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Australia Today

Cyclists Cause Two Out of Five Crashes With Cars, Minister Says

A proposal to assign automatic fault to the driver has been canned.

Cyclists and drivers across the country have long blamed each other for dodgy driving/not looking/failing to provide enough room on the road. And for a while it looked like QLD drivers might be automatically blamed for any any crashes involving cyclists, if a (cyclist-backed) proposal went ahead.

But according to the Brisbane Times, this proposal has been officially thrown out. It took the form of a petition asking for Queensland civil liability laws to favour cyclists, and was signed by more than 1000 people. “Vulnerable road users involved in a collision - who have the least potential to cause death or injury, are usually the only casualty and often the only witness other than the motorist - will often be unable to give evidence due to the injuries sustained,” the petition read.

Bicycle Queensland chief executive Anne Savage told Fairfax that motorists would still have options when it came to proving the liability of the other party, if cyclists were at fault. However, Minister Mark Bailey said a law change was not being considered by the government. Bailey pointed to Queensland Police Service crash data, which shows cyclists were at fault 41 percent of the time in bike/car crashes between 2012 and 2016. "Issues of liability of the different parties in a crash are … likely to be best left to the legal process, without a reverse onus of proof being introduced," Bailey wrote in response to the presumed liability proposal.

"This reflects a long-standing principle in our legal system."

Statistics tend to vary depending on the state and research centre, as Brisbane Times points out. Monash University Accident Research Centre study found drivers were at fault in 87 percent of crashes with cyclists. A Royal Automobile Association of South Australia found the cyclist was at fault 30 percent of the time, while Adelaide University's Centre for Automotive Safety Research found 80 percent of crashes between cars and bicycles were caused by the driver.