Presumed liability laws do nothing for road safety

The State’s peak motoring body has slammed a suggested change to laws by Bicycle Queensland (BQ) that called for motorists involved in a collision with a cyclist to be presumed guilty.


RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said BQ’s recommendation would see the presumption of guilt fall onto any driver involved in a crash with a cyclist, unless the driver could prove their innocence.

“We’re disappointed in BQ for raising this as it’s absolutely the wrong direction when it comes to solving our road safety problems,” Mr Turner said.

“Motorists shouldn’t have to prove their innocence if they’re involved in a collision with a cyclist.

“It also makes no sense as to why BQ has come out with this view because under presumed liability any vulnerable road user is presumed innocent. Would that mean a cyclist would have to prove their innocence if involved in a collision with a pedestrian?

“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 insurance system to cover cyclists and pedestrians.

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

Mr Turner said BQ should instead focus on delivering genuine road safety improvements for cyclists.

“Ultimately, this idea from BQ is divisive and a distraction from the genuine debate we need to have about ways we can improve road safety for all road users. We want to work with other road users not be forced into unnecessary conflicts,” he said.

“We know distracted driving is an issue facing cyclists and motorists alike – this, and the introduction of separated cycling infrastructure, is what we should be focusing on if we’re to truly make our roads safer.”