I was zapped by some community do-gooders. As I rode passed a huddle of semi-retired wombles in dayglow jackets, one of them pointed a speed gun at me and a sign flashed up warning me I was doing 43 in a 30.
I think I also spotted by a pretend Policeman, one of these Police Community Support Officers. About a week later I got a letter from the Police saying that my bike had been clocked and I should moderate my riding. Do these muppets actually have any powers? And how the hell did they get hold of my details?
In short, there is no particular legal problem with anything that you have mentioned. The operatives are not properly trained and their readings from a speed gun would be extremely unlikely to be admissible in Court. The reading is likely to be accurate, however, and you should be aware that these “Community Awareness” projects are usually as a result of lobbying by activists who are getting fed up with inappropriate speed through residential areas. 43 mph in a 30 zone is getting you into ban territory. Whilst you can, as a matter of law, safely ignore the “semi-retired wombles”, the next step is likely to be a real Policeman or a real speed trap because these community programmes are usually a data gathering exercise. There will be a significant amount of evidence, (of which you will form part) that there is speeding through the area.
The next stage is regular Police attendance or a speed camera going up, or perhaps traffic calming. The warning letter has no real legal consequences, but it does have some practical consequences. Every now and then my firm has had to represent motorcyclists who have habitually been speeding. Forward facing cameras are often deliberately triggered by our less responsible brothers. Police can make a real effort to catch and nick that rider. You have now bobbed up on the police radar. You distinguish between a real officer with power of arrest and the poor PC50 who has no power to stop you. The PCSOs tend to be there to supply a bit of authority and to access data on drivers.
However, don’t be surprised if word has got back to the local traffic unit to keep a bit of an eye out for you. So while you are not in any legal difficulty, it is probably best for you to do what that letter says and moderate your riding style and speed. A generally good rule of thumb is to stick to 30s and 40s, and be aware that 50s are the areas most prone to speed traps. Finally, whilst you are indignant that your address had been made available, the fact that a PCSO was available at the scene means that they have access to the Police National Computer, where it is necessary for the duties of the Police to be carried out, so the Police are perfectly entitled to seek your details from either DVLA or the Police National Computer, which is why you have been written the letter.
Fast Bikes December 2012
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.
Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.