February 2013  Classic bike news

feedback@sumpmagazine.com

 

Above: It starts in just three days. We're talking about Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais, on Thursday 7th February 2013 in Paris. This is where Tony Upson's painting 'Triumph Speed Twin' goes under the hammer. It's acrylic on board, 115cm x 210cm, and is signed by the painter. The estimate is €500-€600; £430-£520; US$680-$820. We've got a damp patch on the Sump bathroom wall that this picture could comfortably cover, so we're considering a bid or two. Meanwhille, check out Bonhams' site for more details of this sale.
www.bonhams.com

Update: The painting sold for €1,375 including premium.


February 2013 Classic bike news

£6975 Triumph Tiger Cub, sold!
Ray "Dalek" Cusick: 1928-2013
Triumph Speed Triple R "Dark"
Despatches. Free eBook from Sump
Bonhams' Grand Palais "success"
Le breathalyser fines "postponed"
Government set to scrap 80mph speed limit hike plan
Driving test interpreters for the chop?
Reg "Wild Thing" Presley: 1941-2013
Bonhams Paris Grand Palais Sale 2013
New licence withdrawal powers


January 2013 Classic bike news

Freddie Williams: 1926-2013
Where's the Gaffer's Gallop film?
Andy Tiernan's ebay warning
2013 Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster
Insulting to be made legal again
One hundred years of Aston Martin
$480,000 1939 BMW Rennsport
Burtons' Triumph TRW register
James Austin's Classic Shows
Winter Restoration Show 2012
2013 Triumph Tiger Sports 1050
Winter Classic Bike Guide Show


December 2012 Classic bike news

Royal Enfield Musket revamped
Gerry Anderson: 1929-2012
Triumph Rocket Three dream bike
Bonhams' Ace hemi-head prototype
Petition to save Earls Court
Alex Moulton: 1920-2012
1st Southern Off Road Show, 2012
End of the UK tax disc?
Ultra-rare 1905 Leo to Bonhams sale
Dave Brubeck: 1920-2012
Italian Matchless's on the way?
Two Royal Enfield custom kits


November 2012 Classic bike news

Free British scooter exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum
Ace Classics 2013 calendar out now
Johnny Giles opens new Ace shop

New Hughie Hancox book

Classic Stones 2012 line-up reunion

Futuristic sidecar sculpture art sale

National Trust Jenkins calls for UK
traffic light cull

French mayor set to ban classics?

Cool new Royal Enfield T-shirt

Steve McQueen's Husky to sell

Roy Price: 1929-2012

First radial tyres for classics

Police Runlock system rolls out

Pointless road sign cull

MOT shake-up for pre-1960s classics

New 2013 Royal Enfield Cafe Racer?


October 2012 Classic bike news

New Sump BEEZA GEEZA T-shirt

Rare 110-year old 1902 Rambler

Daytime "classic" LED running light

MBH goes into administration

VMCC Christmas Laverda raffle

"Old Bill" Brough auction record

Grindlay-Peerless hits £67,580

French breathalyser kit fines delayed

Ken Heanes: 1934-2012

Keanu Reeves launches bike firm

New Norton Commando Roadster side panels

The Right On Andrew Mitchell, MP

Barn find Brough & "Black Bess"

H&H's "no reserve" Brough to sell

Classic TT festival plans revealed

Offensive T-shirt man is jailed

Jimmy won't fix this


September 2012 Classic bike news

New wheel clamping regulations,
and more...

2011 Drink-driving deaths spike

Time to arm the British police?

Triumph's Jubilee Bonnie donation

Green light for cyclists?

Exmoor auction nets £667,128

New classic bike/car E-petition

Hyde Bonneville SE brake upgrade

Mike Ellis Memorial Run

French High Viz jacket confusion

Penning goes to Northern Ireland

Digital "Chronometric" clocks


August 2012 Classic bike news

"Bits Stuck Anywhere" archive film
Norton jumps US approval hurdle
Scott McKenzie: 1939-2012
Mick Hemmings' racing retirement
Exmoor Museum Collection to sell
British unemployment? Go figure
Adventure Travel Film Festival 2012
New style Euro MOT mooted
Alton eKit starters for the Norton Commando and Velo
Brighton Speed Trials reminder
AEB Auto braking is "imminent"
Sunbeam S7 video
Matlock Bath parking petition


July 2012 Classic bike news

Triumph Model H & BSA Bantam videos
Maurice Seddon's bikes for sale
Harwood cleared
Watsonian to mark its centenary
2012 VMCC Banbury Run report
VMCC competition winner
V5C "log book" warning
Battastini shut the shop, and go online
Jon Lord: 1941-2012
Founders Day is postponed
Royal Enfield's American growth
Win a Triumph 675 Street Triple
John "Jack" Difazio: 1914-2012
Martin Squires' Sketchbook
Hyde Bonneville luggage rack
BSA A65 complete alloy clutch
Triumph's new Trophy 1200 tourer


June 2012 Classic bike news

Andover Norton Commando gearboxes
Cameron's British licence plan
Glen English AJS-7R. £2,625. Sold
French breath test kit warning
New fixed penalties planned
Eddie Rickenbacker Quail sale
Norton wins Motul team award...
Michigan repeals helmet law. Partly.
Superbike up for sale. Again.
"Drugalysers" in use by 2013


May 2012 Classic bike news

Ted Simon's new book
SatNav death verdict: "accidental"
Hyde Bonneville America pegs
Raleigh Chopper designer dies
Rare Triumph TSX on eBay
Robin Gibb: 1949-2012
MOT scrapped for pre-1960s vehicles
Rare Crossley SD42 bus restored
Carroll Shelby: 1923-2012
Funky Made in Britain sidecars get MP approval
Honda dealers are revolting...
California dealer sales tag woes
Triumph top of the league again
The shape of bikes to come?
Texting drivers insurance woes
Save the British pub


April 2012 Classic bike news

H&H Duxford sale lacks lustre

Bert Weedon: 1920-2012

Norton set to race at the 2012 IOM Senior TT

Three Crockers head for Stafford

New Genuine Sump T-shirt - £15.00

Antique Bike Day at "mythical Montlhery"

H&H Hurricane to sell at Duxford

80th Royal Enfield birthday party

Dirt Quake: motorcycle mayhem

Radical new parking tax introduced

Continental wax cotton jacket from
Chequered Flag

Thames water "pride" initiative

2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes

Jim Marshall, OBE: 1923-2012

New Triumph Bonneville T-shirt

Frank "Radco" Farrington has died

Think Bike, Think Biker "a success"

Supercool Sump "Goggles" T-shirt

1939 Triumph Speed Twin on eBay

The Humber Bridge scraps bike tolls


March 2012 Classic bike news

Ex-Brian Verrall Vincents to sell

Somerset targets faceless bikers

£80,000 Brough Superior SS120

An end to rural petrol stations?

Interesting BSA WM20 3-wheeler

Jampot Spares scheme has rebranded
Interphone Motion Cam
Willie G Davidson retires
Big release of US oil reserves expected
BSA M20 & M21 T-shirt—£15.95

Mick Walker: The ride of my life

British bike magazines losing sales

Bonhams Bristol Sale: Sold out. Almost


 

February 2012 Classic bike news

Brightspark "EasyCap" Condensor C03

"Autopilot cars within 10 years"

Derek and Don Rickman: The Métisse Story

Norton Transformer video

DVLA set to close all regional offices by 2013

In search of Mr Nelk

1,000,000 UK drivers are aged 80+
Spare some change for the BNP?
Drivesafe goes live
Dennis Slaughter gets an MBE
"Time warp" c1917 BSA 4¼hp sold at Bonhams' February Paris Sale
OEC-Anzani replica outfit
Girder Fork & Classic Motor Cycle Club
Kevin Schwantz to ride at the 2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes


 

January 2012 Classic bike news

AP Racing brake calipers are back on sale.
But not just yet ...

BMW to fit Datatags as standard
£65.72 KLG spark plug (and tin) on eBay
London Mayor Johnson opens Red Route bus lanes to bikers, permanently
8th Hotrod Hayride
Daylight saving bill thrown out
"Mandatory French high-visibility vests" to be replaced by armbands?
"Dayglo" e-petition gathers support
France bans SatNav speed camera warnings
Eighty bikers quiz MEP Pete Skinner
South of England RealClassic Show & Bikejumble Sunday 11th March
Du Pont Vegas sale hits $1 million
"High visibility jackets" to become
compulsory in France

New Tiger Cub on the way?
New winter classic show gets off to
a warm start

New Raleigh bicycle book
Continental time for British bikers?
MEP Pete Skinner's biking surgery
Triumph to build bikes in India
Carole Nash free iPhone app(lication)
VMCC July-Dec competition winner
"Wrong way" cycling to be legalised?
Dealer decals from Val Emery


Sump news archive

 

 

We've got plenty more classic bike news for you to enjoy. Check out the links below.

 

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

 


 

 

Classic Bike Events

 

 

 

£6975 Triumph Tiger Cub, sold!

 

Seven grand for Cub? Sounds like an awful lot of money for a very small motorcycle. But you can't argue with market forces (and Fabergé eggs are even smaller and fetch a whole lot more).

 

This example, with only "127 miles on the clock since it was restored" was sold by Silverstone Auctions at the Race Retro International Historic
Motorsport Show held between 22nd and 24th February 2012.

 

 

We're told that this particular Tiger Cub is special because it's a genuine works replica, as evinced by the "TR" prefix on the engine and frame numbers, and (according to the vendor) only 200 were built.

 

But what are those numbers?


Frame: TR-20-85301
Engine: TR-20-85301

Registration: BSJ 287

 

The price paid includes 12.5% commission, and clearly someone walked away with a very pretty little bike. But seven grand? And, note, there's VAT to be added onto the commission taking the total to £7,187.

 

Get over it, we say. This is motorcycle business, and you can't expect these things to always make sense, can you?

 

Still, the next time you see a Cub on the market with "TR" as a prefix, better check the engine cases a little more carefully to ensure that the ink's dry.

 

www.silverstoneauctions.com

— Big End

 

 

Ray "Dalek" Cusick: 1928-2013

 

The scariest sci-fi robo-monsters of them all? We think so. Certainly, most of you guys out there who were in short trousers in the 1960s will remember how awestruck you were when the Daleks first hit British TV screens in the seminal Dr Who series. This was back in an era when police phone boxes, as used by Dr Who for his famous Tardis time machine, were a common sight on Britain's streets and still in use by our Dixon of Dock Green bobbies.

 

Conceived by Terry Nation (1939-1997), the Welsh scriptwriter who also created Blake's 7 and Survivors, the Daleks were brought to life by BBC man Ray Cusick on a pitiful budget.

 

Famously, the robots started out as pepper pots being pushed around a BBC canteen table to illustrate Cusick's idea of their mobility. But due to the aforementioned budgetary restraints, complex contraptions with sophisticated articulation was out of the question.

 

The best that Cusick could come up with was a tricycle device bolted beneath a multi-faceted box decorated with tennis balls and bits of scrap aluminium. But that was enough to create a foe worthy of the enigmatic Time Lord and thrill millions of Who fans.

 

What made the Daleks especially scary was the fact that they were modelled on WW2 Germans—or, more likely, German tanks. Hence the vaguely Nazi helmet-shaped turrets coupled with fearsome gun barrels, and even sporting a Hitler salute from the accompanying plunger device. And wasn't there something vaguely Germanic in that chilling "exterminate" battle cry?

 

Given the context of a country that in 1940 had been blitzed almost into defeat and subsequently traumatised by the fear of a German invasion, it's little wonder that the Daleks capitalised upon that inherited memory and put the fear of God, or at least the Beeb, into a generation.

 

Cusick recognised this at first hand when the embryonic Daleks "terrified the life" out of a group of children who were bussed in to watch early rehearsals of the show.

 

He was born in South London, spent some time in the army and was posted to Palestine. He then returned to the UK where he trained as a teacher. But that simply wasn't his calling, and soon he moved into TV production and was said to have earned a pitiful wage at the BBC and (later) awarded only £100 for his creation. He spent the last years of his life writing military history articles.

 

He was also involved in the production of other British TV series including When The Boat Comes In and To Serve Them All My Days. But if the man himself is forgotten (as is so often the case with "back room" talent), his creations are still a force to be reckoned with in the continuing Dr Who TV franchise which is better than it ever was, albeit in a very different way.

 

We're looking forward to the day when someone sticks a Dalek in a rocket, perhaps serving as a communications satellite, and fires it into permanent orbit. Ray Cusick would be tickled pink with the idea. And the notion of one of these world-dominating Nazi-esque robots circling a planet that for so long was happily terrorised by them has a certain piquancy, wouldn't you say?

 

Still trying to work out how they handled stairs, though...

— Girl Happy

 



 

 

Triumph Speed Triple R "Dark"

 

It's got 1050cc, has three cylinders, twelve valves, pumps out 133bhp @ 9400rpm, has 82 ft.lbs of torque @ 7750rpm, and will sell for £11,500, plus change, and Triumph will be building just thirty of them.

 

The firm calls it the Triumph Speed Triple "Dark", which sounds like a pretty dumb name to us. But there's nothing dumb about the bike. The entire Speed Triple concept has been a resounding success for Triumph which continues to go from strength to strength with the design.

 

We were a little concerned when they finally dispensed with the "bug eye" headlights. But once you adjust—just as Triumph no doubt anticipated—you can see that the changes were both inevitable and unarguable. If you're not moving forward, you're stagnating, and Hinckley Triumph clearly has no intention of doing that.

 

 

Features of the "Dark" package includes Öhlins suspension, PVM wheels and Brembo brakes. There's also a belly pan and fly screen, plus paintwork by Harley specialists 8 Ball who've hand brushed the colour which includes a union jack.

 

Either way, we think this is a pretty cool looking bike and we'd happily stick one in the Sump garage beside the rest of the iron. Except that we're (ahem) once again kind of embarrassed this month, so it's over to you guys.

 

When there are street bikes this good looking in the world, competitively priced and made (or at least designed) right here in James Bond's own country, it make you wonder why anyone still buys Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki or Suzuki.

 

Buy British.

 

[Triumph Speed Triple R quick review]

— Sam 7

 

Despatches. Free eBook from Sump

 

This one has for months been sat on the Sump hard drive gathering digital dust and waiting to be finished while we got on with other stuff.

 

And for a while, it seemed like it would never get done, but the other day we snorted some coke (and got a load of bubbles up our nose) and managed to sort it out in a drug-fuelled frenzy. So finally it's ready—or, at least, as ready as it will ever be.

 

It's called "Despatches" because it was originally intended to carry only pictures of despatch bikes (along with other images ghosted in the background and all that kind of arty stuff). However, it didn't come out quite the way we expected (few things do these days). But for better or worse, it's now up and running, and you can see the results for yourself.

 

As you'll discover if you download it, it's actually a collection of poetry and observations about life and death and war, and suchlike. If you know your Shakespeare and Sassoon, you'll recognise some of the quotes. If not, you could probably do with a little extra culture as an antidote to all that TV you've been watching lately.

 

If you want to take a look, click on the image above and (unless you're running a Macintosh) you'll probably get a little message pop up telling you that it's an .exe file. That means it's an "executable" file which, when deployed by some of the more unpleasant people in the world, can and will do all kinds of nasty things to your computer.

 

But we don't muck around like that or distribute malware and spyware. The file is safe. But look, run it through your virus software anyway if you can. And if you're still not sure, don't open it.

 

Anyway, it's a freebee, so make the most of it while it's going. It's your call.

 

Important tip: Use the right click button on your computer mouse to control the eBook. There are all kinds of functions there to increase your viewing pleasure which includes the BACKGROUND option. Use the escape button on your keyboard to exit the eBook. If you like it, let us know. If not, that's just too bad. What did you expect for nothing?

 

— The Third Man

 

Bonhams' Grand Palais "success"

 

 

€13 million. That's the total revenue generated at Bonhams' second Grand Palais outing in Paris on 7th February 2013.

 

But hold on a damn minute! Over €12 million of that was spent not on motorcycles but on cars. The bike component of that sale, however, generated a still very respectable €857,625—a figure that Bonhams tells us is double the receipts from last year, with 87% of lots sold.

 

Top selling bikes included:

 

A 1968 Egli-Vincent 998cc Racing Motorcycle at €40,250

A 1952 Vincent 998cc Series-C Rapide at €37,950 (image above)

A circa 1941 Zündapp KS750 'Sahara' Motorcycle Combination at €35,650

(two images below)

 

 

 



Also sold, albeit after the auction, was a 1925 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 Sidevalve (immediately above) which changed hands for €40,090. And yes, if you're a regular Sump visitor, you have seen this bike before.

 

In January 2012, this Eagle failed to sell at Bonhams' sale at Las Vegas. The estimate was $90,000-$110,000. We got out our calculator, and it seems that the bike actually fetched $52,766—which is some way short of Bonhams' original estimate. So you can read what you like into that.

 

That said, Bonhams (which supplied the images) is still on a roll and will be bringing that hammer down once again at their Stafford Sale at the International Classic Motor Cycle Show on Sunday 28th April 2013.

 

Meanwhile, gotta love that Zündapp, huh?

— Del Monte

 

Le breathalyser fines "postponed"

 

Under French law, you're still required to carry a personal breath-test kit to check if you're fit for the road (as we reported back in June 2012, and again in October 2012). But for the time being at least, and possibly forever, there will be no legal sanction for failure to comply.

 

Huh?

 

In other words, the French cops can whinge at you forever for not having a fit-kit on board, but they can't actually fine you. That's because that the legislation required to give this law some financial teeth has been "postponed". But French government sources have said "off camera" that the idea is as dead as De Gaulle. All that's left is a quiet climb down until the law falls into disuse, and drops from memory.

 

So what's going on? Well, it seems that the current government that blew into power in May 2012 under Francois Hollande simply hasn't got the appetite for the legislation and wants to see an end to it. But there's probably an accountant somewhere in the appropriately named Palais Bourbon who's concerned that the tourist fallout might ensure that the potential revenue numbers simply don't add up. Or have we simply grown too cynical in our dotage?

 

Regardless, we can think of a lot of British legislation that also deserves the Honourable Order of the Boot, and in this current age of financial distress, where police manpower and resources are hanging by a thread, and where UK Court time is at a premium, we might yet be seeing a lot of sly back pedalling from the law makers.

 

See the item below.

— The Third Man

 

Government set to scrap 80mph speed limit hike plan

 

The last Labour government (and let’s hope that it is the last), was in favour of raising the UK national motorway maximum speed to 80mph, and Phil Hammond, the Tory ex-Transport Secretary, was also championing the upward shift claiming it would reduce accidents and increase British productivity.

 

But it’s beginning to look as if the 70mph limit is here to stay for a while longer. Why? Because the current Tory Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, is not convinced that there is a need for more speed.

 

He’s now tipped to “bow to pressure” from organisations such as RoPSA and Brake, and heed the calls from various environmental groups who are as keen as ever to torpedo wherever possible the idea of personalised transportation.

 

It’s not yet done and dusted, but the signs are all there (pun intended) that the status quo will not be changed. And that could be good news for those rare classic bikers who dare venture onto Britain’s motorways, because the speed differential is not likely to be increased in the foreseeable future.

 

On the other hand, many, if not most, classic bikers also run modern bikes and might be grateful for a little extra latitude.

 

The underlying safety fear is that a hike to 80mph would actually see many more motorists travelling at 90mph. That’s because speeding prosecution guidelines usually allow for a 10 percent error plus 2mph. And 90mph is, for some, simply not realistic.

— Big End

 

Driving test interpreters for
the chop?

 

The government is at last looking at moves to restrict or totally remove interpreters from UK driving tests.

 

The long and short of it is that too many candidates are unable to speak English well enough to sit the test itself and communicate with the examiner, let alone read the road signs, or motorway information boards, or make sense of radio traffic announcements.

 

That, says Her Majesty's head-in-the-sand Government, is not acceptable any longer, and the practice of bringing along an interpreter is to be reviewed.

 

An added concern is the number of driving tests conducted in which the interpreter, familiar with the procedure, protocol and questions, has been conspiring with the candidate to get over the theory hurdle. But soon, if you notta speak da lingo, you cannot play da bingo.

 

Or something like that.

 

You would have thought that an issue as fundamental as this would have been sorted out round about the time of the Norman Conquest. But here we are, a thousand years on, still  having problems dealing with all the foreigners clinging grimly to lifeboat Britain with language skills significantly less developed than the average British three year old—and many of whom with little intention of doing anything about it.

 

The UK Driving Standards Authority reckon that nine interpreters have been banned over the past 3-4 years, and 861 tests have been revoked after evidence of fraud was discovered. Tip of the iceberg, we say.

 

We really hate the phrase; "the mind boggles". But I bet you know exactly what we're thinking about this one...

 

(This news story is also available in Swahili, Serbo-Croat, Urdu, Farsi, Mandarin, Yoruba and Welsh).

— Sam 7

 

 

Reg "Wild Thing" Presley: 1941-2013

 

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the Troggs' most famous hit record, "Wild Thing" is number 257 in the top 500 songs of all time—but it was never actually a number one in the UK peaking at number two in 1966 (but it was a number one hit in the USA).

 

Nevertheless, it's the timeless song for which Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, will best be remembered and is one of those records that just about everyone in the western hemisphere (and most of the other half) knows.

 

In June 1941, Presley was born Reginald Maurice Ball in Andover, Hampshire, the hometown of the Troggs. The band enjoyed a trio of million seller hits, which included "Wild Thing", "I Can't Control Myself", and the number one hit, "With a Girl Like You".

 

Presley wrote the latter two of these three songs, but "Wild Thing" was penned by New York songwriter Chip Taylor.

 

The band never quite reached the heights of their contemporaries which included The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix (who famously covered "Wild Thing" at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival). Nevertheless, the Troggs are cited as being heavily influential and inspirational to a generation of punk rockers and garage rock bands, many of whom covered numerous Troggs singles.

 

Presley had in recent years suffered from various health problems, and on 4th February 2013, surrounded by family members, he succumbed to his illnesses at his Andover home.

— Del Monte

 

Bonhams Paris Grand Palais Sale 2013

 

We really wanted to get around to visiting this sale, but as ever, there's simply too much to do in the Sump garage, not to mention looking after Sump's news pages, etc. And then there's the pub. And then there's sex.

 

But hey, don't let it put you off. It's hard to imagine a more stylish venue for a classic car and bike auction, and Bonhams (as ever) has put a lot of thought, money and effort into this event. There are over two hundred classic cars and bikes up for grabs, plus the odd biplane, not to mention the usual items of motoring memorabilia. But hurry because there's just two days to go. It kicks off on Thursday 7th February 2013, and when it's gone, it's gone.

 

Most of the lots are way beyond the pockets of most of us, but there are plenty of interesting and desirable items including Lot 439 (below), a 498cc Scott Flying Squirrel racer circa 1934. According to Bonhams' blurb: "...it has one of the last, long-stroke, fixed cylinder head engines, which has been fitted with later top-end with detachable head. The foot-operated gearchange is another modification."

 

1934 498cc Scott Flying Squirrel racer

 

The bike, we also hear, was the first machine acquired by the Gangbridge Collection in the UK who restored it.

 

The frame number is 3842M. The engine number is LFZ4001. The machine was first UK-registered 'AYW 32', which was changed to 'LVS 638' in December 1976. The estimate is a very reasonable €6,000-€8,000; £5,200-£6,900; US$ 8,200-US$11,000.

 

1934 498cc Scott Flying Squirrel racer

 

These two-stroke Scotts aren't everyone's favourite classics, and their value is often hard to pin down as enthusiasm waxes and wanes according to whim and fashion. But you're not likely to get one much cheaper (not in this specification, anyway). So get onto the Bonhams website poste haste and check it out if you're interested.

 

Telephone and online bidding is available if you can't get there in person.

 

www.bonhams.com

— Girl Happy

 

 

New licence withdrawal powers

 

It's long overdue, but it looks like the police will soon have new powers to more or less instantly revoke a motorist's or motorcyclist's driving licence if they suspect that he or she isn't fit for the road due to impaired vision, or other unspecified conditions.

 

The move is in direct response to the frustration caused both before and after the death of 16-year old Cassie McCord on 9th February 2011.

 

McCord was killed when 87-year old Colin Horsfall ploughed into her in Colchester, Essex after mounting the pavement in his red Vauxhall Astra. Two other girls were injured in the crash. Horsfall also received injuries, and he died three months later.

 

Five days earlier, Horsfall had attempted to drive into a local petrol station but instead missed the entrance and hit a tree. Police tested his eyesight at the scene and discovered that he couldn't read a car number plate at 20-metres—never mind that he was, in any case, 87-years old and probably long past his "best before" date.

 

The police immediately advised Horsfall not to drive, but they had no statutory powers to instantly seize his licence, and he continued on his way. Two days before McCord was killed, Horsfall had also been spotted on CCTV inadvertently driving on the pavement.

 

Under the new plans, the police will be able to have a licence revoked by the DVLA within a matter of hours (rather than days) by applying via email or smartphone at the roadside and asking for a fast track response. At present, any such applications are made in writing which requires a 2-3 day turnaround, or longer.

 

It's a good proposal both in principle and spirit, and if police have a licence revoked, it will be incumbent on the driver/rider to prove his or her fitness before having said licence returned.

 

However, experience has shown that if you give the police powers, they will abuse them (stop & search and anti-terrorism laws, to name but two). So you can expect abuses to follow—which may or may not be an acceptable price to pay in the cause of improved road safety.

 

Loss of personal mobility is a terrible thing, and something that all of us will have to face sooner or later—and many of us will find it a wrench. Let's just hope that we'll have the good sense to recognise that we're no longer fit for the road, but it's odds-on that a good number of us won't.

 

—  Big End

 

 

 

 

 

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