I NOTE that the presumed liability argument has been resurrected once again (Letters, August 17). As an ancient cyclist with the calf muscles to prove it, I am sorry to have to say that collisions are inevitable, given the narrow, winding roads that both cyclists and heavy traffic inhabit and, on occasion, the attitude of today's cyclists.

The truth is that bikes belong to the era of horses and carts and, though the design has improved over the years, two slow wheels are still two slow wheels. In that time motorised traffic has increased and is heavier and what we see every day in my local area of Lochaber, especially in the summer months, are long lines of traffic held up by increasingly militant cyclists who refuse to pull in or even ride single file to let traffic pass safely. Yet they face no proficiency or safety tests, ride cycles that are not inspected for defects, have no registration numbers and pay no insurance - yet everyone else on the roads is expected to give way to them and to be judged instantly guilty of any infringement. They are not allowed on motorways with two or three lanes in each direction on safety grounds, yet, bizarrely, are allowed on narrow dual carriageways with no pavements, very inadequate grass verges and numerous blind corners. It makes no sense.

I live along a nine-mile single track road with many passing places on either side. The rule is that if traffic meets the vehicle nearest to a passing place pulls in to allow the other to pass. This system works perfectly - except where cyclists are concerned. Recently the many potholes on the road were fixed, and we have since been inundated by groups of cyclists who simply refuse to obey any rule they don't want to obey.

The other week I was berated by a posse waving two-finger salutes and using the usual abusive and threatening language because I reminded them that the rules applied to them too and that they should have pulled into a passing place on their side which was only feet behind them. That kind of attitude and behaviour is far too common and we are subjected to it so often that we expect nothing better. Presumed liability is nonsense if there are no rules of any kind that apply to cyclists, at least none that they will obey.

Robert F Henderson,

Achaphubuil, Fort William.

I SEE no logic whatever in the argument that in any collision between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, the vehicle driver must always be assumed to be the one responsible, whether the liability is absolute, strict, or merely presumed (Letters, August 17). Of course in any such accident the unprotected cyclist will almost always come off worst, but that does not mean that he or she must always be the innocent party.

My window overlooks the junction of Great Western Road, a busy main city artery, with Dorchester Avenue, a popular shortcut from Bearsden avoiding Anniesland Cross, and Cranborne Road, the main access to Anniesland College. The traffic lights are timed to give road traffic and pedestrians safe passage, provided everyone observes them. It is quite a common sight to see cyclists jump the red light, or ride on pavements to avoid the constant flow of vehicles.

Some months ago I saw a car turning into Dorchester Avenue waiting in the central reservation for the red light to stop east-bound traffic. When the light changed he began to move forward, only to be met with a cyclist jumping the lights who had come up inside the line of waiting vehicles and was therefore hidden by them. Only the slow speed of the car and the rapid reaction of the driver prevented an accident where the cyclist would certainly have come off worst.

Surely it cannot be argued that in such a situation the car driver should automatically be regarded as guilty? Even if there had been a cycle lane on what is already just a two-lane carriageway, that would not have prevented the incident. If pedestrians have to obey the traffic lights to safeguard themselves, why should some cyclists on the road think they don’t have to, and claim that the vehicle driver must always be the one to take proper care?

Iain AD Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

I WAS delighted to see Scott Whyte step forward to support presumed liability for vulnerable road users (“Presumed liability is best way for protecting cyclists and pedestrians,”, The Herald, August 15).

It is both significant and heartening that almost four years after Cycle Law Scotland launched Road Share and 18 months following the publication of our extensive research paper, that another Personal Injury Solicitor has voiced support for our calls for presumed liability as a means to promote quicker and fairer justice.

The cold reality is that if a car even nudges a cyclist at a roundabout or pulls out at a junction without seeing an approaching cyclist, it’s the cyclist that is likely to suffer serious injury. More often than is acceptable in a modern society, the injured cyclist – or in the worst case scenarios, the bereaved family – is then forced to fight against a large, process-driven insurance company, to prove they were not at fault and receive appropriate compensation.

Of course, everyone has a responsibility to share the road with respect for others around them, but is it not just and reasonable to ask those in charge of a powerful motor vehicle to acknowledge the disproportionate impact they can have on the more vulnerable? Is the recovery of the injured not more important that repairing the dent in a car?

Brenda Mitchell,

Senior Partner,

Cycle Law Scotland and Founder of Road Share, the Campaign for presumed liability for vulnerable road users.

16-20 Castle Street, Edinburgh.