion would this mean the largest vehicle involved in an accident would be automatically at fault?

It's time cyclists were made to account for their own safety and that of others, undergo a form of preparation training, as motorcyclists do, before venturing on to the road and have mandatory insurance.

Local authorities could tackle the cyclist problem by creating a set of rules allowing dual pedestrian/cycle use of appropriate pavements particularly where they carry little pedestrian traffic.

John A Smith, Dunblane.

I AM grateful for Alistair Easton's letter pointing out my stupidity.

When that SUV driver tried to kill me on my cycle last Wednesday, passing within a foot of me, squeezing me onto the grass verge, causing that bus to stop to let it slip by and making the UPS driver stop to check I was ok, it turns out it was my fault.

My helmet, my orange jacket, my lights, my brain were all faulty, or inadequate or stupid.

The driver didn't stop to tell me this: they scampered off, smartly and with an air of entitlement.

Allan McDougall, Neilston.