This month I’m looking at off-road bikes, policing priorities and – strangely enough – you, the man on the Clapham Omnibus. All the incidents highlighted this month are from areas in which the Police and Crime Commissioner have listed tackling Anti-Social Behaviour as a priority and when they do that, the police in that area must tackle those issues. It’s what most of the public want them to do… the public want to feel safe in their communities, who wouldn’t.
We’re also a community… the biking community.
Images from @NottsRoadsPol
As a reminder, Sec 185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a ‘motorcycle’ means a mechanically propelled vehicle, not being an invalid carriage, with fewer than four wheels and the weight of which unladen does not exceed 410 kilograms, whilst Sec 136(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 defines a motor vehicle as a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on the roads.
It is, though, for the court to decide if a vehicle falls into those definitions and the court can use a hypothetical reasonable man as the decider, known as ‘The Man on the Clapham Omnibus’. A Sheriff in Scotland in 2004 at the court of appeal stated that if 100 reasonable men were shown a Kawasaki 125 off road trail bike and asked if they thought it was a motor vehicle then all 100 would answer in the affirmative.
So, imagine you are a ‘Man on the Clapham Omnibus’ and decide whether the bikes pictured above are mechanically propelled vehicles intended or adapted for use on the roads.
Notts Roads Policing caught the rider of this after he had said he would smoke them (slang for get away from them), after the rider stalled it. Not much smoking going on there then and the bike was seized, the rider reported for no driving licence, no insurance, no reg plate and no helmet.
Images from @MerPolTraffic
Carrying on with Anti-Social theme, Merseyside Police and Cheshire Police share a border where the towns of St Helens and Widnes meet. Responding to calls of what Merseyside Police called a ‘ride out’, both forces acted quickly to intercept and tackle the yobs. In Merseyside, seven people were arrested and 14 bikes were seized, of which 6 were confirmed as stolen.
Images from @CheshPolBC
Not to be outdone, Cheshire Police Bike Cops were reacting at the same time on their side of the border, recovering this stolen Husqvarna and this stolen moped.
Image from @DurhamPolice
Durham Police also list Anti-Social Behaviour as one of their priorities and have even set up a special operation known as Op Endurance to tackle the issue of ASB and motorcycles. They spotted, stopped and seized this electric motorbike in the Seaham area after receiving calls about it.
An interesting bike for the Clapham Omnibus Man… does this look like a motorbike to you or a beefed-up pedal cycle? It looks like a motorbike to me, it hasn’t even got pedals.
Images from @DerbyshirerRPU
To tackle all this off-road bike nuisance and, let’s not forget, criminality, police officers must go through a training course. I’ve been through it, and it’s one of the most enjoyable courses I was ever on; judging by these pics from Derbyshire Police RPU Bikers they’re enjoying it as well.
On a serious note though, in the same month that we were celebrating motorcycling at Motorcycle Live the people shown here were doing their best to ruin it.
They aren’t kids or young adults with nothing better to do, they’re riding stolen bikes and illegal bikes around our streets and open land.
I used to ride a KTM SMC R as a daily and almost every police officer I passed on my way to work looked at me and the bike. Ultimately, if we don’t put a stop to this behaviour, the reasonable people on the Clapham Omnibus will see a motorcycle and not know the difference between them and us.