The fast and the summonsed

The fast and the summonsed

The myth that travelling at 10% over the speed limit will not result in a nicking is a bad one.

While there is no national policy for speeding rules which are generally applied as National Standards by the police and the CPS. It is right that most forces apply a similar level of discretion to speeding, but be careful – the guidelines, largely followed by most forces, are discretionary. Technically being caught at 41mph in a 40mph zone is an offence attracting three points and, if you go to Court, a fine of about half of your weekly income and a victim surcharge.

However, just about everyone-police, magistrates and Crown Prosecution Service – realise putting three points on licences for 1mph over the limit would result in a huge backlash. Therefore discretion is applied, but remember once you break the speed limit you are committing an offence and the police officer can write you up if his/her calibrated speedo indicates a breach.

Certain proportionality safe guards are implied into the Crown Prosecution Service’s prosecution standards which mirror the 2013 association of Police Chief Officer’s guidelines. But remember these don’t have force of law.

To give an example, 22mph in a 20mph limit would be ignored because of the device tolerance, and the device is your speedo. However, laser speed detectors are fearsomely accurate, so let’s take a worked example of speeding in a 40mph zone, probably the police’s happiest hunting ground. At 42mph the police would not stop you as your speedo may be reading 40mph-46mph, but if they did their starting point would be a few words of advice and a ‘mind how you go’. Unless you want a fun day at a speed awareness course avoid asking said officer if he, ‘hasn’t got any real criminals to catch.’

46mph to 53mph puts you into the speed awareness bracket Which, contrary to urban myth does not load your insurance with just about any reputable insurer. 53mph to 66mph in a 40mph zone could get you back into a driver awareness course, but some grovelling might be necessary. However, a fixed penalty and a fine is the usual outcome at this level, and 66mph in a 40 zone is going to get you summonsed.

As a general proposition if the police officer starts scolding you, shut up, look contrite and take it. There is an unwritten rule among the police that you either get written up or you get bollocked, but not both. If you fire back during the bollocking the officer will form the view that you are not learning from his or her wise words. The police officer will usually then halt mid-flow, because you must learn your lesson the hard and expensive way, and the officer’s mouth will set to a firm line and out will come the notebook and verbal notice of intention to prosecute.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine January 2018

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: November 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

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.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.


  1. Mike GarrardMay 9, 2019

    Laser speed detectors are not fearsomely accurate on motorbikes, especially at distance. The Home Office pass mark on all Speedmeters was written for Gatso: they need to detect a single police car on an open site with no other traffic, within 10%, at no specified distance. No testing on bikes was ever performed. There was no correlated speed measurement when the Police undertook evaluation. I can show you video of a motorbike on its’ sidestand, clocked at 17mph due to a transit further away, captured by an experienced LTI20-20 Officer on a UK Type Approved device, in controlled test conditions on an open airfield. The flaw is that they latch on to a target in 24ms with 4 readings, and maintain that as the speed they are looking for regardless of whether the target changes. Which, at 200m+ on an often handheld device, it often does. Type Approval can’t be challenged as you know, but their unquestionable evidence in no-way makes them infallible. Let me know if you want more info.

  2. Thank you MIke. You are correct – and a few years ago we had a pretty high success rate of challenging Lti2020 device prosecutions – but the algorithm was changed to avoid false readings and the Police do seem to have an inexhaustible budget for experts who are very slick at proving the LTi2020 is infallible. Unfortunately the costs of contesting are beyond most people. We had a batch of genuinely affronted motorcyclists who absolutely knew they had not been speeding and were prosecuted on Lti2020 evidence and we had a number of successful challenges. However the rules have yet again been pitched against the citizen motorcyclist as the costs of a successful defence are only met in part (usually around 50 -65%) from the state so even if the motorcyclist wins it is still an expensive day out. Fair? No. Just? No. In a demonstration of karma though, a Tory MP who voted for the changes was prosecuted for gross indecency charges, wholly acquitted in a really misconceived prosecution and in a (ahem) heart breaking example of karma biting his arse, he had to sell his second home to pay for the shortfall on his defence. He now says he bitterly regrets supporting that policy but maybe he should have thought that anyone can be subject to a misconceived or unsuccessful prosecution. Legal aid would not be available for a speeding prosecution, but nevertheless if you pay privately, as indeed a prosecuted rider would have to do, a realistic budget would be well into the thousands of pounds. So defending yourself in the criminal courts is much like dining at the Ritz, technically open to anyone but in practice limited to the wealthy.

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