Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Motorists versus cyclists

Today Ana told me about a current Spanish news story: a motorist ran over a teenage cyclist some time ago, killing him, and recently took the boy's family to court for the cost of repairing his expensive car. It seems that the accident was entirely the cyclist's fault, no argument about that; but nevertheless the case has generated so much unfavourable attention that the man has now withdrawn it.

I can see both points of view on this. On the one hand, as a motorist I don't see why I should pay any costs of an accident that was someone else's fault. On the other hand, as a sometime cyclist I feel it should be recognized that the car is the lethal ingredient in this situation. If the boy had crashed into another cyclist, I suppose the cost of the accident would be relatively low in both human and cash terms. It's the use of the motor car in general that causes the risk of death and the risk of expensive repairs, so arguably motorists as a class should bear such costs even if the specific motorist is not at fault.