Urban myths, speeding and the law

Urban myths, speeding and the law

Specialist motoring solicitor and ZZR1400 rider Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast demystifies a couple of bits of riding folklore

As a specialist road traffic solicitor I get phone calls every week from well-meaning clients saying “my mate told me…” and “I read on the Internet…” etc. Don’t get me wrong: if you have a legal, arguable defence then I will always advise my clients they have a right to put the prosecution to proof. However, while some of the points are correct, a lot are just plain wrong but these ‘myths’ seemed to have established themselves as ‘fact’, with the result that a lot of well-meaning people end up in a bit of a pickle.

NIP it in the bud

A popular myth that frequently comes up is if you, as the registered keeper, ignore a Notice of Intended Prosecution for speeding and don’t tell the police who the rider is, then they can’t identify who the alleged speeding offender is and you can’t be prosecuted.

The problem is that even though you may not get done for the speeding offence, the law requires the registered keeper to identify the rider. If you don’t you could get sentenced by the court and have six points put on your licence and a fine of up to £1000. Not good.

I also have calls where a client has read on the Internet that if they send back the NIP and tell the police it was their ‘mate’ from Spain (or insert other faraway land) who was riding the bike (even though it was them), then the police can’t do anything about it as they won’t be able to get hold of the ‘mate’.

I must say the majority of the bikers I have spoken to over the years do not think this is the greatest of ideas, but nonetheless I still get asked. In short, it is not a great idea as if you get caught deliberately lying you could face a criminal prosecution for perverting the course of justice which carries wiih it a maximum penalty of life imprisonment; and all that from an offence that may have resulted in some penalty points on your licence.

Speed demon

Another myth is if you get caught ‘doing less than lOOmph’ on the motorway on your motorbike you won’t get disqualified from riding. This is just wrong and the law is not as simple as that. When sentencing a biker or a driver the court will look at an official document called the Magistrates’ Sentencing Guidelines. These in fact state if you do get caught at any speed over 91mph in a 70mph limit and you are found guilty or plead guilty, the court has the power to disqualify you from riding for between seven and 28 days. This is in addition to a fine and court costs.

In summary, always to be careful of what you read on the Internet or what your enthusiastic but perhaps ill-informed mate down the pub tells you. However well meaning, opinions and interpretation of the law can be very wrong and could get you in trouble.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast
managing partner of
White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors

The MCM legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

Our firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences. All White Dalton lawyers know everything about bike law – and we have full bike licences too. We don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.

White Dalton is Britain’s most specialist motorcycle law practice, and if our professionals don’t know the answer to your question there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.

For road traffic offences call the Motor Defence solicitors on 0800 280 0912 For non-offence cases call White Dalton motorcycle solicitors on 0800 783 6191

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Posted on: January 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a GSX1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.