Recently I was sent a fixed penalty notice for doing 20% over the speed limit. That sounds like quite a lot and it is certainly sufficient to be banged to rights. I was doing 36 and it was a 30mph zone. Strictly I do deserve that ticket. The fact that it was a deserted road on a Sunday afternoon is totally irrelevant. No police officer was present at the location of the offence and, as such, they rely on the evidence provided by a camera, which is believed unequivocally. I’ll get points on my licence and some level of fine.
Compare that to this morning’s events where on my normal route to work I was setting off from a set of lights at which I’d stopped, it had been red but which had just turned green. To my left a car driver had gone through the red lights from the minor road that joined my major road. He had realised rather late that this was a bad idea; most drivers would have thought that the red light was enough. He stopped lest me and three lanes of my fellow travellers mowed him down.
Trouble was he stopped dead in the middle of my lane, about 6 feet from where I was accelerating away from having been stopped and the third thing I thought was, “I seem to be on the ground”. My second thought was “I seem to on his bonnet”. The first had been “What the <blazes> is that car doing there?”
After relatively cordially exchanging details, having a following driver give me his details just in case I needed him as a witness and a couple of fellow cyclists check up on me (the espirit de corps de velo is mostly alive and well), I went on my relatively careful way.
The trouble is, that while perfectly cordial on the phone and then in person, I’ve not really been led to believe that the police will do anything. I’ve given them a detailed statement, the details of the witness and the mark and details of the errant driver. While I’m absolutely convinced that the police have better things to do with their time, I’m even more convinced that my infraction pales into insignificance with that I suffered this morning.
I’ve been left with a few cuts and bruises, the bike’s faired better but has a few new scratches. If I’d been in a pub and received similar, someone would have been arrested. But because no police saw the event and it is, in effect, more or less my word against his, I’ve been left with little confidence that the driver will be punished at all.
So my word as an upstanding, tax-paying citizen is worth less than that of an automated revenue generating camera. Which is a fine state of affairs, guv’nor, and no mistake.
[tags]cycling, accident, speed cameras, london[/tags]