Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

All aboard! All aboard! Tickets at the ready if you please! Welcome one and all to the next thrilling white knuckle ride on our horrific, terrific, awe inspiring, jaw dropping, rollercoaster ride into the weird and wonderful world of Northern Irish motorcycle road racing.

For those who've been living in ignorance of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007) - please allow me the pleasure of explaining, as simply as is possible - the finer points.

The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 was introduced to make it easier for the relevant authorities to successfully prosecute organisations where a management failing has led to a death. Under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007, an organisation is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its officials, managers, causes a person's death. The Act has been criticised by many for not going far enough in relation to the liability of management officials but prosecutions have already allegedly shown that where necessary the authorities will use relevant existing laws against company directors and other management officials.

Under this relatively new act, companies can, and have already been charged with the criminal offence of corporate manslaughter, and furthermore, individual directors can, and have also been charged with the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. If found guilty, companies can expect to face unlimited fines whilst directors can face life imprisonment.

Clearly, whilst changing the status of the MCUI-UC and many of our Motor Sport clubs to that of Limited Company, might well have had benefits for many in years past, it should now be blatantly obvious to many 'Officials / Directors'' of these aforementioned Limited Companies - the immunity they had in days gone past - it no longer exists.

Every single person must be fully aware of all relevant regulations and legislation and take responsibility for improving health and safety at our motorcycle race meetings - road and track. Any company that fails to have in place the most robust of health and safety procedures - that company and its directors deserves to face the full rigours of the law.

With the foregoing in mind, ask yourself this - how is it possible to satisfactorily implement the current health and safety legislation at a motorcycle road race?

Allegedly, the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) have, or had within their ranks, an official with the alleged grand title - convenor of the road inspection committee for looking after competitors' and spectators' safety - and we all know the path that took us down - so how do you ensure the safety of riders, and spectators alike?

For now, let's consider those people, not riding the motorcycles, who could possibly be at risk - the fans, the photographers, the officials, the assembled team personnel.

The fans, also known as spectators, you, me, him, her over there - also referred to as customers in some quarters - and that is precisely where we could very well be going. Too many spectators are permitted to put themselves in the firing line - standing by the edge of a narrow, twisting, bumpy road, inches away from where a sometimes barely in control 200bhp, 170 kilos, racing motorcycle, passes you by at 170mph - is irresponsible in the extreme.

Designated prohibited areas at many of our road race circuits, and tracks, are ill thought out, if thought out at all. To be honest, most times I wonder if 'Prohibited Area' signs are merely placed for cosmetic purposes, part of a non-existent strategic safety plan.

The proposal is simple; replace 'Prohibited Area' signs with 'Spectator Viewing Area' signs, so rendering all other areas - 'Prohibited to All Spectators'

Within these designated spectator viewing areas, there would of course be 'Spectator Grandstands' - 'Customer Grandstands' all situated a suitably safe distance from the ever present dangers within the vicinity of the roads. 'Customer Grandstands' protected with adequate catch fencing capable of stopping a crashing, airborne speeding motorcycle.

Obviously - all fans of real road racing, would in the interest of our own safety, and the safety of our sports idols, and for the unwavering love of our sport - gladly pay the required grandstand admittance fees. And why wouldn't we - after all, the revenue generated would more than likely be put to good use - for the future (if indeed it has a future) of our sport - even I know that.

'Photographers Only Areas' must also be designated - for all those hordes of 'Professional Sports Photographers' we see risking life and limb at every real road race, and let me assure each and every fan, many of these self proclaimed 'Professional Sports Photographers' are risking the lives, and limbs of the riders and fans, as well as their own. Therefore, a fee is in order - a £5000.00 annual licence, which would include public liability insurance, and ensure they each fully understand, and undertake to abide by all relevant Health and Safety Laws, or risk the real possibility of prosecution.

Team personnel have also to be protected, - from low flying motorcycles, from officials, and themselves. The average motorcycle racing paddock is a highly dangerous environment, and urgently needs to be brought into line with all relevant Health and Safety Laws. If ever there is a major disaster waiting to happen, it's within the boundaries of the paddock area of a motorcycle racing event.

And finally for now - the Officials and Directors - who, as I've described in an earlier posting - seem to descend upon each real road race meeting like a plague of locusts. These people appear to think they're indestructible - look at many of the online video clips, the thousands of photographs - and where are some of these officials regularly standing? Directly in the firing line of a barely in control 200bhp, 170 kilos, 170mph racing motorcycle.

This long standing problem has an easy unacceptably overdue painful remedy - all officials must be Government tested, and licensed - all officials must undergo a theoretical learning and practical training period - then pass a theory test, followed by a comprehensive practical test.

From what I've witnessed at past motorcycle road racing events, some of the current officials are barely capable of assisting and/or protecting themselves let alone any rider or spectator.

And how do we protect the riders? A seemingly impossible task, but the risks can be substantially lessened - that however will a subject for a later posting.

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

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