Ran a Red Light > I'll be hearing from the courts!

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sesme
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Ran a Red Light > I'll be hearing from the courts!

Postby sesme » 17 Sep 2008, 12:47pm

I was travelling on my usual route to work through Fulham at 6am this morning when I approached a red traffic light at a junction of single lane carriageways. I overtook a van waiting at the front (he was waiting in the green cycling tarmac!), looked left and right, and the only thing on the road was a bus quite a way down the road. I crossed the red light (which I only ever do if it's really early in the morning and there is little traffic), only to see a police car was waiting at the red light on the other side. They didn't do anything straight away, but then turned round, woke the neighbourhood up with the sirens, and pulled me over.

Now I'm not one to get mouthy or cocky with the police, so I bit my lip for 20 minutes while he told me I was an arrogant outlaw, how I was a threat to myself, how wealthy people in Fulham have really fast cars, and how they would only get 6 months in prison for knocking me down with such cars (and how he'd been discussing this injustice on the victim over tea with his colleagues earlier that morning). At the end of this I thought it was going to be a slap on the wrist or a £30 on the spot fine at the most. But no, this man said he wanted to teach me a lesson for being a threat to myself, performed a proper arrest, took a statement, and said I'd be hearing from the courts within two weeks, and could expect to attend a magistrates court, pay up to £1000 fine, and when I asked about points on my driving licence, he couldn't rule it out!

What's likely to happen next? Is this a common occurrence?

(Now I know there will be many of you who think "Serves you right" but I've heard enough of that already, so constructive comments only please)

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Coffee
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Postby Coffee » 17 Sep 2008, 1:06pm

I would have thought you'd get off, I think it has to be pretty hardcore for CPS to take it further. (from what I've seen)

Will this scare be enough to put you off doing it again? How come you didn't spot the police?

JQ666
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Postby JQ666 » 17 Sep 2008, 1:07pm

The way I understand it, is that an offence on a bicycle can't result in an endorsement on your driving licence. I may be wrong, but I think that's the case.

Can't believe you didn't just get an on-the-spot fine. Clogging up the court with a minor offence where you are plainly guilty is crazy, especially when more serious crimes never even see a court room.

However, if you do the crime, you must do the ..................... (I don't think you'll get a stretch, will you? :shock: )

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Coffee
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Postby Coffee » 17 Sep 2008, 1:31pm

Here is a little bit lifted from bikeforall.net, is this true?
http://www.bikeforall.net/cyclingfaq.php?show=42#42

The UK Highway Code - a useful but not a definitive source for UK legislation on motoring and cycling offences - says the penalty point system is "intended to deter drivers from following unsafe driving practices...The accumulation of penalty points acts as a warning to drivers that they risk disqualification if further offences are committed."

Note the word 'drivers.'

CYCLING AND DRIVING LICENCE PENALTY POINTS

In law, cyclists propel vehicles on the highway and so have to adhere to the same rules as motorists. However, the fines and penalties for offences are different. Cyclists DO NOT qualify for three penalty points for failing to comply with a red light. Offending cyclists, when caught, are given a non-endorsable fixed penalty ticket for £30. There are no offences that carry penalty points for cyclists.


Although dangerous cycling carries a fine of up to £2500. I'm sure that would be if you caused an accident or serious harm to someone though.

Am I wrong in thinking that because the police officer went for the greater offence, if not taken further - rejected by CPS, it can't now be 'down graded' to a lesser offence.
He really should have given you the fine!

pigman
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Postby pigman » 17 Sep 2008, 1:45pm

I think that its more about scaremongering than reality (Laymans knowledge only). Processing through the courts wastes lots of time, peperwork and money. In addition, I cant see a copper relishing paperwork and a court attendance. But, if it does go to court, you need to ask why - especially if you admit guilt and were compliant at the scene. I would guess that courts are a last resort where complexities arise - so had you threatened him, or assaulted him, or wish to argue your innocence. If youre prepared to cough up the £30, then a court appearance could be viewed as victimisation (what makes your case different to the dozens of others) or intimidation.

I'd wait and see before acting. hopefully the bo##ocking you took at the scene will make up for the £30 you didnt pay and the whole thing was hot air.

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 17 Sep 2008, 2:31pm

The police investigate, the CPS prosecute.

One problem with reporting people for summons (rather than arrest and charge) is the risk of being stiffed (given a false name and address) and then being stuck with a summons that cannot be served. Probably the majority of people who are reported are in a motor vehicle which does give a clue to ID. I tend to think this is why cyclists get as much latitude as they do from the police.

The details of the legislation have probably changed but ever since the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 was enacted, the police have had a general power to arrest for any offence if they do not have enough info for the service of a summons (e.g. fear they may have been stiffed - see above.)

If you have been arrested, taken to a police station and all the rest of it, I don't think anybody was bluffing.

Whether you were reported for summons or not, the ultimate decision whether to proceed is entirely one for the CPS, but I should not hold your breath. Riding through traffic lights at red might easily be treated as reckless / dangerous / careless cycling or similar especially as there was other traffic there, and from your description you didn't even see a police car at the junction, presumably emblazoned with POLICE in letters 30 cms high (I've gone metric. :wink: ) Either way, a neutral observer might assume that either you were unobservant or you had decided to disregard the presence of the police as well as the colour of the traffic light.

It doesn't affect your driving licence but if you have car insurance, it is probably a condition of your policy that you notify the insurance company.

I've no idea what the current likely punishment might be, but none of what you seem to feel was mitigation is likely to cut much ice with a beak. I'd be thinking of saving up a couple of hundred quid and bracing myself for more. On top of that come prosecution costs and I think there is a Blunket (sic) charge for the victims of crime.

(If this all sounds, cruel / unfair / harsh etc., it's what DABDA or whatever they are called are complaining about when they refer to the persecution of the motorist.)
Last edited by thirdcrank on 17 Sep 2008, 2:32pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Richardson
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Postby Tom Richardson » 17 Sep 2008, 2:31pm

Coffee wrote:In law, cyclists propel vehicles on the highway and so have to adhere to the same rules as motorists.


not strictly true. I suspect that there are a few differences but an important one is that cyclists are not required to hold a licence in the way that a motorist is.

It would be unfair to put penalty points on a licence that you hold for another activity when the same principle couldn't be applied to someone who doesn't have such licence - so it would be entirely wrong of them to do that - if the law permits it which I doubt.

Ambermile
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Postby Ambermile » 17 Sep 2008, 3:01pm

Tom Richardson wrote:
Coffee wrote:In law, cyclists propel vehicles on the highway and so have to adhere to the same rules as motorists.


not strictly true. I suspect that there are a few differences but an important one is that cyclists are not required to hold a licence in the way that a motorist is.

It would be unfair to put penalty points on a licence that you hold for another activity when the same principle couldn't be applied to someone who doesn't have such licence - so it would be entirely wrong of them to do that - if the law permits it which I doubt.


"There are no offences that carry penalty points for cyclists. " in the same paragraph you quoted :shock: Maybe you should watch out for hidden police cars too?

Arthur :lol:
I make stuff, that's all.

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 17 Sep 2008, 3:36pm

The points on licence thing - which is a side issue in this case - is not something to which playground rules of fairness apply. There has been a lot of talk about using driving disqualification as a sanction for all sorts of things such as not paying child maintenance. For all I know (or care) some of this is probably in force already.

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yakdiver
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Postby yakdiver » 17 Sep 2008, 3:42pm

Sorry to be Joe blunt, but you broke the law and you deserve everything you get
I see this is your first post welcome to the forum

ianr1950
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Postby ianr1950 » 17 Sep 2008, 3:58pm

numbnuts wrote:Sorry to be Joe blunt, but you broke the law and you deserve everything you get
I see this is your first post welcome to the forum


What a load of codswallop :wink:
Last edited by ianr1950 on 17 Sep 2008, 4:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

ianr1950
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Re: Ran a Red Light > I'll be hearing from the courts!

Postby ianr1950 » 17 Sep 2008, 4:00pm

sesme wrote:I was travelling on my usual route to work through Fulham at 6am this morning when I approached a red traffic light at a junction of single lane carriageways. I overtook a van waiting at the front (he was waiting in the green cycling tarmac!), looked left and right, and the only thing on the road was a bus quite a way down the road. I crossed the red light (which I only ever do if it's really early in the morning and there is little traffic), only to see a police car was waiting at the red light on the other side. They didn't do anything straight away, but then turned round, woke the neighbourhood up with the sirens, and pulled me over.

Now I'm not one to get mouthy or cocky with the police, so I bit my lip for 20 minutes while he told me I was an arrogant outlaw, how I was a threat to myself, how wealthy people in Fulham have really fast cars, and how they would only get 6 months in prison for knocking me down with such cars (and how he'd been discussing this injustice on the victim over tea with his colleagues earlier that morning). At the end of this I thought it was going to be a slap on the wrist or a £30 on the spot fine at the most. But no, this man said he wanted to teach me a lesson for being a threat to myself, performed a proper arrest, took a statement, and said I'd be hearing from the courts within two weeks, and could expect to attend a magistrates court, pay up to £1000 fine, and when I asked about points on my driving licence, he couldn't rule it out!

What's likely to happen next? Is this a common occurrence?

(Now I know there will be many of you who think "Serves you right" but I've heard enough of that already, so constructive comments only please)


What is the relevance of Fulham people having fast cars and what an over the top jobsworth mr Plod.

Edwards
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Postby Edwards » 17 Sep 2008, 6:28pm

6am with an excuse for breakfast in the Police canteen filling in the paperwork. Was he at the end of the shift or the start

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Wildduck
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Postby Wildduck » 17 Sep 2008, 7:32pm

Sounds suspicious to me. Either....

The story is true and the police were just putting on the frighteners with no intention of following it through (to do so would attract criticism from their superiors and the CPS for being over-zealous)

or....

The story is fake as bait to generate debate/discord/disinformation amongst cyclists for a vareity of reasons. E.g....

Force the RLJ debate anf how far the law should/could/can go
A disgruntled motorist wanting to scare cyclists into not RLJ


I must admit, the latter appears more likely!
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thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 17 Sep 2008, 7:46pm

Wildduck

I often wonder if some posts on here are spoofs - there are many weirdos in the world making false 999s, contacting Crimewatch about things they never saw, ringing up women to ask about their underwear etc etc., so I had my usual doubts about this from a first-time poster.

On the other hand, I'm at a loss to understand why you think anybody would be criticised by their 'superiors' whatever that means for reporting a cyclist for passing a red light. Police enforcement is supposed to reflect public attitudes and they go to a lot of trouble to find out what they are. Surely, you don't need Peter Snow and his swingometer to know that a large part of the general public deplores cyclists who break the law? There would be a lot of votes for the politician who campaigned on a platform of prhibiting cycling altogether.

One of the few bits of realistic detail which is missing from this narrative is any reference to a crowd forming and cheering. I'll presume that at 6 am in Fulham, a lot of people are still in bed.