Le­gal

If you’re in the wrong, ad­mit it.

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

Q

This is slightly em­bar­rass­ing. I am an ex-cop­per and I have been rid­ing bikes for more years than I care to men­tion. I re­gard my­self as a pretty steady and safe mo­tor­cy­clist, but I made a rid­ing er­ror. Go­ing into a fairly or­di­nary left-hand bend, not at any great speed, I just made a pig’s ear of it, over­cooked it, went onto the wrong side of the road, fairly marginally, and was clipped by an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle. Un­for­tu­nately, I sus­tained some pretty se­ri­ous in­juries, and spent a pe­riod in hos­pi­tal. Now that I am out of hos­pi­tal I am about to be in­ter­viewed un­der cau­tion by the Police. Ob­vi­ously, I know the form. I am ex-job. I en­tirely ac­cept that the collision was caused by my lack of con­cen­tra­tion. It is not the other guy’s fault. I am gen­uinely sorry that I must have ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fied the guy in the on­com­ing car. What I re­ally do not want though is six points on my li­cence for driv­ing with­out due care. What is my best strat­egy for avoid­ing points?

A

You will know lo­cal police pro­ce­dure bet­ter than I will, but police of­fi­cers are hu­mans and the very first thing that you need to do is pass the at­ti­tude test, some­thing that you will well re­mem­ber from your days in the job. If you come out try­ing to de­fend what you did, and you give no in­di­ca­tion that you pro­pose to do that, you will im­me­di­ately put the in­ter­view­ing of­fi­cer’s back up. If you in­stantly ac­knowl­edge that you made a rid­ing er­ror, it was a lapse of con­cen­tra­tion, it is some­thing that you are em­bar­rassed about, you are ac­tu­ally hor­ri­fied that you have made such a bad er­ror, and that you want to go on to take some ad­vanced train­ing, or at least a refresher, then this will go a long way to as­sist­ing the police of­fi­cer in mak­ing the cor­rect charg­ing de­ci­sion.

The police of­fi­cer who is deal­ing with the case has dis­cre­tion. He can ei­ther rec­om­mend a driver im­prove­ment course, which is re­garded as a suc­cess by most forces, and the police of­fi­cer will take into ac­count the views of the “vic­tim”, the un­for­tu­nate guy who you gave a heart-stop­ping mo­ment to, who was com­ing the other way. Again, this is pretty ba­sic psy­chol­ogy. If the driver of the other car knows that you are mak­ing no ex­cuses, you are not try­ing to blame him, you are not go­ing to try and run a claim against his in­sur­ance, and you are be­ing truth­ful, he is much more likely to say “this poor guy has suf­fered enough, I am happy for him to take a driver im­prove­ment course”. So far you have got two ticks in the box for go­ing on the driver im­prove­ment course. Make the police of­fi­cer’s de­ci­sion easy to send you on the driver im­prove­ment course. You have al­ready clearly de­cided that you are wholly to blame for this ac­ci­dent, and you are right, a driver com­ing in the op­po­site way does not have to ex­pect a mo­tor­cy­clist who has over­cooked the bend rid­ing on the wrong side of the road. Try­ing to de­fend your rid­ing or your po­si­tion­ing is ac­tively against your in­ter­ests.

Also, do not fol­low this ur­ban myth that if you ac­cept cul­pa­bil­ity for an ac­ci­dent that your in­sur­ance com­pany will not pay out, or start giv­ing you a hard time on your in­sur­ance. That is a com­plete myth. In­sur­ers find it ex­tremely frus­trat­ing when peo­ple will not ac­cept their own cul­pa­bil­ity. Your in­sur­ers also can­not tell you to start talk­ing non­sense to the police un­der in­ter­view. To do so would be a con­spir­acy to per­vert the course of jus­tice. So in short, fess up, throw your­self at the mercy of the in­ter­view­ing police of­fi­cer, make sure that he goes back with a mes­sage to the other driver that you are en­tirely hold­ing your hands up and you are not go­ing to be dif­fi­cult about any kind of in­sur­ance claim, put the idea into the police of­fi­cer’s head that you ac­tively want ad­di­tional train­ing, and your odds of get­ting a driver im­prove­ment course are pretty high. This is es­pe­cially so as you have an oth­er­wise ex­em­plary driv­ing record with no col­li­sions and no points. I would be sur­prised if you do not get a driver im­prove­ment course if you play it this way.

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