Five tips for keeping your licence clean

Because points do not win prizes

Five tips for keeping your licence clean

Sitting on nine points? Terrified of your insurance renewal? Need a clean licence for your job? Well, sell the bike and buy a nice Honda Jazz is our advice.

Seriously though, while we would always advise simply ‘don’t speed’, even the most cautious road users can suffer a monetary lapse and some people just seem to be a magnet for points.

Don’t be like them, with our five tips.

1. Note where speed cameras are most likely to be

Nine times out of 10, speed cameras are located either where there's been previous crashes or where they're likely to catch a lot of speeders. That usually means car speeders, since bikes are a tiny minority on the road. So wide, clear straight roads, especially if the limit has just changed down to a 30 from a 40, say, are very likely to have a camera on them. 

Cameras are unusual on motorways, except for those with variable speed zones, or roadworks. There are exceptions though: the feds in Cumbria often put a camera van on a motorway bridge.

50mph stretch of the A1 = very likely

Seems simple enough, but it’s probably a camera close to home or on your daily commute that you’re most likely to get caught out by. Hammer the local speed camera locations into your head and memorize whatever landmarks are on the approach to them.

Get camera spotting! You should be able to see if an average-speed camera is forward- or rear-facing by looking at where it's pointing. Obviously a front-facing camera can't see your number plate – but some are rear-facing, so watch out for them. Motorway cameras are constantly adapting, with average-speed cams appearing in variable limit zones now too – tread carefully here.

Police numbers are down massively (thanks Theresa!), so the chances of getting pulled by an unmarked car or bike, like the Fireblade pictured above in North Wales, are lower than ever. But they're still out there. Some forces try to sneak in with older or unlikely cars, but there are ways to spot them. There's almost always two people them, so driver-only cars can usually be discounted. Look for two rearview mirrors on the windscreen, no dealer sticker in the back window, and it'll be a recent, large saloon or estate car. With bikes, perhaps the behaviour is the best guide. Anyone following you at a moderately-close distance is a worry – slow down for a second and see if they pass you or not. If in doubt, pull over. If he's pulling you, he'll do it then, and you'll know one way or the other.

Some local rider groups on Facebook or forums will share unmarked vehicles they've spotted.

Finally, the best advice for bikes in particular is to avoid speeding in obvious places. So, the A43 outside Silverstone after the MotoGP maybe isn't the best place for a flat-out run! Ditto Box Hill, Ace Café, Ponderosa at the Horseshoe Pass, etc etc. Use your loaf, basically.