DRIVERS involved in collisions with cyclists or pedestrians could be presumed to be responsible for accidents in future, say the Liberal Democrats.
And Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood, himself an avid cyclist, agrees the policy should be considered.
The Liberal Democrat, who has been MP for the town since 2005, said: "It is still up for debate and isn't our party policy yet, but I certainly think we should consider it.
"We need to bring it home that cyclists are very vulnerable road users. I would like to hear both sides of the argument. It's a policy that works well across the continent."
The proposal, which will presume liability on motorists, will be discussed at Lib Dem conference in September where delegates will have the chance to vote on whether it is adopted as party policy.
Lib Dems official policies are driven by the members from the bottom up, rather than the party leadership.
They are trying to tackle figures that show hundreds of cyclists are killed across the UK every year in collisions with vehicles and many more are injured.
Lib Dem campaigner Max Wilkinson, 29, of The Park, said: "As somebody who cycles to work every day, I have seen plenty of examples of reckless behaviour on the roads by both motorists and other cyclists.
"I think a greater level of empathy is needed on the part of cyclists and motorists and we should end the unfortunate adversarial tone that is popular in most debates about this.
"Cycling is one of the main ways we can reduce congestion on town roads and I'm in favour of measures to get more people doing it, but I'm not convinced that presuming guilt on the part of motorists will do that.
"I'd rather see more focus on lowering urban speed limits, safer cycling routes and filling potholes, which will ultimately make all of us safer."
Road safety consultant Keith Fagan saidd: "I can understand why they are saying it, but a lot of civil cases depend on a percentage of liability on both parties. Every case should be looked at on it merits."
FOLLOWING publication of this story, Mr Horwood has asked us to make clear that he supports a debate on the issue, but has not yet decided whether he supports the measure.