James May takes speed awareness course

James May Honda speed awareness course

Former Top Gear host and keen Honda motorcycle fan James May has been caught speeding and, rather than paying the fine and copping demerit points, he is opting to do a speed awareness course.

May had just picked up a new Honda CBR600RR and was shortly afterwards picked up for speeding in a 30mph (48km/h) speed zone.

He tweeted to his 2.73 million followers: “Bought new motorcycle. Busted for speeding in the first 16 miles.”

And in a Twitter update he sarcastically describes his speeding as “shameful” and says “I’ll come quietly” as he prepares for his speed awareness course.

In the UK motorists can opt to complete a Speed Awareness Course (NSAC), as an alternative to receiving a fine and demerit points.

The UK course costs £100 and lasts 4½ hours in a classroom setting. Motorists can attend only one course in three years.

Last year, 1.2 million motorists took that option.

It’s designed to “re-educate” low-end speed offenders, not high-end offenders.

In some Australian states, there are similar courses, but they are mandatory when you have built up a high-end offence or accumulate a certain level of traffic infringements and not offered as an alternative to a fine or demerits.

To qualify for the course in the UK, the motorist’s speeding needs to be within certain limits for example in a 30mph (48km/h) zone, speed needs to be between 35mph (56km/h) and 42mph (68km/h).

So obviously James wasn’t giving the CBR600RR the berries, just drifting over the limit.

James May Top Gear speed awareness course
James May

Speaking to the Mail Online, he said it was “a fair cop”.

“I try to respect speed limits and rules in urban areas,” he says.

As do most motorists.

However, the frequent placement of speed cameras around our nation is leading to a lot of low-end or accidental speeders copping fines. The more you ride and drive, the more chance you have of accumulating demerit points.

Some professional motorists such as bike couriers, have even lost their licences and livelihoods from a series of low-end speeding offences.

The opportunity to take a course could save their jobs.

Instead, Australian states have systems where motorists can opt to suspend their licence for a few months, or have one remaining point for a year.

Which would you prefer: a course, short suspension or ride on a point for a year?


  1. I think that all of these low speed speeding fines are rubbish. (Except around school zones) Nothing more than cash cows for governments who cannot control their spending. Fining people for doing 64 in a 60 zone won’t stop the 18 year old on P plates from wrapping his clapped out turbo Skyline around a pole at 200 km/h out the back of Sunnybank at 3AM on a Sunday morning. Recently I rode from Hendra to Kilcoy on a Sunday and passed 7 radar units. What a lot of hot cocky crap. Radar on exit ramps off the North Coast Highway. Unmarked camera vans on the highway between Woodford and Kilcoy. (Scene of some of my most memorable high speed trips in the early morning in a Lotus Twin Cam Escort over 40 years ago!) When the government says.. “It’s not about the money”, then you can bet it IS about the money. The nanny state is upon us!

  2. Not being ripped off in the first place would be the best option!
    Speed limits are actually an advisory (we think it safer to stay below xxkph) but because it’s so easy to may money out of fines speed limits have become a death sentence sometimes quite literally.

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