JT is a member of a forum I belong to in the UK. He tells of a ride where he had a lucky escape with the local constabulary. I'd booked the day off because the weather forecast was pretty good and I got up early rang my grandfather in Sunderland and said I'd pop up to see him. I was on the A19 heading North by 8 o'clock and took a detour through Sunderland town centre and across the Queen Alexander bridge over the river Wear, through the traffic lights, not much traffic and then left onto Wessington Way which is a dual carriageway that runs for 2.5 miles over 4 roundabouts to the A19. There was nothing but a white van half a mile up the road infront of me and so I 'caned it proper like' caught and passed the van before the first roundabout. Nothing coming so flicked through the roundabout and onto the next roundabout where I went off to the right and bimbled through Castletown to the top and into me Granda's. We spent an hour 'chewing the fat', he's 95 and has all his faculties, lives on his own, loves his football and watches all the matches on Sky on his 38" HD flatscreen. He doesn't have a hearing aid but hears every word and takes his glasses off for reading. What a guy! When I left there I thought I'd go to The Sunderland Stadium of Light to take a couple of photo's of the bike. I went down the same dual carriageway as I'd come up earlier on but it was busier and so I rode accordingly. At the lights there was a queue of traffic and as I filtered through to the front I passed a marked BMW Traffic car. Through the lights, looked in the mirror and they pulled out of their lane and followed me right to the gates of the ground, so I knew I was getting a 'tug'. Small number plate? Loud pipe? Must be one of them. I parked up and got off the bike, they parked up and got out.
"Now then" I said (as I do).
"Hello" was the reply, "Take your helmet off, so we know who we're talking to."
"Had a good couple of hours ?"
"Er, yeah. More than 2 hours actually". (Where's this going? I'm thinking).
"What's the speed limit on Wessington Way?"
"It's a dual carraigeway so it is 70mph."
"And it was 70mph this morning as well."
In my head, I’m thinking, “ I’m gone! They’ve got me!”
"You didn't see us this morning when you went onto Wessington Way did you, but we saw you! You opened it right up and we couldn't catch you, you were leaving us and once you got over that first roundabout we never saw you again. We ended up at the A19. I ride an RSV so I know what they can do; but don’t do it there! You've got a very distinctive coloured bike with ‘Arlen Ness’ wrote across your back so we know it was you."
They weren't being aggressive or intimidating so I didn't argue and admitted it was me and that I just got carried away.
"You were riding at silly speeds, which we can't prove because we couldn't catch you, but just take it easy. It's other people you've got to look out for; a lot of car drivers don't look for bikers and don't see them."
We then had a chat about bikes and biking, shook hands and they told me to take it easy. Just as they got to their car I shouted and asked if they could do me a favour.
"What's that ?"
"You couldn't take a picture of me and the bike here, infront of these gates ?"
The photo you see on the left was the result. Taken by the friendly coppers! In the article “Of Us And Them”, I wrote about the issue of police and motorcyclists. And I wrote quite a bit about attitude. In this encounter the police, as they usually do, began with a reasonable attitude. JT accepted that he’d been caught doing the wrong thing and adopted a good attitude in return. As JT and a couple of others on the forum said, the police could’ve booked him if they’d chosen to. Even though they didn’t have “proof” of his speed, they could’ve booked him for reckless riding or similar. But they didn’t. As one other member of the forum said, “Simple enough to just report him for Due Care if they had wanted to. Very easy offence to prove and the penalty is quite severe." As the guy on the forum said, "JT was a lucky, lucky man and common sense prevailed." Did it help that the cop was also a rider? Probably, but as I said, it’s all about attitude. Sure, some police are going to go for you regardless, but most are reasonable. In any case, JT was certainly lucky to have got off with just a warning! Thanks for the story and the pic, JT!
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