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.
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?