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Five top tips to keep a clean licence!

It’s not just about riding slower, ride smarter and help to keep the points off your driving licence

THE chilling double flash of a speed camera in your peripheral vision. It’s normally followed by a seven-word string of swearwords inside your helmet and hurried glances at your speedo. It’s then followed by a nice letter dropping through your letterbox, probably advising that you need to pay for your misdemeanour.

Many will advise that the best way to keep a clean licence is to simply ride slower. While that’s true, it’s not really very enjoyable and anyway – even the most cautious road users could fall foul of the cursed speed camera!

So, if your licence is bulging at the seams with too many points of the wrong kind, don’t ride slower, ride smarter – here’s how.

1. Know your enemy!

If you’re riding locally you should already have an idea of where the speed cameras are. Getting clocked on a fixed camera in the area you live in just goes to show you’re being a dick – there really is no excuse!

If you’re riding in an area less known to you, spend a bit of time online before you go reviewing the speed camera locations at your destination. For an up-to-date list, check out speedcameramap.co.uk, it lists the location and also the type of camera fixed there.

To find out how accurate the speed cameras are in your area, check out this article.

2. Plug in

The simple act of plugging in your headphones to your phone could be enough to save you a speed fine. Some mobile-based satnav apps like Waze will warn you of approaching fixed, average and even mobile speed cameras. It also emits a different sound for each of them and can advise you if a police car is within the area you are riding in.

3. Go steady on overtakes

Scaring the shit out of a driver as you skim their wing mirror at 170mph on the A1 may make you feel like Billy-Big-Bollocks, in actual fact, it just gives us bikers a bad name – don’t do it. You could also be buzzing a plain-clothed copper.

Unlikely as it will be, given there are almost no coppers on the streets, some forces still use undercover police cars, especially on routes that are crawling with speeding motorists. But a copper in a standard car is still something you can spot if you know what to look for!

First off, there will mostly be two people in the car, not always but most of the time. Look for multiple rear-view mirrors too, the passenger will normally have one if they are the police. A clear sign that the car ahead is not police is if they have any personalisation on the car, stickers, rims, spoiler or even a magic tree handing from the rear-view mirror. Police cars also tend to have the dealership sticker removed from the rear window and no dealership mark on the reg-plate.

4. Check the gantries

The new breed of Smart Motorways includes fixed cameras on the gantries, but not on everyone. Sometimes they are on one in three or four, but they are easy to spot. They are fixed to the tower that anchors the gantry to the ground. They are set at the same level as the bottom of the gantry and are large boxes that are angled into the road, aimed at the rear of the vehicles as they pass. As with all fixed cameras, they are covered with reflective material so should be fairly easy to spot.

5. Don’t obviously be a dick!

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. Use your loaf, basically.

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