Wednesday, 31 August 2011
On yer bike!
Contrast this with the news that a father of a two-year-old boy was fined £200 for carrying his son on a crossbar seat on his bicycle in Burton, Staffordshire. The seat was bolted to the crossbar and further fastened using duct tape. The child was wearing a cycle helmet. Ghulam Murtza was handed a fixed-penalty notice by a police officer for the offence which he duly ripped up and threw on the floor in disgust. He was then handed another fixed penalty notice for littering.
Technically Ghulam was in the wrong as, according to the Highway Code, the bicycle hadn’t been adapted to carry a passenger, although one could argue that as the seat was bolted to the cycle frame, it was an adaptation. At court Ghulam was fined £100 for the cycling offence, £85 costs and the pathetic £15 victim surcharge that automatically gets slapped on any fine in this country, just so a bunch of quangocrats can enjoy fat pensions and gilded salaries by pretending to care about crime.
Meanwhile, cycling groups throughout the country are supportive of people being able to carry children on bicycles, as we’re all supposed to be going green and reducing our carbon footprints by using cars less.
However, the most chilling aspect of the story for me was the Orwellian weaselspeak from Chief Inspector Phil Fortun, commander of East Staffordshire Local Policing Team, which covers Burton. He said: 'It is our duty to protect people and ensure the safety of the communities we serve.
‘The bicycle was not made to carry a child in that way and officers took action to protect the young child from potential injury or worse, should the bike have been involved in a collision. The bike's owner was well-meaning in his efforts, but misguided with regards to the safety of himself and his son. Road safety is a priority for Staffordshire Police and we will continue to take the necessary action to keep all road users safe.’
They're only doing it to keep us safe. They could have had a quiet word with Ghulam if they really felt it was their business, but no... far easier to get the fixed-penalty ticket book out.
Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it? Which way is Naples?