In an era of motorcycling where ‘see and be seen’ is the order of the day, many motorcyclists opted to start wearing the bright yellow high vis jackets or vest with the ‘POLITE’ written on the back.
This was an intentional eye grabber and for many it was merely a method of trying to make themselves stand out to other road users in the name of safety, however even from within the motorcycling community, this vest has come in for some ridicule as it does resemble and a fleeting glance, that of a police motorcyclist.
Fast forward a few years and this vest had become more common than most might be comfortable with and even the police had started to take note too. Many riders would be riding all white bikes, white helmets and black leathers too, making the resemblance even more closer than before.
So it is no surprise that the police started to pull over riders and possibly look at the ‘impersonating a police officer’ angle too, although there is no suggestion that any rider had ever done anything illegal at any time.
Fast forward once again to last month when a rider who was so dressed was pulled over by police and was cautioned, but when the rider went to complain about the incident and how he was treated, he was then charged with dressing like a police officer. There is a thread here.
He was convicted in court, given £670 fine in costs and during which his insurance was cancelled for good measure. Also in the meantime, the case and incident was reported by many mainstream and online media which were…let’s say…liberal with the facts too. This all amounted to some false reporting which made his case even worse.
The rider then lost a work contract and was being kicked out of his rented home too…all because of the online media reporting of the incorrect conviction and police intervention.
Regardless of weather the rider was in the right or wrong by some indistinguishable ‘biker’s code’, the fact remains that he did not commit a crime by wearing this attire and was wrongly accused and convicted. The media falsely reported the case and whilst he has settled out of court for libel, as yet none of these media outlets have printed an apology apparently either.
The rider claims that this incident has severely and negatively impacted on his life…but that is also unsurprising given the circumstances. The mere resemblance to a police officer should be caution to anyone…so best practice from this day forward would be to ditch the POLITE vests and just wear normal high vis clothing if you feel that will help you to become more visible on the road to other road users.