THE state's peak motoring body has slammed a bizarre proposal for motorists to automatically be presumed guilty in crashes with cyclists.

Bicycle Queensland chief Anne Savage claimed drivers were at fault in 80 per cent of crashes with cyclists and wanted to introduce "presumed liability laws", which would require motorists to demonstrate they were not at fault in an accident

"Presumed liability laws would reduce dangerous driving, save costs on taxpayers, and increase uptake of active transport," she said.

"In the event of an accident involving a motor vehicle and a vulnerable road user, such as a cyclist, the driver's liability would automatically be covered by compulsory third-party insurance, and drivers would need to demonstrate that they were not responsible for the accident to avoid liability."

 

 

But the RACQ says the proposal is unworkable.

"Motorists shouldn't have to prove their innocence if they're involved in a collision with a cyclist," spokesman Paul Turner said.

"RACQ sees every life as valuable and equal and every crash should be investigated on the facts, not some sort of distorted liability hierarchy.

"Not only would this proposal overturn a basic premise of our legal system, that you're presumed innocent until proven guilty, it's also saying we should create a brand new compulsory third party (CTP) insurance system to cover cyclists and pedestrians."

Cyclists pictured along Sylvan Rd in Brisbane during peak hour. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning
Cyclists pictured along Sylvan Rd in Brisbane during peak hour. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning

Readers of couriermail.com.au yesterday were outraged by the suggestion.

"That would go against the foundation principle of innocence until proven guilty that underpins our entire legal system," Seath Holswich said.

Tracey Leigh said: "bloody stupid. lets give the bikes more power ..." while Allan Sasik pointed out there was a lack of proper cycling lanes.

Last year, 50 motorcyclists, 35 pedestrians and eight cyclists lost their lives on Queensland's roads.

Ms Savage said she welcomed a sensible discussion with RACQ over the debate to introduce Presumed Liability Laws.

"The default position of motor vehicle insurance companies in any accident is to deny liability, so I can understand the RACQ's rejection of presumed liability laws," she said.

"Under presumed liability laws, those who stand to lose the most are law firms and insurance investigators.

"The overall costs of claims and payouts, and the time taken to settle payouts, would in all likelihood decrease.

"With all due respect to the RACQ, we would welcome sensible discussion about presumed liability laws and how these laws could benefit all Queenslanders.

"Many other advanced countries have successfully introduced presumed liability laws - they are worthy of our consideration and would go a long way to improving road safety and ending the tragic death toll of road crashes."