Five months ago, I pulled up outside a block of flats to drop off a chicken chow mein, a king prawn curry and half a crispy duck. Unfortunately, it was a massive complex and by the time I found the flat (the person who ordered did not give very good directions) and got back to my bike it was about 25-30 minutes.
When I got there, I found two police officers taking photos and making a note. One officer basically laid into me whilst the other stayed quiet. Long story short, I had left my bike on a corner of a junction which had double yellow lines. I explained I did not mean to be long, but it had taken me ages to find the flat and this wasn’t my fault, but that of the lady who ordered. The angry officer was resolute and told me it was dangerous as it meant people had to swerve around my bike to get out of the junction and if I disagreed, I could tell the court.
I then got some court papers that said I had been summoned for ‘The offence of leaving a vehicle in dangerous position, contrary to s.22 of the Road Traffic Act 1988’. Last week I went to court and argued this wasn’t my fault and I was innocent. However, the magistrates disagreed and gave me three penalty points and a massive fine to pay.
What can I do? I can’t see why I should get done for this. I was just doing my job.
First things first, you do have a right to appeal. However, the general rule is you have to lodge your appeal within 21 days of the conviction. So if you are going to do that, do not hang about, get your appeal form in (you can find this online or the court will give you one if you ask).
The real issue is whether you should appeal. So you are aware, the actual law states that ‘If a person in charge of a [motorbike] causes or permits the [motorbike] …to remain at rest on a road in such a position or in such condition or in such circumstances as to … involve a danger of injury …to other persons using the road, he is guilty of an offence’.
Therefore, whilst I get you were doing your job, if you left your motorbike parked on a corner of a junction with double yellows and other drivers had to swerve around it to get out, etc., I can see why you were found guilty and appealing the actual conviction would be a waste of time.
However, arguably you could look to appeal the sentence because the three penalty points you got are ‘discretionary’, not mandatory. In other words, if you appeal, you could end up with no penalty points (but you would still have to pay a fine, etc.).
I would just add that as a general rule, where any prosecution is challenged there is a potential for increased court and prosecution costs. These would only normally increase if the matter resulted in an appeal that you subsequently lost.
More Bikes February 2023