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"You’re not going to legislate away these sort of incidents": Martin Porter KC on cycling and the law + cycling and mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week

"There's no real problem here, there's nothing that justifies taking away parliamentary time from the more important problems that we face", says Martin Porter KC on the same week the Government announced tougher laws to crack down on dangerous cycling...

It's episode 77 of the road.cc Podcast, and arguably one of our most thought-provoking episodes to date. In part 1 George and Jack sit down with Martin Porter KC for a wide-ranging discussion on cycling and the law following some recent high-profile cases, and in part 2 we're talking cycling and mental health to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

 

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A leading barrister specialising in personal injury, Martin Porter KC has plenty to say when it comes to calls for tougher laws on dangerous cycling, expressing frustration that so much attention is paid to rare incidents of cyclists and pedestrian collisions when so many more incidents involve motorists. 

He says: “You hear these ridiculous assertions that cyclists should be treated in parity with motorists, you hear people say they should be taxed and insured and have visible licence plates… and I think ultimately a lot of this is a dislike of people cycling. It’s irrational, if it makes cycling more difficult fewer people will do it.

“If you forced all these ‘dangerous’ cyclists off their bikes into their cars, then that is going to increase the level of danger on everyone else, it’s not going to decrease it.”

Mr Porter also explains how, in his opinion, tougher sentencing for dangerous driving and/or cycling won't necessarily lead to more convictions, suggesting that dealing with more cases at Magistrates' Courts could lead to more successful convictions: 

"I have argued in the past that it could be a more suitable solution to have summary offences for bad drivers, so at least there's a higher possibility of conviction and a higher possibility that their licences will be removed for longer so they won't reoffend. The contrary argument is then that those with the very worst behaviour won't get the very worst sentences. 

"If you’re going to punish someone very severely, then [currently] they've got to have a right of judgement of their peers."

On the discussions around tougher sentences against dangerous cycling and regulation of cyclists, Mr Porter says: "Cyclists who run down and kill pedestrians and are significantly to blame for that will almost invariably go to prison, whereas only a minority of motorists who are convicted of causing death by careless driving go to prison, and that’s only a minority of a minority who are convicted of that offence.

“There’s no real problem here, there’s nothing that justified taking away parliamentary time from the more important problems that we face.

“You’re not going to legislate away the sort of incident that happened in Regent’s Park. The possibility of penal consequences would not have amounted to that cyclist feeling that he needed to take greater care.”

> Strava asked to remove popular segment after pedestrian death in Regent's Park cyclist collision

Why cycle touring isn't dead 10 France, touring smiles.

It's also Mental Health Awareness Week, so in part 2 Jack is talking to Elaine Curtin - not only our commercial director at road.cc, but also a trained Human Givens psychotherapist - about how cycling can be great for your mental health. Elaine also tells us more about the human givens approach, and how you can identify if you or someone you know might be struggling with mental health.

If you need help, the NHS has a fantastic Your Mind Plan feature. For more direct help, other NHS services can be found here, and for more urgent assistance The Samaritans can be called for free on 116 123. For more information on the human givens approach, visit the Human Givens Institute website

The road.cc Podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Amazon Music, and if you have an Alexa you can just tell it to play the road.cc Podcast. It’s also embedded further up the page, so you can just press play.

This content has been added by a member of the road.cc staff

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1 comments

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Bigfoz | 1 month ago
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Ah, but that is literally the reason to take up legisltive time. You get to strengthen division and make car drivers feel you're "on their side". The law is pointless, but the publicity is not, and most of the other legislation for those important issues we face is legislation donors have asked them not to do.

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