Hertfordshire driver fears fine after cyclist triggers speed camera

Motorist with unblemished record calls for law to be clarified

by Simon_MacMichael   November 9, 2012  

Speed Camera © Simon MacMichael.jpg

A Hertfordshire motorist is said to be anxiously checking his mail for a speeding fine after being caught by the flash of a speed camera he claims was triggered by a cyclist. He has called for the law to be clarified, and also says it’s wrong that cyclists aren’t bound by the same rules as motorists, since by not having to abide to the speed limit, it places riders in danger.

Stuart Gurney, aged 54 and from Croxley Green, has apparently been dreading that a fixed penalty notice will drop onto his doormat ever since the incident on the morning of 26 October, reports the Watford Observer.

The newspaper reports that in 37 years of driving, Mr Gurney has not had a single point on his licence, and his reaction to the prospect of receiving a fine for something he claims he didn’t do is one of mild indignation mixed with a certain amount of bemusement.

The camera was triggered as a cyclist, whom the motorist had noticed closing in on him in his rear view mirror, caught him near the bottom of Scots Hill.

"When the camera flashed I couldn’t believe it, I thought I was only doing 28mph,” he explained.

"I managed to catch up with him, pulled him over and politely asked the cyclist, 'Excuse me, that camera didn't flash on behalf of me I hope’, he replied ‘No it was me it flashed for’.

"He was dressed like a racing cyclist but I can’t believe someone is going round as fast as possible trying to set speed cameras off.

"He could have slipped on some oil or if I'd had to brake suddenly he would end up coming over my car bonnet."

According to the Watford Observer, Mr Gurney has contacted Three Rivers District Council as well as the police on their non-emergency number, but has been informed that no action can be taken unless he actually receives a fine.

Bicycles in Great Britain have never been subject to a speed limit, which have only ever been applied to motor vehicles, although as Bike Hub’s Cycling and the Law article points out, cyclists can be prosecuted for “cycling furiously” or “wanton and furious riding.”

But Mr Gurney believes it is wrong that while motorists must adhere to the speed limit or risk a fine, cyclists don’t have to, something he thinks can place them in danger in circumstances such as those he found himself in.

"This should not be allowed to happen, this could have caused an accident.

"Bradley Wiggins' crash just goes to show that even the very best cyclists are vulnerable, I was once a cyclist myself so I know to look out for them but it is a huge risk cycling like that.”

He also maintained that rules needed to reflect specific circumstances such as the his own situation, worrying that he will be fined for something that he says wasn’t his fault.

"We have got to think where the law stands on things like this.

"I am not the guilty party but could be the subject of a penalty due to being in the camera at the time.

"Speed cameras are there for a reason but cyclists can just get away with it."

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary commented: "We are unable to comment on particular instances.

“However, photographic evidence taken from GATSO safety cameras is always checked before a Notice of Intended Prosecution is issued.

"An assessment of the speed of all vehicles in the photos is made and notices will not be issued where there is no evidence of a vehicle travelling over the speed limit.

"If a motorist believes they have been incorrectly issued with a notice then there is also an option to challenge it in court."

54 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

nostromo wrote:
So if it's a 40mph speed limit and there's a patch of oil or the driver has to brake suddenly it's OK?

Can't help feeling this guy is a bit sad sitting in his home worrying about the possibility of a summons or fine dropping onto his doormat. Seems like his unblemished record is the most important thing to him and he's mitigating the hell out of the situation by contacting all and sundry, including the local paper.

Someone should point out to him that fines are not automatic.

My Dad and his mate were pulled over by the cops back in the day. They were on a racing tandem and busting a 50mph speed limit. I think they were going for it a bit. Sorry, going for it 'furiously'.

No - creating a fuss and getting some attention is what is most important to him.

He hasn't received a fine, he hasn't received any points, he hasn't received anything whatsoever - he is calling up the police and journalists and whoever else will listen because he's worried he MIGHT get a ticket? And cyclists can just 'get away with it'? Oh look - there's the real agenda.

Puh-lease! Unless it's on a downhill very few cyclists are gonna be flirting with a 30mph limit, and virtually none will ever trouble speed cameras calibrated for faster speeds than that. (Even the few riders who ARE capable of maintaining 30mph are going to be edging over (or under) the limit by - at best - 2-3mph.)

Just another cycle-hater trying to dress up his prejudice as reasonable concern. Gotta admire the switch in tactics though - generally we're not welcome on roads because we slow drivers down or force them to take on unwelcome chores like, y'know - paying attention.

Now we're too fast and likley to raise the insurance costs of honest drivers with a rash of speed camera fly-bys.

What a pillock.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:02

3 Likes

Just wait until the daily mail readers hear about this. New fuel in the fire.

posted by Stu33 [5 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:10

1 Like

""He was dressed like a racing cyclist but I can’t believe someone is going round as fast as possible trying to set speed cameras off."

I dont know about you guys, but I go out most days with the sole intention of setting off speed cameras ..Smile NOT!!!

I understand he's a p1ssed off about the possibility of perhaps receiving a ticket/fine ... but does he REALLY THINK cyclists go out trying to trigger Speed Cameras ...

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [301 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:20

2 Likes

In all seriousness, those who are fast enough to trigger a speed camera, how do you know you have? Do have a helmet mirror or while doing 30+mph you have a look round Surprise Either way i’m not going to be setting anything off soon!

posted by yocto [20 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:23

4 Likes

If he's got no letter by now then the time's up. The police have 14 days the get the letter to you, and that's by recorded post (not just first class) otherwise they've lost any ability to prosecute you.

Get NIP not by recorded post? Bin it and wait for the reminder and then ask them to prove they contacted you in 14 days. I learnt this after Bristol post ate my NIP (truthfully) and did some research when I got the reminder.

posted by hennahairgel [19 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:28

1 Like

yocto wrote:
In all seriousness, those who are fast enough to trigger a speed camera, how do you know you have? Do have a helmet mirror or while doing 30+mph you have a look round Surprise Either way i’m not going to be setting anything off soon!

If it is a dull day the flash is quite obvious, not need to have a mirror or look behind you. Sometimes I can also spot the flash in a reflection from the car I'm overtaking Wink

posted by Dougie Doonhamer [2 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:29

1 Like

Lacticlegs wrote:
nostromo wrote:
So if it's a 40mph speed limit and there's a patch of oil or the driver has to brake suddenly it's OK?

Can't help feeling this guy is a bit sad sitting in his home worrying about the possibility of a summons or fine dropping onto his doormat. Seems like his unblemished record is the most important thing to him and he's mitigating the hell out of the situation by contacting all and sundry, including the local paper.

Someone should point out to him that fines are not automatic.

My Dad and his mate were pulled over by the cops back in the day. They were on a racing tandem and busting a 50mph speed limit. I think they were going for it a bit. Sorry, going for it 'furiously'.

No - creating a fuss and getting some attention is what is most important to him.

He hasn't received a fine, he hasn't received any points, he hasn't received anything whatsoever - he is calling up the police and journalists and whoever else will listen because he's worried he MIGHT get a ticket? And cyclists can just 'get away with it'? Oh look - there's the real agenda.

Puh-lease! Unless it's on a downhill very few cyclists are gonna be flirting with a 30mph limit, and virtually none will ever trouble speed cameras calibrated for faster speeds than that. (Even the few riders who ARE capable of maintaining 30mph are going to be edging over (or under) the limit by - at best - 2-3mph.)

Just another cycle-hater trying to dress up his prejudice as reasonable concern. Gotta admire the switch in tactics though - generally we're not welcome on roads because we slow drivers down or force them to take on unwelcome chores like, y'know - paying attention.

Now we're too fast and likley to raise the insurance costs of honest drivers with a rash of speed camera fly-bys.

What a pillock.

Well said and good choice of term of abuse. I was thinking of 'prat' but pillock is ideal.

Intresting that he felt obliged to chase after the cyclist. It's annoying that this kind of (non)story appears in the local press. It's scary when national press picks up on it.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:42

4 Likes

Chrisc wrote:
Are cyclists big enough to be see by a speed camera? The forward facing advisory ones never seem to pick me up, even on my motorbike?

From this clip, it would appear so.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qacLW2NSmi0

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
9th November 2012 - 12:07

2 Likes

"He could have slipped on some oil or if I'd had to brake suddenly he would end up coming over my car bonnet."

Not that IS a challenging w*nk...

Which, co-incidentally, is this 'news' story - a pile of it...

Pity the poor motorist who hasn't been CAUGHT in 37 years - I guarantee he'll have broken driving laws, albeit unintentionally, throughout this time, most likely speeding, RLJ-ing, illegal parking, dangerous or careless overtaking, mobile phone usage.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [413 posts]
9th November 2012 - 12:17

5 Likes

My dad used to scream at other motorists. I grew up genuinely believing 'pillock' was a word for a bad driver.

The International Ned Boulting Fan Club, @INBFC
http://goshyesnedboulting.tumblr.com/

INBFC's picture

posted by INBFC [11 posts]
9th November 2012 - 12:34

2 Likes

Some people will do anything to get in the paper.

As noted above, the time for an NIP has expired already, the photos (there are two!) would show that the cyclist was moving faster than him and therefore it would be disregarded, and if he's worried about the cyclist slipping on oil he should get his car serviced.

My favourite line was his "I used to be a cyclist, so..." Is this a new equivalent to "I'm not racist, but..."? Incidentally I used to be a pedestrian. I'm sitting down at the moment.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
9th November 2012 - 12:34

3 Likes

zanf wrote:
Chrisc wrote:
Are cyclists big enough to be see by a speed camera? The forward facing advisory ones never seem to pick me up, even on my motorbike?

From this clip, it would appear so.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qacLW2NSmi0

Interesting. Must be a combination of my matt black carbon and my very thin physique rendering me invisible to them! Thinking Stealth mode...

posted by Chrisc [144 posts]
9th November 2012 - 12:50

3 Likes

hennahairgel wrote:
If he's got no letter by now then the time's up. The police have 14 days the get the letter to you, and that's by recorded post (not just first class) otherwise they've lost any ability to prosecute you.

Get NIP not by recorded post? Bin it and wait for the reminder and then ask them to prove they contacted you in 14 days. I learnt this after Bristol post ate my NIP (truthfully) and did some research when I got the reminder.

Its actually only has to be issued within the 14 days, not received in 14 and if its sent recorded it doesn't matter if you claim you never received it as long as its sent within 14. Not that it makes much difference in this case.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2825 posts]
9th November 2012 - 13:48

2 Likes

What an attention seeking sop!

INBFC ha ha brilliant. Big Grin

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [468 posts]
9th November 2012 - 14:37

2 Likes

I'm amazed the local paper ran this. I can't understand their agenda.

As has been said, it's the timed photos showing the distance covered that is used to determine speed and the car driver isn't at risk of prosecution if he was doing only 28 mph. The newspaper should have researched its facts before printing such provocative nonsense.

The speed limits for bikes argument is a non-starter too as cyclists can hardly ever break speed limits and if they do, they don't present a danger to other road users (low kinetic energy compared to a car weighing one tonne plus).

As for speed limits and 20 mph zones - government policy is that they should be self-enforcing – i.e. traffic calming and no GATSOs.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
9th November 2012 - 14:48

3 Likes

Only motor vehicles with a calibrated speedometer (MOT) are subject to speed limits. We can cycle furiously and be prosecuted tho.

posted by Chrisc [144 posts]
9th November 2012 - 15:09

2 Likes

The guy's complaint isn't exactly ripe since he hasn't gotten a ticket, and it seems that it would be pretty easy to get it dismissed if the camera shows a bicycle in the photo (particularly considering his driving record).

So, this boils down to a story about a guy who's complaining that it's unfair that bicycle speed is unrestricted while car speed is restricted. That's top notch journalism, for sure.

"Extra, extra, read all about it. A guy who looks like me robbed a bank, and I'm constantly looking over my shoulder in fear that I'll be arrested."

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [248 posts]
9th November 2012 - 15:47

3 Likes

Please excuse the ironic inaccuracy of the word inaccurate! Dont Tell Anyone

posted by fullers1979 [39 posts]
9th November 2012 - 19:31

3 Likes

What's even better about this is, owing to most speedometres being 10% innaccurate and even the government realising that some people will occasionally push the right foot down slightly too hard. The normal equation for any prosecution for speeding is 10% +2mph for whatever limit it is. Therefore in a 30mph limit no prosecution is even considered for 35mph or under. Plus most county councils will then put an extra few mph on top of that before the dreaded blinding flash. Kent's for example ping at 38mph. (Don't ask how I know!)

All this means for any cyclist who arranges an action photo of themselves....Well done!! Applause

posted by fullers1979 [39 posts]
9th November 2012 - 19:36

2 Likes

Obviously a "quiet news" day for the local paper.

Binky

posted by davebinks [128 posts]
9th November 2012 - 20:17

3 Likes

everyone knows that local papers may occasionally just make things up, aye?

posted by Martin Steele [9 posts]
9th November 2012 - 20:22

1 Like

stumps wrote:
hennahairgel wrote:
If he's got no letter by now then the time's up. The police have 14 days the get the letter to you, and that's by recorded post (not just first class) otherwise they've lost any ability to prosecute you.

Get NIP not by recorded post? Bin it and wait for the reminder and then ask them to prove they contacted you in 14 days. I learnt this after Bristol post ate my NIP (truthfully) and did some research when I got the reminder.

Its actually only has to be issued within the 14 days, not received in 14 and if its sent recorded it doesn't matter if you claim you never received it as long as its sent within 14. Not that it makes much difference in this case.

Stumpy, I suggest if you're going to contradict someone you better do your research first. Especially if you are going to disagree with a post that has some indication of prior knowledge.

So, to back up my points I suggest you consider the following.

For a NIP to have been valid it ought to have been with registered vehicle owner 14 days of the alleged offence [Gidden v Chief Constable of Humberside [2009] EWHC 2924 (Admin)].

Under section 1(1) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 a person cannot be convicted of an offence unless the requirement in section 1(1)(c) that the notice of intended prosecution had been served within 14 days of the date of the commission of the offence had been met.

The ruling stated that it was not clear why the irrebuttable presumption found in section 1(2) of the Act, which provided: “A notice shall be deemed for the purposes of subsection (1)(c) ... to have been served on a person if it was by registered post or recorded delivery ... notwithstanding that the notice was returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received...” did not apply to first-class post, but it did not. That provision only applied to registered post or recorded delivery. Accordingly, late service of the notice by first-class post was not effective.

Lord Justice Elias went on to say that he appreciated that construction might cause problems for the police and prosecuting authorities. In my case this is true as 36 days elapsed before I received a valid NIP.

Therefore my points stand and you have published misleading information on what? A premise? A vague recollection?

I suggest you concede this argument, admit you were wrong, and next time do your research prior to posting incorrect information. Saying sorry as well would be nice.

posted by hennahairgel [19 posts]
9th November 2012 - 23:21

3 Likes

Putting a camera at the bottom of a hill is probably one of the most tempting sites for any cyclist. Driver slows down, cyclist goes shooing past.. just the laws of physics really. Obvious what will happen.

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
10th November 2012 - 0:06

1 Like

I know Scots Hill well, the pillocks race past you at 45 mph on the flat section at the top (still 30mph speed limit) then hammer the anchors down to 25mph just in time for the speed camera. Of course, as a cyclist you sail back past them, if the pillocks had stuck to the speed limit they wouldn't have not overtaken at all.

posted by chieflordy [2 posts]
10th November 2012 - 13:59

1 Like

The driver comes across as a silly old fool!

gb901's picture

posted by gb901 [155 posts]
10th November 2012 - 21:17

2 Likes

Whether this gentleman is making a meal of this or not, shouldn't we as cyclists be following the same rules of the road as motor vehicles?

How can we have any moral high ground if we break speed limits, run red lights, etc? i realise that there is no legal sanction for cyclists speeding ('furious riding' aside!) but I feel that it it is right that we stay within the speed limits.

posted by fictional wilson [8 posts]
11th November 2012 - 7:58

2 Likes

I think we have an obligation to follow the rules set out for cyclists. We're treated differently for a reason, we have far less mass than a car moving at the same speed and we are not obliged to have an accurate speedo so it would make if difficult to know to keep under the limit. We follow our rules, motorists follow theirs and everyone should be happy!

Si

posted by sim1515 [139 posts]
12th November 2012 - 8:16

2 Likes

fictional wilson wrote:
Whether this gentleman is making a meal of this or not, shouldn't we as cyclists be following the same rules of the road as motor vehicles?

How can we have any moral high ground if we break speed limits, run red lights, etc? i realise that there is no legal sanction for cyclists speeding ('furious riding' aside!) but I feel that it it is right that we stay within the speed limits.

No. We shouldn't be following the rules for motor vehicles. We should be following the rules for cyclists. Various different vehicles have different sets of rules that appply to them. Would you restrict yourself to the HGV speed limit when driving a car on an 'A' road?

posted by Bhachgen [94 posts]
12th November 2012 - 12:07

1 Like

Some years ago, when I was younger, fitter and certainly faster (but probably not as wise), I managed to get an almighty rollicking off a West Mercia Traffic Cop for "cycling furiously" through a village with a 30 mph speed limit.

He chased after me in a Rover 827 (shows how long ago it was) pulled me over and said "Who the bloody hell do you think you are, Sean Kelly ?"

To which I quipped, "No sir, but I need to get home quick or I'll miss Blockbusters"

"You were cycling furiously, I could give you a ticket"

"Furiuous ? Now that you have made me stop, I'm bloody livid, not furious"

Sorry - I've gone all Barry Cryer.

But really, I did get a ticking off for doing 35 mph according to his Vascar or Gatso or whatever gun - so it must be possible to set off the other cameras.

posted by Littlesox [89 posts]
12th November 2012 - 21:53

2 Likes

I have just noticed that the eejit says "I was once a cyclist myself".

What's he saying - you are either a cyclist, or a motorist, but you cannot be both?

And it's not right that "we" motorists might be subject to an appearance before the bench because of something that "you" cyclists have done ?

I spend a lot if time in court, and listen to a lot of drivel, but I hope he gets summonsed and puts it in the paper. I can the see the local rag's headline now "Motorist with exemplary record's summons nightmare"

I will book the day off work and sit in the public gallery - should be entertaining ! Especilly the bit where he says the perpurtrator of this evil crime was "dressed like a racing cyclist".

(By the way, that's me off the suspects list with my 20 year old Peugeot and Halfords helmet).

I dispair.

posted by Littlesox [89 posts]
12th November 2012 - 22:10

1 Like