The Scottish Trades Union Congress has lent its backing to the campaign for a change in the law that its supporters say would make the roads much safer for cyclists. 

At its annual congress the STUC voted to support presumed liability of the motorist in vehicle-cycle collisions, along with employer initatives and more cycle routes to encourage more people to take to their bikes.

Presumed liability would put the burden on the motorist to show they were not at fault, thus making it easier for cyclists to claim compensation after an accident. Campaigners maintain that such a law, which already exists in parts of Europe, would encourage greater awareness of cyclists among drivers.

Because it would be expressed in terms of protecting the more vulnerable road user against the more powerful, it would also work in favour of pedestrians against both motorists and cyclists.

The campaign was begun three years ago by solicitor Brenda Mitchell, who describes the present law as "an archaic regime where the odds are frequently stacked against the vulnerable".