I want to break the law and get away with it

M25 Motorway

Much wailing and frothing at the mouth this week at the news that Bedfordshire’s PCC is proposing a “zero tolerance” stance to motorway speeding.

Cue apologists for lawbreakers moaning about the poor, put-upon motorist being used as a “cash cow” for unfair taxes. If fines from speeding are to be considered a tax, they are an entirely voluntary one. If you don’t want to pay, the answer is trivially simple: don’t driver faster than the posted limit.

Whether or not you think that 70MH is a reasonable limit on the motorway, the fact is that it’s the legal limit. If you choose to exceed it, you have no grounds to complain if you are caught and prosecuted for it.

I would prefer that any zero tolerance towards speeding occur first on more minor roads, where vulnerable road users are more at risk.

A somewhat more legitimate criticism is that speed cameras do not detect dangerous driving that happens to be within the speed limit – tailgating, middle lane hogging, driving too fast for the conditions at hand, mobile phone use etc. Whilst true, it doesn’t detract from the usefulness of cameras for catching drivers so incompetent and unobservant that they cannot master the basic skill of driving within the speed limit.


Driver who killed Alan Neve should never have been employed as HGV driver

In June 2013, Barry Meyer drove the HGV he was driving into Alan Neve, killing him.

Mr Meyer jumped a red light, was uninsured and unlicenced (for that class of vehicle), and failed to see Mr Neve, driving straight into him.

Unfortunately, this post is going to be depressing reading.
Continue reading

Make pedestrian helmets compulsory says police chief Sir Graham Dim

A police chief has gone head-to-head with Cambridge’s MP after calling for compulsory pedestrian helmets.

Sir Graham Dim, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Sir Graham Dim, Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, wants a change in the law to force walkers to wear helmets.

But Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert, Cambridge’s MP, a keen walker who does not wear a helmet while walking in the city, says any law would backfire.

Conservative Sir Graham says the injuries caused by walking accident head wounds seen by his doctor son helped convince him helmets should be compulsory.

Sir Graham said: “I do think that wearing a pedestrian helmet should be compulsory. The damage that can be done if a pedestrian hits their head on a kerb can be terrible.

“My son has worked as an accident and emergency doctor and has seen the consequences of head injuries. When you think about it in those terms it seems obvious that a helmet should be worn.

“I certainly wear one when I am walking. It should be safety first all the time.”

Many trips and falls survivors and charities have said that helmets provide vital protection.

Read more at Cambridge News

Lenient Sentencing

Imagine I am responsible for a machine. A dangerous machine that, if operated carelessly, could injure or kill someone. This machine is only operated under the terms of a licence, which the authorities have the right to revoke should I show that I am unable of operating it safely.

Then imagine that I did in fact kill someone through the careless operation of that machine.

Furthermore, imagine that I had previously killed someone else with the same machine.

Do you think I would ever be allowed to operate that machine again?

Well, that’s exactly what happened in the case of Gary McCourt. He killed a cyclist in 1986, and then, in 2011 he killed again, when he killed Audrey Fife, a 75 year old from Edinburgh.

He was found guilty of causing death by careless driving. He received a 5 year driving ban, and 300 hours community service.

How anyone can view this as anything other than a scandalous dereliction of duty by the judge, is beyond me.

I could have accepted a non-custodial sentence, if a lifetime driving ban had been handed down, but this person could be back behind the wheel in 5 years.

Furthermore, the judge made the following astonishing comment in his judgement:

Mrs Fyfe wasn’t to blame in any way for the accident. However, she was not wearing a safety helmet and that, in my view, contributed to her death

A helmet isn’t a legal requirement for cyclists, and there is no evidence from the trial to suggest that it would have helped in this case. This is purely the judge’s opinion, and in my view, is despicable victim-blaming. Would he suggest that a gunshot victim was to blame for their own death because they were not wearing a bulletproof vest?

We urgently need stronger sentencing, and lifetime driving bans, in cases like this.