This is slightly embarrassing. I am an ex-copper and I have been riding bikes for more years than I care to mention. I regard myself as a pretty steady and safe motorcyclist, but I made a riding error.
Going into a fairly ordinary left-hand bend, not at any great speed, I just made a pig’s ear of it, overcooked it, went onto the wrong side of the road, fairly marginally, and was clipped by an oncoming vehicle, unfortunately, I sustained some pretty serious injuries, and spent a period in hospital.
Now that I am out of hospital I am about to be interviewed under caution by the Police. Obviously, I know the form. I am ex-job. I entirely accept that the collision was caused by my lack of concentration, it is not the other guy’s fault. I am genuinely sorry that I must have absolutely terrified the guy in the oncoming car.
What I really do not want though is six points on my licence for driving without due care. What is my best strategy for avoiding points?
You will know local police procedure better than I will, but police officers are humans and the very first thing that you need to do is pass the attitude test, something that you will well remember from your days in the job. If you come out trying to defend what you did, and you give no indication that you propose to do that, you will immediately put the interviewing officer’s back up.
If you instantly acknowledge that you made a riding error. It was a lapse of concentration. It is something that you are embarrassed about, you are actually horrified that you have made such a bad error, and that you want to go on to take some advanced training, or at least a refresher, then this will go a long way to assisting the police officer In making the correct charging decision.
The police officer who is dealing with the case has discretion. He can either recommend a driver improvement course, which is regarded as a success by most forces, and the police officer will take into account the views of the “victim”, the unfortunate guy who you gave a heart-stopping moment to, who was coming the other way.
Again, this is pretty basic psychology. If the driver of the other car knows that you are making no excuses, you are not trying to blame him, you are not going to try and run a claim against his insurance, and you are being truthful, he is much more likely to say “this poor guy has suffered enough, I am happy for him to take a driver improvement course”.
So far you have got two ticks in the box for going on the driver improvement course. Make the police officer’s decision easy to send you on the driver improvement course. You have already clearly decided that you are wholly to blame for this accident, and you are right, a driver coming in the opposite way does not have to expect a motorcyclist who has overcooked the bend riding on the wrong side of the road. Trying to defend your riding or your positioning is actively against your interests.
Also, do not follow this urban myth that if you accept culpability for an accident that your insurance company will not pay out or start giving you a hard time on your insurance. That is a complete myth, insurers find it extremely frustrating when people will not accept their own culpability. Your insurers also cannot tell you to start talking nonsense to the police under interview. To do so would he a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
So in short, fess up, throw yourself at the mercy of the interviewing police officer, make sure that he goes back with a message to the other driver that you are entirely holding your hands up and you are not going to be difficult about any kind of insurance claim, put the idea into the police officer’s head that you actively want additional training, and your odds of getting a driver improvement course are pretty high. This is especially so as you have an otherwise exemplary driving record with no collisions and no points. I would be surprised if you do not get a driver improvement course if you play it this way.
Fast Bikes Mag October 2018