I Thought The bike Was In Good Order

Question:

I currently have 6 points (SP50), from August x. Details of the past few days are as follows…

I pulled into a filling station in Wilmslow, Cheshire on x. I own an insured/taxed/mot’d Honda x.

As I was filling up a Traffic police car pulled in to fill up also. As I was paying the officer was having a look around the bike.

He pointed out the front tyre was illegal (low tread). Also he noticed fork oil from the front suspension was leaking quite badly, causing oil to run down the right hand side fork and onto the right hand side brake disk.

I have owned the bike for 3 months and in that time have had it serviced, and kept on top of needed repairs, expected on a bike of this age.

I have receipts for a new rear tyre,
a new brake caliper mount,
New exhaust Manifold ( as the old one perished making the bike very noisy! )
and fork seals. I noticed the fork was leaking a little, so had my local motorbike garage fit some new seals. I was unaware that this had not only not fixed the problem, but the newer oil, being thinner and in greater quantities, was running out to such an extent. Had I realised this I would have had the bike booked in immediately for further work on the forks. I knew the front tyre was low, and was on my list for this month. I did not realise it was illegal as it does have tread on one side, but i stand corrected. I do not contest that the front tyre is illegal.

I would normally expect in this situation for the policeman to point out my error, and issue me with a VDRS, 14 days to fix notice and possibly 3 points for the tyre. The bike rides fine, otherwise I would have noticed a lack of front braking and been made aware of the extent of the leak myself. Motorbikes are fitted with twin calipers at the front, so I still have full use of the other brake, and rear brake (all brakes have recently been serviced/bled, with new pads fitted to the rear.)

In extreme circumstances, where the bike is deemed dangerous, I would accept that an officer would wish to have the bike removed from the public road. The officer in question did indeed deem this to be the case, despite not being a trained mechanic, nor am I. I accepted that the bike needs more urgent attention than previously thought, and offered to have the bike picked up by my pre mentioned motorbike repair garage, so repairs could be carried out asap.

I have been told (possibly incorrectly) that an officer must issue a warning that if the bike is ridden again before repairs are carried out, they will seize the bike. If this had happened I would have agreed, and had the bike picked up by the motorbike garage. No warning was given.

The officer ignored my suggestion, stating the bike must be seized immediately and recovered by the police appointed recovery yard. In March I had a car accident, and the police offered at the scene to recover my car, using x. I was unaware at the time of the Government set fee for police authorized recovery. In the case of my car £250 + storage and VAT. The total bill being over £300.

I realised if my bike entered that same yard I would incur such ridiculous costs again, and explained this to the officer. But to no avail as he insisted the motorbike be seized for inspection. I had to accept and walk home.

I attended the inspection, along with my motorbike garage owner, which went exactly as I would have expected. The front tyre is illegal as there is a patch of unmeasurable tread, and the forks are leaking oil onto front right hand side brake. I do not question these points. The inspector agreed and I hope included in his report that the bike has obvious signs of upkeep, with receipts to prove attempts to maintain. He also agreed and I hope included in his report that the fork leak shows no signs of being there for any length of time, and could have happened whilst riding, slowly over time, giving no real sign of damage. For all I know this new (larger) leak could have happened on the ride before pulling in to fill up.

After being parked up for the weekend after being seized the oil had leaked to a point where it had formed a small puddle. The inspector agreed this wouldn’t have previously happened as I use the bike daily. The officer is convinced (despite having no more mechanical training than me) that this leak had been ignored for weeks. This is not the case, as the (qualified) inspector agreed.

As with the tyre, I accept daily checks are supposed to make the owner aware of such issues, and I failed to check daily. My bad. But I did not deliberately ride a bike with no front braking, as a). I was not aware of the problem growing, and b). the bike still brakes perfectly well. I would happily test that the bike will stop within the 73 metres at 60 mph. I know this as I had to stop quickly that week when a car pulled out from a side road in front of me.

After the inspection I assumed the bike would be released at a cost of £150, and ordered to not be ridden until fixed. This was not the case as the officer has ordered the bike to not be released. I didn’t understand why, so telephoned the station on Thurs night (3rd). I was told the bike will be kept until after a court summons, in case I contest. I was unaware this would even go to court, let alone aware of the possibility of not being able to fix, and ride my bike again for 2-3 months while I wait for a summons.

I was not warned before the bike was seized. I have had a “warning” before for other things years ago, and none was given prior to the bike being seized.

The officer refused to accept I was unaware of the extent of the leak, despite this being the case.

The officer is convinced I fail to keep up maintenance of the bike despite the receipts and great condition of the rest of this old bike.

The officer lied on the stop form, ticking the box “RTA”. Road Traffic Accident would give him unquestioned power to seize the bike, for inspection as to whether it’s condition was in any way to blame for the accident. There was no accident, this was a routine traffic stop – in fact I wasn’t even riding/stopped, I was filling up with fuel. He should have ticked “other”. I believe he ticked “RTA” to ensure power to seize the bike. Again – without warning.

I offered to have the bike picked up by my garage, he ignored this. A perfectly reasonable offer I believe once I was made aware of the leak.

3 points could have been issued at the scene. Why the need for months of waiting, magistrates etc. I am not some antisocial thug ragging around estates. I am a 28 (nearly!) year old man, who has limited funds but attempts to keep the bike in very good condition, but who has failed to replace one tyre in time, and who’s bike has suffered a fork seal leak.

I give up with trying to accept, as I feel the course of events, and the pending course of events vastly outweigh the offence. I have no issue with 3 points for the tyre if that has to be, and an order to fix the forks.

But any number of points, plus the possibility they could tot up to a ban, plus £150 release fee, plus 3 months without my bike, plus no caution, plus a lie on the stop form… It’s just ridiculous.

Thanks for your time reading this essay! I hope you can help, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Emma Says:

You are only at risk of 3 points for this offence. I assume that you have been summons for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. If you commit a number of offences at the same time you only get points for one of the offences.

Based on what you have said it seems sensible that you plead guilty because you seem to accept that the vehicle was in a poor condition. However there is a little know section of the road traffic act (s.48 RTOA 1988) which you could use to try and avoid the points. If you can show that you were unaware of the defect/risks then the court has a discretion not to impose any points. You should use your receipts in relation to the other work that had been carried out, to show that you are careful and that you do try to maintain the bike in good order.

If the court agree that you were unaware of these issue then they have a discretion not to put the points on. You can use the loss of use and storage fees as additional mitigation to show that you have already suffered considerably.

The officer seized your bike as evidence rather than under the police act which requires a warning.

If you would like my help based on a fixed fee then please come back to me.



About Emma Patterson

Emma has built Patterson Law into one of the leading specialist motoring law legal practices in the UK. By carefully assembling a team of exceptional road traffic law experts Patterson Law has been able to out perform their competitors with high success rates in court.
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