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Happy Easter!!

April 24, 2011

Petersfield, England – Its Easter and I know that because of…

The Arch Bishop of Canterbury pontificating on the continued commercialisation of a religious festival.

The shop shelves loaded with Easter Eggs and other numerous items, mostly of Chinese manufacture, without which you simple cannot “celebrate” Easter.

Easter bunnies being, apparently, compulsory in shop windows.

The local media  being crammed with promo’s and advertorials entreating motorcyclists to attend a safe riding event. Craftily dressed up as a breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner or fish supper with everyone from the local fire chief, the chief constable and the bloke who greases the jesus nut on the county air ambulance advising on riding skills.

And of  course I know its Easter because 89.9% of the UK biking population are getting out and  “going for it” after the winter break. Hotly pursued by a strange indigenous species known to bikers as the Lesser Spotted Policis Constablis. Who after overwintering in their usual habitat, the cosy Ford Focus or the Police HQ canteen, are once again stalking their prey on the highways and byways of our great nation.

I don’t have a problem with motorcyclists or scooter riders getting themselves better trained and I don’t have a problem with the police enforcing road traffic law. But I do have a problem with the associated publicity and tactics.

OK this is old hat, old stuff but it needs saying again. Would the UK local media get away with using words like, irresponsible hooligans, menace to society, cracking down on, speed freaks, yobbo’s, etc etc if motorcyclists, as a minority, were afforded the same protection in law as the UK’s “official” minority groups? I don’t think so.

The tactics?

Have fun in Essex where the police are using covert patrols to catch motorcyclists. Police motorcycle officers are disguising themselves as bikers turning up at biking venues, joining ride outs covertly filming any alleged breaches of the law and then radioing ahead to have “offenders” nicked. Of course most of the “offenders” don’t get nicked but offered a chance to pay between £75 and £100 to go on a Rider Intervention Developing Experience (RiDE) course. Best of all you don’t know if you’re in the company of a covert member of the fuzz or not so it’s actually self policing!

As the Essex Police PR machine relates: “Motorcyclists are a unique group of road users and require unique interventions to reduce casualties.”

While in North Wales, home of the police stop check for motorcyclists, we can now only look forward to the covert patrol but also the  targeting of “known offenders”. Now we are not talking bank robbers, paedophiles etc etc we are talking motorcyclists who in the past have been flagged on the North Wales Police computer system for moving traffic offences.

It seems that these bikers may well be covertly observed, perhaps by the use of real-time Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) systems, if they enter North Wales on the supposition that they may commit another offence or be “warned off”  by a police stop check. Hang on a moment isn’t that profiling and isn’t that illegal in some countries like the US. And what about all that business when the police had to stop picking out minorities from the general population for special attention.

I think trust just left motorcycling. So your down at the local café with a few mates. Another mate turns up with a couple of people you don’t know. You ride down to the coast. Halfway there you get pulled over by the police. Turns out one of your mates pals is a police officer and your all going to get “done” for doing four mph over the speed limit. Either that or enjoy the delights of a RiDE course.

Look I’m trying really hard. I ride everyday its part of the job, but please someone tell me the funs not being beaten out of it.

Happy Easter!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2011 12:41 pm

    I like your ideas… your blog is sweet..


  2. Policis BarStewarts permalink
    April 24, 2011 1:05 pm

    Or allegedly at a charity run attended by over a thousand riders and marshalled by police motorcyclists set up a speed trap in a local town and you then receive your fine and points in the post three days later.

    Or set up your agencies ANPR camera to catch untaxed motorcycles, while not condoning un- taxed motorcycles, a little thought into why riders are there donating over ten thousand pounds to charity might help with PR – not ANPR!

    Easy targets easy money!

    The fun will be beaten out of you……………..

    • Back Roads Rider permalink*
      April 24, 2011 1:30 pm

      Oh yes absolutely.

      A masterclass in how to send a mixed message to riders.

      In which stadium are we playing, what are the rules?

      Is it really about road safety or the need for income from fines?


  3. April 24, 2011 11:05 pm

    Spot on.

    Though their tactics don’t really surprise me, now with all this cutting the government are doing, we should expect more crafty activities by the authories!

    One question: Is it still illegal for motorists to use fog lights when it isn’t actually foggy? I’ve lost count by the amount of times I’m dazzled by someone’s fog lights but the police don’t do a thing about it. So sounds like income strategies on the easiest targets!!!

    • Back Roads Rider permalink*
      April 24, 2011 11:48 pm

      Thanks for your comment.

      According to the copy of Hughes Guide to Traffic Law that I happen to have – it’s the one the fuzz keep in the Focus glove box – It is not a requirement to switch on fog lights in seriously reduced visibility but it is an offence to have them switched on in conditions other than seriously reduced visibility..

      Regulation 27 Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 says that the use of fog lights is prohibited:-

      If they cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other persons using the road.
      If they are lit at times other than in conditions of seriously reduced visibility.
      If used when the vehicle is parked.


  4. Teapot permalink
    April 25, 2011 8:01 pm

    And don’t get me started on cars with bicycles covering their rear number plates/lights. Ever seen one pulled over by the police? Thought not.

    Or the police sitting a hundred yards from a drive through McD catching all the people trying to drive and eat a Crappy Meal and drive at the same time…

  5. Jack permalink
    July 8, 2011 12:52 am

    Plenty of fun to be had if you ride alone or with one other trusted mate.
    I’ve given up on riding in groups many years ago due to the dick heads who have to be faster than all the rest.

    Enjoy and ride safe – Jack


  1. El Camino – The Road

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