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.