Fess up or pay the price…

Fess up or pay the price…

You receive the ‘name the rider document’ for your bike. The obligation to name the driver requires a notice to be served within 14 days on the registered keeper, asking you who the rider was.

If this question is made more than 14 days after an alleged speeding offence you are likely to have a solid statutory defence, subject to some technicalities.

It might be tempting to name your mate, real or imagined, in New Zealand as the rider, but the attraction of that idea is superficial. When a foreign or untraced driver is noted the police check. As the MP Fiona Onasanya found out.

At this point the speeding ticket became a perjury charge so what could have been eight hours at a driver re-education camp becomes an attempt to pervert the course of justice and a three month custodial sentence, and everything else which goes with a serious dishonesty conviction.

Onasanya will certainly be struck off as a solicitor, and even if you are not a lawyer or a doctor, a dishonesty conviction has a very long reach. At its most basic level a dishonesty conviction will make you virtually uninsurable for many years for just about any policy of Insurance, and largely unemployable.

So was it you? If you share your bikes or swap bikes with your mates or your partner and you have a genuine doubt name yourself and whoever else might have been riding and ask for the photos so that you can identify the rider, but make a proper attempt. If the rider has your helmet, your jacket, and your boots
on, and is a solidly built man don’t say, ‘I am not sure If it was me or the wife’.

It is also very dangerous to graciously move your points onto your co-driver, because both of you will then be committing perjury, and as the former solicitor and soon to be former MP Onasanya found out this is a bad thing. If you decline to nominate without reasonable excuse then not only do you lose the option of the dull but relatively painless speed awareness course, but you also lose the three points and fixed penalty of £100 as an opportunity, and you will, if found guilty go onto six points and a much larger fine.

So you do not get to spend the day at the speed awareness course, because you will have a fun day out at the magistrates, where three stout upholders of summary justice will take a usually fairly cynical view of your inability to know who was riding your £10,000 pride and joy a week or ten days before somebody on behalf of the Chief Constable asked you who was riding it.

The magistrates test is not especially sophisticated, but ‘is it at all credible that this owner of a motorcycle lends his/her bike to so many people that less than a fortnight after they lent it they are clueless as to who the rider was, despite the bike rider looking an awful lot like the man in front of us?’ And if it docs look like a load of old cobblers then six points and a hefty fine Is the prize.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine May 2019

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: February 3, 2020 at 4:48 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. So, basically, failing to supply rider details via nip form results in court and 6 points. What if, in theory, the charge was for dangerous driving/ other serious disqualifiable offence, would this not be an easy” get out?”

  2. Gavin GrewalOctober 21, 2019

    Hi Jason,

    I have responded to your question above via email.


  3. For the benefit of our other readers:

    I am the resident ex-copper at White Dalton. It does seem like an ‘easy get out’ but be careful. If you fail to identify you get your fine and six points. There is absolutely nothing stopping plod arresting you and interviewing you about the offence. They could also S.18 your house (search it); if they find leathers/helmet that match those used in the offence you could potentially be looking at a prosecution for the offence of dangerous etc.

    It is ultimately down to the police to prove their case. They can try and prove it by gathering further evidence. You haven’t helped them at all as you’ve failed to ID. Therefore it is for them to work out if you are guilty of being the rider. Imagine how it would look if they find the matching helmet/leathers in your home, as could be seen on the dash-cam of a rider riding dangerously.

    You are still innocent until proven guilty. In Court you have to raise doubt as to the prosecution case but they have done more to try and show the Court it was you riding and not your mate from New Zealand or even where you have not responded at all.

    Simple rule of thumb, the more serious the offence the more man-power they may throw at it.

    Just failing to ID won’t necessarily throw them off the scent.


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