Will getting caught with your knee down result in a visit to court for ‘without due care’
Along with a number of mates, I use a large kidney shaped roundabout in an industrial area to warm up my tyres and scrape my knee sliders before I go out for a ride on a Sunday. It has become a bit of a secret meeting spot for hardcore older riders who like a kneedown, occasional wheelie and the odd stoppie away from the public. As far as I can tell were not disturbing anyone doing it there.
A few weekends back we were getting our knees down when a Police car emerged from one of the industrial units, and the copper seemed a bit awkward as he started writing us all up for ‘without due care’. He had video footage – which I think must come from the CCTV from the units, of kneedowns but nothing else. Should I put my hands up to the ‘without due care’?
No. The magistrates are not going to like kneedown action, but it sounds to me that you were in complete control of your bikes. Luckily, you were not caught on one wheel because that’s a whole different shedload of trouble. However, you do need representation and you will need to lead expert evidence – either from a former Police Class One motorcyclist or an experienced race school instructor with the ability to explain the physics of a kneedown. Usually when your knee is on the floor the contact patch of the tyre is greater than if you were right over on the shoulder of the tyre.
I am pretty useless at getting my kneedown, but there’s no unused part of my rear tyre. A mate of mine who is a decent racer actually has a little bit more left on the outside edge of his tyre and he’s quicker than I am by a long way.
He is using his tyre better than I am because he is a more skilled rider than me. He does kneedown when he needs to. I never see him dragging sparks off metal work, whereas I have to ease back when my footpeg hits the tarmac, so I have a greater angle of dangle, but he is quicker and safer.
In advanced road riders terms this means the greater the contact point, the less the tyre grip is traded for lean angle. The reason why a rider hangs off (apart from looking like a MotoGP rider) is to keep the angle of the bike more upright.
This means the bike is actually more stable. You also need to introduce evidence that the warming up of your tyres before riding is a safety point, especially as we are now well into autumn.
In short, do not plead guilty. Make sure you’re represented by someone that knows bikes and the law. But don’t push your luck with the wheelies and stoppies.
Get caught doing those on video or in front of a copper and the lovechild of Rumpole of the Bailey and Perry Mason would be struggling to get you off – and we don’t mean in a good way. We all misbehave at times, but getting caught is not good.
Decking in the Dock? – Fast Bikes Magazine December 2010
Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.