(en) dutch go after car drivers

Elisa (elisa@tao.ca)
Fri, 28 Nov 1997 17:50:03 -0500 (EST)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------

>The Dutch are without doubt the most avid users of bicycles in Europe. With
>the number of bikes matching the population, 16 million, a new law to come
>into force early next year will give cyclists virtual right of way on many
>roads. If you're travelling in the Netherlands in your car, beware!
Colliding >with a bike will be your fault, no matter what and lengthly legal
proceedings >could follow. Stephen Fleay reports from Amsterdam: [PARA]Here in the Dutch
>capital with its narrow streets, the car almost always plays second fiddle
to >the bicycle. Tens of thousands of cyclists are on the roads each day.
>[PARA]They seem to break every rule in the book, they surge over pedestrian
>crossings, ignore red and amber lights and as a result, have countless close
>calls and more often than not, serious accidents with cars. Because cyclists
>are considered to be in a weaker position with respect to potential injury
>than someone driving an automobile, the Dutch government is set to pass some
>controversial new legislation early next year. [PARA]In future, entire
>liability for damages will be placed on the motorists and not the cyclist in
>most accidents. This is thought to be a first for any European country and
>will give the already bold Dutch cyclist, virtual right of way on city
>streets, but fortunately not on motorways or main country roads. [PARA]But
>where there is an accident involving a bicycle and a car, the motorist can
of >course opt for a legal battle. It would have to be proven in court that the
>cyclist ignored traffic regualations and acted recklessly. [PARA]That's not
>the only bad news for motorist who once the new rules come into force, will
>have to fork out 100 Dutch guilders extra each year for car insurance, about
>$50. Passengers in a car will also be able to take action against the
driver, >if an accident occurs, having similar rights to cyclist and pedestrians.
>[PARA]The Dutch government sees this as another way to perhaps encourage
>people to leave their cars at home as much as possible and avoid
congestion on >the roads. [PARA]So if you're considering a trip to the Netherlands, leave
>your car at home and get on your bike!
"I would feel less than honest if I failed to warn you against taking yourself too seriously" Hunter S. Thompson

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