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Feds On Patrol

Blog Date - 07 August 2012

I had a nice ride out to the Carousel at Southport yesterday.  On the way I met a pleasant chap riding a modern but classically styled Triumph, the Bonneville I think.  We sat and talked of bikes, traveling in Europe and of biker hang outs like Rivington Barn, Devils Bridge and The Ponderosa.  I'm glad I met him, I was due to meet my bike club but they'd had a change of plans...doh!

On the way home I was navigating the dual carriage way at 70mph, when the signs showed the speed limit dropping to 50 so I rolled off.  At about 51 or 52 mph I was surprised to find I was overtaking a grubby BMW and a rusty Renault Clio.  My surprise was nothing compared to the Clio driver's surprise when just as I passed the BMW lit up like a red and blue Christmas tree! 

It the police.  I had a moment's panic as my mind quickly asses what I must surely be doing wrong.  Nope, speed's OK, bike's insured, taxed and MOT'd, helmet on and bike gear on...what could it be?  Somethings amiss, but he's behind the Clio not me...he's pulling the Clio.  Phew!  I've no idea why, I guess there's an ANPR computer that's pinging up a missing MOT or something.  I thank good fortune and carry on.

The rest of the ride passes much as you'd expect, except every time I see an executive car I expect it to suddenly light up.  I wonder if the police ever use small cars, is there an unmarked Ford Ka or Kia Picanto?  I doubt it, no copper would be seen dead in anything slow or uncool. 

I come through Chorley and as I leave the town I get in behind 2 police bikes, it's going to be on of those days.  I'm quite glad actually, I like to watch how these professionals ride, maybe I'll learn something.  They're sticking to the speed limit, good, they've slowed and given way at the traffic calming measures, good, they've spotted the pedestrian at the crossing, good, Oh my lord what's he doing?!

a policeman on his bmw police motorcycle
Not exactly small and lighweight these police bikes are they...

Approaching a tight left hand blind bend the first rider comes close to the centre line, fair enough, but the second rider comes right out to the right hand side of the right lane!  This of course is so-called "Advanced Riding", the idea is to gain as much view ar the corner as possible.  In my opinion on a tight bend like this he's begging to take out some poor biker or driver coming in the opposite direction.  The rider continues with this policy from Chorley to Rivington.  Oddly enough he also chooses to use the right hand lane at other times without any cause or reason.  I'm beginning to wonder if he's foreign and used to driving on the right.  More by luck than skill he makes it to Rivington where they park up. 

Later that afternoon they're joined by a fellow officer who has the privilege of riding a bright green Kawasaki ZZR 1400.  That means I need to watch out for executive cars and fast bikes too.  The policemen spend the rest of the afternoon talking to bikers and letting mothers take pictures of their kids sat on the police bikes.  Public relations work I guess. So the next time you're out and about and thinking you can get away with a blast past that car or a race against that sporty looking bike...just bear in mind that at any given time it may suddenly light up all red and blue and the rider or driver may wish to discuss matters pertaining to your riding, your licence and the laws of the land. 

Please don't think I'm anti police!  I think we're very lucky to have what I consider to be overall a very good police force.  I think the average copper is a human being with flaws like the rest of us who is trying to make the best of a difficult job.  You only have to watch any of the police reality shows to see some of the plonkers they have to deal with.  There is of course always room for improvement but I do believe they're trying their best. As for sneaky unmarked cars and bikes, the best way it seems to avoid a speeding ticket is to...well..not speed?

Now, if only there was an easy way to be sure of the speed limit at any given time when you're in a strange city...

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