AS a consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon I am weary of fixing fractures in injured cyclists and the carnage that is caused in often young working lives (Letters, July 30, 31, August 1 & August 2).

I enjoy my job, but I'd rather not have to spend time in the operating theatre with this unfortunate group.

Cyclists seriously injured in a road traffic incident, and the families of those killed, typically battle through the legal process for more than two years before receiving compensation or the full and proper medical care for injuries. This is despite the fact that many cases brought to court are found against the motorist and in favour of the cyclist.

It only has to be a matter of time before strict liability or some form of it becomes law in the United Kingdom. There is certainly a lot of catching up to do. At present, there is a lot of misunderstanding of the concepts.

Strict liability will enable cyclists and other vulnerable road users who are involved in road traffic accidents to be compensated fairly and quickly. Strict liability should establish a hierarchical structure to identify responsibility in the event of a road traffic accident, bringing certainty to the legal process. The United Kingdom is out of step with Europe as one of only five European Union countries (along with Cyprus, Malta, Romania and Ireland) that does not operate a system of strict liability for vulnerable road users and yet it is not unprecedented in United Kingdom law.

The concept of strict liability is confusing for many with the terminology of strict, stricter and presumed liability confounding most members of the public who won't know or care about the difference. Many also confuse civil and criminal law - a further obstacle to overcome.

It's only sensible that there should be a strong bend to the weak. A motorist should be presumed liable for insurance purposes when they hit a cyclist and cyclists presumed liable when they hit a pedestrian.

Our legal system expects those injured or the families of those killed to go through an often harsh and protracted process to gain much-needed treatment, care or compensation. On the continent, forms of strict liability are seen as an integral factor of cycle safety.

Further protection should be made available to the elderly, disabled and young road users, as is the case in most European countries where strict liability regimes exist. In these countries, those who are disabled, under the age of 14 and over 70 are afforded further protection in civil law to such an extent that in a collision with a motorised vehicle it is the motorist who is deemed to be at fault.

Campaigns for "mutual respect" for cyclists and drivers will generate some change in road users' behaviour. The Scottish Government and Cycling Scotland have just launched the Nice Way Code for mutual respect ("Scheme aims to change behaviour on roads", The Herald, July 29). It's only fair that all road users adhere completely to the Highway Code. Let's not forget the vast majority of cyclists are also motorists.

Of course more needs to be done to improve cycle training. Softer campaigns such as "give me three feet" are unfortunately technically legally unenforceable. There needs to be a fundamental change in the mindset of all road users.

Road justice should also be fair. Groups are starting to drive the petitions and generation of a member's bill into the Scottish Parliament designed to protect the most vulnerable road users and to reflect a hierarchy of road users. Previous attempts to generate a bill have failed against severe criticism from road transport groups and misinformed media. It's only fair that the dangers cyclists face from motorists are correctly legally addressed and a change in attitudes amongst road users to one based on mutual respect and understanding is enforced.

The United Kingdom certainly needs to come in line with the rest of Europe. I expect we will end up with a form of presumed liability in the not too distant future.

Chris Oliver,

Consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon, Edinburgh, and chairman, Scottish Cyclists' Touring Club, Morningside, Edinburgh.

I NOTE the large number of car drivers who comment on cyclists failing to wear fluorescent clothing when out on the road.

I hope that these same drivers will make every effort to ensure that their own black or dark-coloured cars can be easily seen by pedestrians and cyclists. They can achieve this by using their car's running lights or dipped headlights at all times.

Alternatively they can purchase white, yellow or fluorescent cars.

Charles Thompson,

60 Grandtully Drive,


I WOULD like to thank Susan McKenzie for her supportive letter (August 1). I back the idea of licensing plates for bicycles. I have also suffered the kind of abuse Ms McKenzie describes and wish the police would act on the matter.

Morag McAlpine,

2 Marchmont Terrace, Glasgow.

I NOTE with interest your report about Glasgow's motorists paying out £11,000 a day in bus lane fines, more than three times the amount than Edinburgh and Aberdeen ("City council earns £11,000 a day from bus lane penalty fines", The Herald, August 1). It begs the question of whether this scheme really works, or whether more needs done to encourage us to change our ways and ditch the car for the bus .

Some 174,448 penalty notices were issued in Glasgow between April 2012 and July 4, 2013, an average of 397 per day compared to 100 fines a day in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

This would be fine if the money collected were re-invested in fixing and resurfacing pot holes. But this does not seem to be the case.

Glasgow City Council insists the cameras are a deterrent, in that 10,000 fewer fines were issued in May 2013 than in May 2012.

Unless far more is done by the council and bus companies alike to incentive road users to switch to buses or abide by the bus lane ban nothing will change.

Jill Ferguson,

6 Crow Road,

Partick, Glasgow.