Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BAC statement in support of contributory negligence reform

Bicycle Advisory Council chair David Cranor today issued the following statement in response to the D.C. Council vote in support of contributory negligence reform.

The legislation, the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016, will be enacted pending a second affirmative Council vote, anticipated in the fall. The act would permit bicyclists and pedestrians to receive compensation from a driver's insurance as long as the non-motorized party is less than 50 percent at fault. Under current law, a bicyclist or pedestrian deemed 1 percent at fault is ineligible for any compensation. This contributory negligence policy would be replaced by a form of comparative negligence.

Said BAC chair Cranor:

"The Bicycle Advisory Council supports this measure. The consequences of a crash between a cyclist and driver are often unevenly distributed, with the cyclist generally bearing the greater burden. Under current law, cyclists also generally bear the greater financial burden even when other parties might be more at fault. This is wholly unfair. Changing the law does not change the distribution of risk, but brings the law more in line with our sense of fairness. The BAC applauds and supports the District's goal of creating a safer and more bicycle-friendly community and we believe that this law is a significant step in that direction."