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Coronavirus and necessary driving/riding

View profile for Michael Pace
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What is 'necessary' driving/riding in the current emergency?

We are as everyone knows living in extraordinary times. The Prime Minister has told us we are expected, unless we have no alternative, to work from home and to only leave the house if it is essential. We can go out for exercise once a day, and should be on our own or in a family group. We are not to gather in groups of more than two people and we should keep at least 2 metres away from other people. We should avoid unnecessary journeys in our cars or on motorcycles.

What does all this actually mean? Well we now have some legislation to help us. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

These Regulations remain in force until they are revoked by the Secretary of State terminating the requirement or restriction.

The Regulations have to be reviewed every 21 days and the first review will be on 16 April. I think we can expect them to continue after that date.

Regulation 6 says that during the emergency period, 'no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse'.

A reasonable excuse includes the need;

a. to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household, or for vulnerable persons and supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, ….

b. to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household

c. to seek medical assistance…..

d. to provide care or assistance….

e. to donate blood

f. to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living.

And goes on to say

To attend a funeral of;

A member of the person's household

A close family member or

To fulfil a legal obligation (eg attend court etc)

The Regulations go on to say that we cannot meet in groups of more than two except at a funeral when the group should not exceed five people.

Nowhere does it say we can go out for a drive or to ride a motorcycle in order to clear our heads or to enjoy the quiet roads.

Nor should you ride/drive to a park in order to go for a walk once there.

Motorcyclists (and car drivers), should not be going out for a ride just for the pleasure of it, as good as this is for the soul and I know how good it feels as I ride a motorcycle. There is nothing better after a heavy day in court than a ride on the bike on a lovely evening.

You can ride your motorcycle for one of the above reasons, going to work etc, but in my opinion this would not include a long detour in order to enjoy the ride or drive.

I think the law is clear enough. The journey has to be necessary. If stopped by the police and you cannot show that the journey is necessary, they are likely to order you to go home, and if you refuse you commit an offence and may be fined. This is likely to be a fixed penalty ticket, but if you refuse to pay or are caught again, it could lead to a prosecution and you going to court. If the journey is not essential or necessary then in my opinion you will struggle to find a defence

Apart from the law though, we all have a moral duty to keep travel to a minimum. Whatever the chances of having an accident are, we should not be taking any risk that might require us to have to receive medical treatment or, to expose ourselves to the risk of catching Corvid-19 and thereby endangering others.

Simply stay at home and do what society is asking of you please. If you have to use a motor vehicle to go anywhere then use the safest means you have which for most, is a car.

Michael Pace