For me, the whole basis of crime and punishment is to be afraid of the punishment and therefore not commit the crime, (not to mention our own personal morals).
This works in principle, but history has shown us that it can still make little difference to those who have nothing to lose or have been pushed into the decision to do wrong, that may be why we as a nation used to hang for stealing and a variety of other offences and a fair amount of juveniles and children as well as adults found themselves doing the Tyburn jig.
But what is the threat now? I know the maximum sentence for burglary is 14 years, but when does that happen?
There is also the group that are institutionalised and need to commit crime to get back inside for all the comforts it brings compared to outside life so no threat there.
In the motoring world the greatest threat not to do wrong in the current age is certainly the fear of getting points on your licence, but its not the points themselves, it’s the financial penalty for the fine, (which has now just risen for all tickets), and as insurance companies add on more and more for convictions the extra cost over what can be years at each renewal.
So if you have your bike registered to you, have insurance, MOT and the correct licence all should be well and it’s just your behaviour on the Queens Highway that you need to worry about, but we all speed… without a doubt anyone who claims they don’t would certainly not be telling the truth, but it’s a matter of how much speed, when, where and if you get caught. In my younger day I regularly took my VFR 750 high into three figures on a section of the A2 in the early hours, but my licence stayed clean, I’m sure it wouldn’t now as technology and intelligence led tasking leads the way.
The safety camera partnerships work on the Association of Chief Police Officers, (ACPO), speed guidelines which can be found HERE but Roads policing officers stood at the kerb can apply discretion to a certain level, which usually raises the lower figure in each band.
So what’s the enforcement angle? As above it’s the fear of getting caught again, but personally I feel that this is not always successful because a lot of motoring issues centre around attitude, habits and awareness. People who get points and a fine normally get hacked off that they have been caught, but they don’t address why it happened in the first place and without tackling the issue at source the chances are it will happen again – so bring on the education.
This is all about awareness, its easy to say don’t speed, but its more effective to say don’t speed as… may happen.
Safer Roads Scotland have produced some campaign adverts which can be viewed HERE I know these are car based, but check out the previous campaigns at the bottom of the page as reading the road applies to motorcyclists as well.
What’s available and how is it applied?
If you’re stopped for a Road Traffic Offence there are a number of options and courses available, The course is a diversion from prosecution and as such is not a conviction or a court appearance, so unless your insurance company ask or stipulate you must tell them they don’t need to know, there are NO penalty points and the fee covers the admin and wages of the national company that delivers the course.
In my force we offer the following:
This is a full day classroom based exercise for motorcyclists only available for some riding without due care offences, some endorsable offences (solid lines etc), and some speeding offences referred by Operation Achilles.
Speed Awareness £95
About 4 hours, classroom based.
Driver Alertness £150
Full day, classroom and practical for without due care offences involving a collision.
Driving 4 Change £95
2¼ hours practical only for some due care offences and some endorsable offences where there is no collision but a skill deficit has been identified.
What’s Driving Us £95
3½ hours classroom based and mainly for those who have an ‘attitude problem’ (not to the officer, but towards the offence).
We also had a Young Drivers Course for those under 21; this is currently not available but will be back in 2014.
You can only attend a course once within three years of the date of the original offence, but if the offence is different you can attend a different course!
So, speed in your car… Speed Awareness.
Speed on your bike… RIDE.
Mobile phone… Driving 4 Change.
And so on.
More details can be found at the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers HERE regarding who provides which courses in what area.
Now the cost of Fixed Penalty Tickets has risen (£100 for not wearing a seat belt or having an illegal number plate etc), the courses are a fantastic opportunity to pay less and not get points – although I suppose this means cost of the course will be rising soon as well.
There is, of course, voluntary education you can arrange yourself. BikeSafe is a national police led project and having enjoyed a BikeSafe workshop or ride out, the next natural step that we actively encourage is post test motorcycle training from either the I.A.M. (Institute of Advanced Motorists) RoSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) or E.R.S. (The Enhanced Rider Scheme).
More info HERE
So if you look in your mirror and see the reincarnation of Albert Pierrepoint (the ‘Last Hangman’) in high vis, not all is lost; our first priority is to try to put you on a course, as it may improve the way you drive or ride for the next 20 or 30 years, and with a fatal collision costing about 1.5 million and serious life changing injuries costing more, we need to reduce all the collisions we can.