Strict Liability in Cycling Laws to Ready the Roads for Environmentally Friendly Commuting

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Vol: 42, Issue: 2, Page: 473

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Maker, Colleen
Civil Procedure; Environmental Law; Insurance Law; Torts; Transportation Law
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Because automobiles cause harmful effects on the environment, the United States should encourage bicycling as an alternative means of transportation to automobiles. Many Americans elect not to cycle as a means of transportation out of fear of a collision with an automobile. Such collisions can be devastating physically and financially, and yet, after a bicycle-automobile collision, cyclists often bear the burden of proving negligence in a suit against the driver, and are often left without a remedy for their injuries. Other countries, such as the Netherlands, use a form of strict liability in lawsuits concerning bicycle-automobile collisions, which shifts the cost of such accidents to automobile drivers. U.S. courts should apply strict liability—as currently used in U.S. tort law—to collisions between cyclists and automobiles. Shifting the cost of bicycle-automobile accidents to automobile drivers will even out the consequences between cyclists and drivers, encouraging drivers to drive more safely, creating safer roads, and encouraging cycling—an environmentally friendly method of transportation—in place of driving a carbon emitting automobile.