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Top barrister calls for greater legal safeguards for cyclists

By: Laura Nineham
10 January 2011

A top barrister has added his name to the growing list of people calling for greater legal safeguards for cyclists after boxing champion Gary Mason was killed last week.

According to The London Evening Standard, Martin Porter QC said that prosecutors should be more imaginative when charging drivers who are involved in fatal and near-fatal accidents.

"There are a lot of areas where the law does let down cyclists - whether at the level of the police failing to collect enough evidence to the CPS not prosecuting or the courts often convicting to a lesser offence. This needs to change," said Debra Rolfe, campaign coordinator for cyclists' group CTC.

Any changes will affect those in driving jobs, who are already being encouraged to undertake training sessions to increase their observation skills when it comes to driving in busy cities such as London, where many people cycle.

"The excuses of not seeing cyclists seem to be too readily accepted by the police and the CPS so there isn't a prosecution when there should be," explained Martin Porter QC. "Judges should be handing down stiffer sentences and prosecutors should be more ambitious in the choice of charges and the decision to prosecute. It's up to a judge and a jury to accept whether an excuse is good enough."

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