Nicked by a horse

Pillion law conundrum

I've done some pretty strange things on motorcycles over the years. The less said the better, really.

But getting nicked by a horse mounted copper was a first for me. It's not a slur on the performance of Triumph's magnificent Bonneville - we were stationary at the time - but have you ever had a tug by the mounted police? Thought not, me neither.

We were in the capital doing a job for Rolls Royce. They needed an event photographing and the only way to ensure we shot all 125 cars was to do it on a bike with the photographer on the back. The bash was to celebrate a centenary of the spirit of ecstasy. But not in the Shaun Ryder sense of the word.

The two-hour cavalcade started in SW1, wound its way through the heart of the capital, past all the cliched landmarks and finished at some delapidated country estate near Twickenham.

Why did we get an equine tug? Well, in our wisdom we figured it would be best to sit the snapper backwards-facing on the bike, this way he could get an uninterrupted view of our priceless 125-strong subject. We fastened ourselves together around the waist with a Renault 5 seat belt and two carabinas. We fully expected some interest from the old Bill.

This is what the law states:
You MUST NOT carry more than one pillion passenger who MUST sit astride the machine on a proper seat. They should face forward with both feet on the footrests. You MUST NOT carry a pillion passenger unless your motor cycle is designed to do so. Provisional licence holders MUST NOT carry a pillion passenger.
[Laws RTA 1988 sect 23, MV(DL)R 1999 reg 16(6) & CUR 1986 reg 102]

The word 'should' provided our loophole. In the eyes of those versed in law 'should' is an advisory word whereas 'must' carries no such ambiguity.

Horse cop definitely didn't see the funny side. 'You are not riding anywhere like that.' he threatened. After a minute or two of traffic stopping negotiations he gave up and clip-clopped into the distance.

Were we just lucky or were we operating within the law?

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