Damn! Got a speeding ticket – I was caught doing 40mph in a 30 zone on the A470 at Llyswen during the journey between our two recent camping trips (Hereford and Dolgellau). Funny thing is, I was being really careful the whole journey (in particular because I heard a while back that Welsh police now have a zero tolerance approach to speeding), trying not to go more than a couple of mph over the limit, but I seem to remember that at this point (we’d just come out of a garage where I’d pumped my tyres up – and so managed to stop my exhaust scraping on the ground – and I was talking to Rowan about something on the MP3 player [Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams]) I was a little occupied and didn’t notice straight away that we’d driven into a 30 zone. I probably slowed down a couple of metres too late. It also disproves my theory that they wouldn’t have been able to recognise our registration number in the event that we were caught by a camera, because of the bikes on the back of the car and the straps partially obscuring the number plate.
So, another £60 fine, another three points on the license. I just checked, and these things expire after three years, which means that the last set of points I picked up, in January 2000 (for doing 62mph in a 50 zone through roadworks on the M1, at 4am when I had three lanes to myself and clear motorway for several miles in either direction) have now been erased. Good thing, I would feel a little uneasy with six points on my license, halfway to an automatic ban, but all the same I had been really looking forward to having a clean, points-free license and now I have another three year wait for that (assuming that I’m well behaved in the meantime).
Still, it’s all for the greater good etc. and I don’t begrudge speed cameras or the police’s greater reliance on them if it helps to make the roads safer (especially after cycling in London this week and remembering just what tossers drivers can be, and often are), and you won’t catch me making excuses like these to try and wriggle out of it. But the sooner we get variable penalties the better (although I’ve a feeling the two point penalties will be little more than theoretical, seeing as nobody gets prosecuted for driving 2mph over the limit anyway).