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Motorcyclists will face stiffer penalties

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Motorcyclists at the head of a group of riders will face stiffer penalties for speeding under a crown court ruling.

Being the lead rider in a group is an aggravating factor making you partly responsible for speeding offences of those behind you according to the decision.

The ruling can be applied in any future cases where two or more motorcyclists riding together are accused of speeding. The head rider might be only a few mph over the limit, but could be given the same penalty as the worst offender behind.

Road traffic solicitor Robert Dobson said: "Any crown court decision can be stated in future cases. This is potentially a very dangerous judgement for motorcyclists. Riders in a group change position frequently. If you are riding at the front any group at excess speed, then the very fact you're at the front is an aggravating factor."

Ken Clark, 49, reached 85mph on his Yamaha R1 while leading a group of three riders on the 60mph A272 near Rogate, Sussex, last June. The speed is within the usual threshold for a fixed penalty of three points and a £60 fine. But Chichester Crown Court ruled he should receive the same penalty as a following rider accused of going 103mph.

Barrister notes on the ruling given to Clark after the hearing state: `Although his was the lesser speed, [the bench] found it an aggravating feature that he was the lead motorcyclist, was setting the pace and he knew that the other two motorcyclists would want to catch him up and would be speeding to do so.'

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