Fines for motorists straying into bike lanes?

Car drivers may be fined for straying into bike lanes and drivers could take automatic blame for any collision or accident with cyclists. The two ideas, which will enrage some motorists, will be debated by the Lib Dems at their Glasgow conference in September.

At least one of the proposals goes against a central tenet of natural justice. Are the Lib Dems serious?

No comment

"We're not commenting on it," the Lib Dem Press office said when AOL Money called. Fines for car drivers straying into cycle lanes have already begun in South West London with new £30 penalties for drivers attempting to beat traffic queues, according to the Mail.

The cycling proposals are being pedalled by Lib Dem MP Dr Julian Huppert for Cambridge, a keen cyclist. (Mr Huppert, according to Cambridge News, has in the past been injured from riding his bike too fast down a hill).

An AA spokesperson gave a guarded responses to AOL Money on the proposals: "By all means let's have a consultation, but people need to understand the extreme unease from drivers should they be blamed for something they have no influence over."

Fair and proportionate?

Many cyclists are uninsured, in contrast with many horse riders says the AA. "Many [horse riders] are doubly insured, through insurance schemes and membership of the British Horse Society. The majority have insurance, often up to £1m per incident. They understand that liability goes both ways."

The idea that motorists could be automatically liable for the actions of cyclists also goes against the ethos of the Highway Code, which advises both motorists and cyclists to keep an eye out for each other.

See Rule 72, "When approaching a junction on the left, watch out for vehicles turning in front of you, out of or into the side road. Just before you turn, check for undertaking cyclists or motorcyclists. Do not ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left."

So, how workable are the ideas? Could they help preserve the life of more cyclists on British roads, and encourage greener transport? Or are these proposals unsafe?

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