Martin Porter QC, the barrister who blogs under the name the Cycling Lawyer, says he is willing to take the case of a cyclist fined for speeding in Richmond Park to the Divisional Court – provided it can attract the support of a cycling organisation. Porter believes Richmond Park regulations are so poorly drafted that there is a good argument that bikes are not considered vehicles, meaning the speed limits do not apply to them.
Paul Harness was riding down Sawyers Hill on January 11 when he was stopped by a police officer who had been parked behind a tree with a speed gun. Harness says he was charged with speeding and driving without due care on a bicycle and after pleading not guilty at Lavender Hill Magistrates, he was fined £200 for each offence, plus £200 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Michael ‘Dr Hutch’ Hutchinson – who himself has a PhD in law and who has previously spoken to us about this very issue – has since retweeted a link to our story, saying that the Richmond Park speed limit almost certainly doesn't apply to cyclists. In response, Porter tweeted: “I would take that to the Divisional Court on 'no win, no fee'.”
Porter subsequently told us that he had previously looked into the matter “and decided that the regulations which apply to Richmond Park were so ineptly drafted that there was a good argument that the speed limits did not apply to bicycles since they were arguably not vehicles for the purposes of those regulations.”
Even if Porter is asked to pursue the case, it would bring expenses other than his fees – significant ones for a case that only resulted in a £200 fine. The support of a cycling organisation would most likely be required and the Cyclists’ Defence Fund is considering lending its backing.
For his part, Harness says he would be pleased if something could come of his experience. “I would love for some clarity to come from this. At least then when I roll down Sawyers Hill I'll know what's in store from the man in the bush.”