I Fought the Law...
01 September 2009 18:53
…And the law won. Britain, Britain, Britain. An isle afloat in a sea of red tape, bureaucracy and silly fund-raising laws. A place where we really can be paranoid that someone is watching our every move with 24/7 surveillance, illegal phone taps, email scanners and mobile phone cameras.
A place where the law is the law, no matter how ridiculous some laws can be. Take parking restrictions. It’s perfectly ok for non-registered clampers to charge you whatever they want to have your car released but completely illegal for you to take a pair of bolt cutters and remove their locks.
Rogue traffic wardens roam the hip streets of Camden, waiting to pounce on anyone who dares park their vehicle an inch over the white line – even when you have been forced to do so by other drivers. What’s worse is they won’t leave a ticket on your car and the first thing you’ll hear about it is a summons from the court coming through your door.
Having said that they seemed perfectly happy to slap a nice yellow sticker on the tank of a friend’s Harley Custom which meant a pricey paint job had just been ruined. Be warned bikers, stay clear of Morrison’s car park in Camden, the wardens tend to hate bikers more than they do our four-wheeled brethren.
I’ve known many people who have fallen foul of these ambushing traffic leaches and tried in vain to have the fine over-turned on perfectly legitimate grounds. Guess what, they failed. The b—tards! Speed cameras are another way they get you.
I got caught by a mobile camera unit riding at 50mph in a 50mph zone – at least I thought it was a 50mph zone. When the ticket came through I wrote back and demanded to see evidence, they sent a photo clearly showing me burbling along on my trusty steel pony (it’s a Yamaha Virago so wouldn’t exactly call it a stallion).
Ok, I thought and went to take a look at that stretch of road again; there was no sign to say the speed limit had changed to 40mph on either side of the road so I asked for an explanation. None was forthcoming and I was tempted to take it to court, however with a holiday just a few weeks away I decided to bite the bullet and just pay the fine and take a hit for the points.
My mate who had been done on the same stretch in his works van a few days after me did take it further and ended up coughing up a lot more cash than I did. A few months later I found myself on the same stretch of road and what do I find but a brand new set of brightly coloured signs. The b—tards! I know someone who was fined £60 for dropping a cigarette butt out of the window recently.
While in the eyes of the law this is clearly littering it does make me wonder if they have nothing better to do – like finding stolen vehicles or stopping people without insurance. I mean come on, this country is so upside down it feels like you are actually rewarded if you are a benefit-scamming fraudster with no insurance, driving a stolen vehicle with 6 kids in the back none of which are wearing seat belts, swerving all over the road because you never passed your test and getting bonus points if you hit a few bikers on the way.
Now while this may seem a bit harsh let me tell you a story that happened to a friend of mine while riding through dense traffic. So my friend, let’s call him ‘Joe’, is filtering slowly though traffic and noticing that some cars are moving out to block his way stops to wait for a break in the traffic.
Joe is then hit from behind by a guy in a works van. Picking himself up the guy in the van, let’s call him ‘Fred’ does his best to make his getaway but ‘luckily’ an off duty traffic copper, let’s call him ‘Bill’ has seen what went off in his mirrors and positions his car in a way to stop the van. Anyway, about ten minutes later it transpires that Fred is not only not insured on the works van, but shouldn’t be working in the country either.
This is only the start of Joe’s problems. Remember the off duty traffic copper? Yes, well he claims to have seen the whole thing, and while he admits that Fred did hit Joe, he also says that Joe had been riding without due care and attention on the run up to the incident. Cue a lot of pencil pushing, nasty letters and solicitors. Joe gets less than half of the insured value of his VN800 and has to put up with driving his car to work now.
Fred gets a two year ban and is investigated for claiming benefits while working and being an illegal immigrant (it is rumored he has now changed his name and is working and driving for a different firm). Bill on the other hand is still out there on the mean streets of London, so be warned! So who else has a tale of brave souls attempting to fight the tyranny of the law?