Guides

Speeding: Roadside and courtroom manners

Not that you'll ever need this lot of course, but just in case here's how to make the best of a bad situation. After more tugs than I can count and nine court appearances here's what I've learned

When you get pulled:

Pull over gently somewhere sensible, get off the bike and take your lid off immediately.

Stand in the gutter if there is one and let the copper stand on the pavement so he's above you (makes 'em feel good). Don't get lippy no matter how much you want to - he now has the power of life or death over you and can either let you go with a slap of the wrist or make your life a total nightmare.

You'll most likely be asked why you've been stopped. Think about it and be candid but avoid specifics. Something like "speeding", or "being an idiot" will do far better than a full confession like, "170mph for the last 50 miles," or "that massive stand-up wheelie".

If they ask how fast you were going they might not have a fix on your speed so admit nothing. Admit speeding if it's obvious you were but if pressed for a speed, a simple, "I was looking at the road not the speedo so I couldn't say," will do nicely.

And if they've been following in a car and have you on video, ask to see it before coughing to any major offences. You may find they've only got you on camera for a fraction of a second and actually saw a lot less than you think.

But the basic rule is to stay both humble and polite at all times and hope you've got an old-school human copper rather than the increasingly-common robo-nazis who seem to be taking over the traffic division.

When you go to court:

If you've been properly bad - anything over a ton, anything more serious than plain speeding (dangerous driving, etc) - you will need a solicitor. Whoever you go for pick one that specializes in bike cases and who you feel comfortable with.

Wear a sober but smart suit, shirt and tie, remove any flash jewelry, and look presentable. Magistrates are generally upper-middle-class folk who have to deal with petty scumbags all day long, know you're a bike offender and will be expecting the worst. If you look more like the nice sort of young man their daughter may bring to the tennis club barbecue at least you start off as well as possible.

In terms of defences - whether you're represented or doing it yourself - all the mags really want to see is that you're aware of what your misdemeanor and are repentant. Try and justify your law-breaking in any way chances are they'll only come down on you more heavily.

If you could be facing a ban, an employer's letter explaining how you need your licence for your job (if you do) and how you'll lose that job if you lose said licence doesn't hurt either.

After this all you can do is sit back and wait for four strangers to decide your fate. All part of the yin and yang that is motorcycling.

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