As a starting point if you cannot name the driver you are likely to get six points. The Courts are wise to, ‘I do not know who was driving,’ and the presumption in law is the registered keeper was the driver. But if you can’t name the driver, your licence will be endorsed usually with six points and the fine and costs will be significant.

The worst thing you can put down is the name of your soon to be estranged wife, as a former Cabinet Minister can verify that gets you into prison for perjury. If you can’t name the rider you will be offered the option of a speed awareness course, which now costs a little less than the fixed penalty fine for most forces. You will have to give up a day of your life and be given various tips about how to be more aware of your speed. I have done one and went in resentfully, expecting a load of guff from a self righteous ex-copper.

What I actually got were useful tips on how to avoid inadvertently doing 47mph in a 40. Which is what got me there in the first place. I would recommend anyone offered a course in lieu of a prosecution to take one. The cut off point varies between 10% + 2-9 mph over the limit, the exception being 20mph zones. Those get you written up. So for me, in a 40, my range of not being nicked at all was 45mph (even though an offence is still being committed but it is outside of ACPO guidelines) to tipping into speed awareness at 47mph and definitely being summonsed at 53mph.

If you go on a course your details are held for three years so you cannot be offered another course for a speeding offence (but for a without due care offence, your attendance on a speed course is not taken into account). Contrary to urban myth you do not need a clean licence to be offered a course. Only one insurer that I am aware of asks if you have been on a speed awareness course and they do uplift your premium. All the rest do not ask and so you do not need to tell.

The statistics show riders and drivers who have been on a course are statistically less likely to be prosecuted for speeding in the next three years. I am now more observant of 30 and 40 limits. My bike stays in 2nd in 30s and my van in 3rd.

I now know yellow borders around speed limits mean the signage has been upgraded due to a history of speeding motorists – so the area is more likely to be subject to speed camera enforcement. The course I was on had a mix of drivers but the one who shocked me most was one very old fella who believed every road had a 40mph speed limit because, ‘it felt right for his car’. The course leader managed to get him to understand he might want to speed up a bit, not perhaps the outcome intended.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine October 2014