Compare and contrast

In 2011 Ghulam Murtza was stopped by the police, and issued a fixed penalty notice. He was prosecuted for committing an offence under section 24 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act, and fined £115. He was carrying his child on his bike, on a seat that may or may not have been strictly legal.

This is section 24 –

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 15.15.04

Section 24 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

As it happens, this is a fine I am at risk of receiving pretty much every single day, because I give my partner a ‘backie’ on my omafiets, like this –

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 15.12.13My oma isn’t ‘constructed or adapted’ for carrying more than one person – she just sits on the rack – so by the letter of the law we are both risking fines every time we do this.

This is the law Murtza fell foul off.

Compare this £115 fine with the cases of Michael Mason and Daniel Squire, who were both mown down from behind and killed by drivers.

In the case of Michael Mason, the driver faced no criminal proceedings whatsoever, despite the fact she ‘could not explain why she did not see Michael when many other witnesses had.’

In the case of Daniel Squire, the driver walked free from court, despite admitting texting while driving in the period immediately prior to the fatal collision, and (from the new reports available) a deeply unconvincing account of what transpired.

Two fatal collisions.

But no fines, not even any penalty points, in either case. Killing people apparently merits less punishment than carrying someone on a bike.

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11 Responses to Compare and contrast

  1. Mike Stead says:

    I *can’t wait* for a cop to pull me over giving one of my daughter a backie on our FR8. Because with a SWL of 250KG, UL-and CE-rated for use on heavy industrial sites, it most definitely *is* ‘‘constructed or adapted’ for carrying more than one person’.

    • I too have a Workcycles – it’s the Oma – and the rack is rated for 60kg. Unfortunately the law here is unhelpfully vague. So basically if an officer wants to fine you or me, he probably can.

      • Mike Stead says:

        I’m up for this occurrence. Bring it on. I’d take it to the Lords.

      • T.Foxglove says:

        Or the law is helpfully vague.. bungie cord a cushion on the rack & your bike has now been ‘adapted’ to carry a passenger.

        IIRC Ghulam Murtza ‘accepted’ a Fixed Penalty Notice at the time, didn’t pay it, went to court and then admitted the charge. Whether the fact that he had bought a seat and bolted it to the bike counted as a sufficient ‘adaptation’ wasn’t tested.

        Tangent:
        When FPN’s for Disorder were introduced I was told that accepting one could count as admitting your guilt making it harder to argue your innocence at a later trial. Is that the case & would it be the same for Road Traffic ones?

  2. rdrf says:

    Nice points.
    There are lot of important features about the Michael Mason case – see our take here http://rdrf.org.uk/2015/03/20/the-michael-mason-case-a-national-scandal-and-disgrace/.

    • Har Davdis says:

      Reading the news on UK’s cyclists I get the impression that they are considered weird or criminal by the general public and the authorities. Nobody seems to care when one of them gets involved in an accident, not even in a fatal one.

      • Mark Williams says:

        All true. But the really strange part is that there are significant numbers of alleged UK cycle campaigners who seem determined to perpetuate this state of affairs! They strongly identify themselves as members of a weird/ nerdy/ eccentric minority and would lose their sense of self-worth if normal people started cycling! I have never been able to work out whether those `campaigners’ consciously realise what they are doing. If you ask one of them, they immediately deny it…

  3. Notak says:

    “My oma isn’t ‘constructed or adapted’ for carrying more than one person”

    Really? You’re telling us your oma was not biologically constructed to carry your ma or pa, and yet she’s still your oma? ?!?!?!😉

  4. Jan says:

    If it’s a real dutch oma-fiets, then of course she is ‘constructed for the carriage of more then one person’. It’s a dutch bike, it’s constructed to carry two adults, plus groceries, or one adult and two children, plus a random piece of furniture.

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