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For 67 year old experienced cyclist Alexander Gibson, a leisurely tour of the North West highlands turned out to be the beginning of a long and painful legal battle after being accused of being responsible for a serious collision with a minibus which put him in hospital.

After 18 months fighting against the driver’s large insurance company, they finally admitted liability, showing just how necessary it is to make changes to the way vulnerable road users are treated in the event of road traffic accidents. 

Mr Gibson, from West Lothian, typically rides around 200 miles a week. He was travelling on the popular tourist route along the A87, just four miles south of Eilean Donan Castle, when he was struck from behind and thrown from his bicycle on 1 April 2013. 

Paramedics found Alexander lying in the middle of his carriageway with his bike on the verge. An investigation later established the rear of Mr Gibson’s saddle had been hit by the minibus’ front right wing whilst the vehicle was attempting to overtake.

However, because of Alex’s deteriorating medical condition at the scene of the accident, paramedics were forced to remove him to hospital before the police arrived. This meant the only version of events the police officer heard was that of the minibus driver who claimed Alex had veered into his path. The police chose not bring any criminal charges.

Mr Gibson then sought the help of specialist law firm Cycle Law Scotland and proceeded to raise a civil case against the driver.

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Alex said: 

“Since my accident, I felt like I had to continually fight my corner against the police, the driver and his insurance provider.  

“On the day of the collision, my wife was not informed by officers of what had happened and it took five hours and some of her own detective work to discover I was lying in the local hospital. 

“I felt truly shocked that the police had made their decision not to prosecute the driver and that I was now being accused of fault in my hospital bed.  

“When I contacted Cycle Law Scotland, it was to find out how they could help me seek some level of justice. 

“I am glad the driver has finally admitted liability, but it doesn’t make up for the time lost and the pain I’ve suffered.”  

Initially, the hospital had reported to police that Mr Gibson had suffered a soft tissue injury to his right shoulder and right arm as well as lacerations to his right elbow which required stitches and that he was waiting on X-rays for a suspected fracture. It wasn’t until three months later, during further medical investigations proposed by Cycle Law Scotland, that the full extent of Alex’s injuries were discovered. He had actually suffered three separate cracks in the bones around his pelvis. 

His injuries left him unable to drive or cycle and he was required to use crutches for eight weeks. 

Brenda Mitchell, specialist Lawyer at Cycle Law Scotland and the founder of the Road Share campaign for presumed liability on Scotland’s roads, said: 

“Mr Gibson’s situation seemed like an open and shut case at first, but the failure of the insurance company to answer our letter of claim and all calls over the initial six months resulted in proceedings being raised in Court.  

“The driver’s insurance company finally admitted liability just two months before the court hearing date.  

“In this case, I made reference to Rule 163 of the Highway Code which indicates that drivers should give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car when overtaking. Had the driver of the minibus done that, this incident would not have occurred. Consequently, the significant costs incurred to the drivers’ insurance company could have been avoided.

“If we had a system of presumed liability in Scottish Civil Law, it would have been up to the insurance company to prove that Alexander Gibson was at fault not the other way around. 

“Under presumed liability, liability could have been admitted in a matter of weeks and the case would have been settled with very little cost to the insurance company and much less emotional turmoil for the injured cyclist.”

Steering Group


The Road Share campaign has set up a steering group to take things forward.

To find out more about the individual members of the Steering group and its overall remit.

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Celebrity Supporters


The Campaign has successfully attracted a number of celebrity supporters who feel strongly about the introduction of presumed liability and have given their support.

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