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Motorist with unblemished record calls for law to be clarified

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."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

54 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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Not the first and won't be the last to have been caught out by this kind of thing.

I know many cyclists with coach's car's following who have set off camera's and never received a penalty notice. Because of the way the camera's are set up, It would likely catch the cyclist and the front of the car, giving the police and CPS nothing to work on, other than it was a cyclist who set it off.

Will be interesting to see what becomes of this case though.

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Rigobear [89 posts] 3 years ago
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I appreciate the guy is concerned but the lines on the road by most speed cameras are there for a reason that being to calculate the vehicles speed. So if he is correct with his 28 mph estimate he will be fine. The cyclist however should be calculated above the 30 limit. It is not as simple as picture taken fine in the post. I am sure wikipedia has a link on speed cameras ;-).

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Al__S [1024 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder if this will become more common as urban 20mph limits become more common and get enforced with cameras? 30mph takes a fair bit of effort for your average cyclist; 20mph is much much easier!

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nostromo [55 posts] 3 years ago
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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'.

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JonMack [167 posts] 3 years ago
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Stuart Gurney is clearly an idiot. As rigobear said, the lines on the road are there to show how fast you were going, so he wont be receiving a fixed penalty notice if he was going 28 mph.

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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nostromo wrote:

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.

Other than pushing an anti-cycling agenda, I have no idea why it's news. Like you say, the motorist won't hear a thing unless the photos show him exceeding 30mph. If he really was doing 28mph then he has nothing to worry about.

A 30mph limit is there to protect pedestrians from cars, not incase there's oil on the road. Pedestrian/bike collisions are rare and the cyclist will likely come off just as worse, unlike the car driver in their metal bubble, so there's no need for it to apply to cyclists who would generally be hard pushed to do 30mph anyway.

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Chrisc [147 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 3 years ago
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i set off the advisory one on the hill into town most days. don't know about GATSOs though.

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Bigringrider [208 posts] 3 years ago
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Strava.

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chris75018 [99 posts] 3 years ago
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"motorist worries about something that won't happen" Watford must be a very quiet place to live if this is considered newsworthy.

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Dougie Doonhamer [2 posts] 3 years ago
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Ah the camera on Scots Hill - I set that off nearly every time I go down that hill on my bike  16

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AWPeleton [3310 posts] 3 years ago
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The digital cameras in the gatso's are designed to take a piccy of the reg plate and zoom in accordingly.

If its the cyclist who has set the camera off and he followed afterwards then he has nothing to worry about. However if they go over the lines simultaneously then it cant be proved who was at fault and the photo will be disregarded.

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pauldavies83 [16 posts] 3 years ago
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Admission of guilt surely?

Cyclist going fast enough to set a camera off, man makes an effort to catch him must be going even faster hence breaking the limit. Bet he didn't think of that before going to the paper  1

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 3 years ago
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Yep, the driver isn't too smart and doesn't know how speed cameras work as some posts point out. The lines painted on the ground will reveal clearly whether the car was speeding.

Cyclists can be charged with cycling furiously remember and if it transpires that the guy was going way too fast for the conditions (including speeding), then in theory the police would want to have a word with him. I was stopped for speeding on my bicycle many years ago by the police when out riding with a mate - no fine but we both got a warning.

The bicycle may not carry a numberplate but if the rider triggers the camera on a regular basis, this behaviour will be noted.

I did read about one motorcyclist who habitually set off a camera he was heading towards on his daily commute. As the motorbike had no forward facing numberplate the rider thought he would not be identified. But because the action was repeated, it was noted and he was subsequently identified and fined.

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Tripod16 [157 posts] 3 years ago
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Not certain what he was hoping for by adding the tenuous link with Sir Wiggo...had nothing to do from his speed (as reported thus far), but from an idiot driver running into him without due care.

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 3 years ago
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We can't win. Either we're 'too slow' and holding drivers up - or 'too fast' and should be fined. I look forward to the 20mph limits. It'll be a chance to tailgate and tut tut them for a change.

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 3 years ago
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Is that going up or down Dave?  4

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edf242 [39 posts] 3 years ago
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ditto old ridge back, surely the lines will show whos at fault?

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Squiggle [403 posts] 3 years ago
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Cyclists are exempt from the speed limit? I had no idea!

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russyparkin [570 posts] 3 years ago
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iamelectron wrote:

Strava.

yaaawn.

its not stravas fault. this is so pathetic

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russyparkin [570 posts] 3 years ago
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Squiggle wrote:

Cyclists are exempt from the speed limit? I had no idea!

yes only powered vehicles are restricted by the speed limit  1

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izzi green [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Another defense for Mr Loophole: 'I wasn't speeding your Honour, it was the cyclist who set off the camera.'

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ribena [179 posts] 3 years ago
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Exceeding a certain speed is detected by radar which then triggers two accurately timed photographs which determine the speed via the calibrated lines on the road.

Its the two pictures that are used to determine the speed accurately, not the radar.

Just anti-cyclist nonsense.

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antigee [335 posts] 3 years ago
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"Just anti-cyclist nonsense" really! are you sure?  1

surely the speed camera must have been positioned there because of the number of KSI accidents caused at the location by speeding cyclists?

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Stu33 [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Just wait until the daily mail readers hear about this. New fuel in the fire.

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phax71 [287 posts] 3 years ago
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""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 ..:) 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 ...

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yocto [20 posts] 3 years ago
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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  13 Either way i’m not going to be setting anything off soon!

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hennahairgel [46 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Dougie Doonhamer [2 posts] 3 years ago
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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  13 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  3

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