Tuesday, 18 August 2009

This Morning A Policeman Saved My Life!

The value of life is never appreciated until we have an encounter that will change our whole perception about it. A healthy man does not know how lucky he is until he falls sick or encounters those with terminal illnesses. Daily, we are bombarded with stories of people suffering from terminal cancer, Alzheimer, sickle cell, multiple sclerosis and many other illnesses that are very difficult to manage.

Despite these encounters we may have had, most of us have not taken the time to reflect on the gift of life and how valuable that life could be. Life is good and life could be sweet. Clubbing day and night, having sex, eating, laughing, drinking, having a party and dancing; all these could make life very sweet and give us that sense of hedonistic satisfaction and the epicurean feeling that we are enjoying life. But how many times have we taken the time to reflect on that life and what is going to happen if something suddenly goes wrong with that life.

We have all had an encounter that really changed our life in one way or the other. It could have been a big or a small encounter but they were capable of touching or changing one’s life. In fact there are many motivational books out there on how one’s life was spiralling upwards or heading downwards and suddenly he encountered this experience and all that changed his life. We have all had ours and I think I had mine today. It may not be a big one but this should be able to put me in the mood for reflection otherwise I am an ignorant and stupid idiot.

This morning at about 4:30 am, I was on my way to Chelsea and of course with my bike. Usually, early morning in London is cold and as a biker the only way to overcome that cold weather is to pedal and ride fast. Pedalling and ridding fast increases the body metabolism, releases heat from inside to ensure that the temperature inside and the one outside is at equilibrium. That way you are able to beat the cold weather.

That was exactly what I was doing this morning at a speed that could scare Goliath and give Swine Flu, Tuberculosis and Cerebral Spinal Meningitis combined to the whole of United Kingdom. In fact the speed was so fast and furious that I was not even able to hear the songs blasting from my iPod. In actually fact the use of my iPod while biking contributes a lot to my speed.

The meaning of this is that in biking there is a correlation between music and speed and that could not be just dangerous but very dangerous. I am guilty of this. In fact, I cannot see myself biking without my iPod. Part of the reason for that is that for me to get to Chelsea from Walworth near Peckham, I will have to do 16 miles of biking and the use of my iPod goes a long way in helping me to achieve this goal and on time.

From this explanation, am sure you are now able to understand, the mood I was in this morning. Usually I have an option of taking two routes to get from Walworth to Chelsea and both of them take me roughly the same time. The first route takes me from Walworth to Camberwell Green junction and then to Oval. From Oval I will head straight to Vauxhall, then onto the Vauxhall Bridge passing the M16 Building and then take my left into Chelsea. The other option is going from Walworth to Elephant and Castle and from there to Oxford Circus and then to Piccadilly Circus. From Piccadilly Circus, I will ride straight on to Hyde Park and from there to Knights Bridge and then into Chelsea. This option is shorter and could be busy even early in the morning. This same option is the reason for this article.

As I was on this high speed, I heard a siren. The Police just came out from nowhere and blocked me. When I heard the siren and saw the police blocking me, I knew my offence and my offence was that I jumped the red light. This is a very serious issue. Serious not just because I broke the law but in the sense that it could be disastrous because if another vehicle is coming from any direction that indicates green, that could mean Rest In Perfect Peace Chukwunwikezarramu Okumephuna and that was exactly what the police man explained to me.

Frankly the Police man must be an angel because if I were him, I would make sure I was cautioned, fined, sent to court and put in prison for breaking the traffic law, riding furiously, recklessly, dangerously, endangering the life of other road users and being stupid enough to be smiling like a silly cunt when the police man was busy and seriously telling me the implication of what I just did.

Even though I was smiling during the whole episode, it was not funny at all because after that the next episode made it very clear to me how stupid my behaviour was. The police man told me that I have got to be very careful, if not for myself but for my family and loved ones and of course my facebook and twitter friends and those who follow my blogs and writings. I was really ashamed of myself.

As luck would have it, they left me with no caution and fine and of course the court and prison that would have followed. However being crazy and mad at the same time and just couple of minutes after that encounter, there I was again trying to jump another red light in Oxford Circus and before I could knew it, a car suddenly came from another direction in a very high speed that nearly send me 20 feet high above the sky if not for my sharpness and experience that enabled me to stop and swerve the cycle on time. Another cyclist may not have been as lucky as I was and thank God I was.

I am therefore forced to do this reflection on my life here. I am not in doubt that I have not been very careful lately with my life. If I had been, what happened today would not have happened. And what happened today is not peculiar to me, it is common amongst bikers. Bikers could be very careless and inconsiderate road users leaving one in doubt as to the sanity of their mind and mental health. Their speed on the high road is nothing to write home about and the manner of their overtaking and swerving on the road could make a pregnant woman miscarry. In a nutshell bikers are often very irresponsible and greedy road users.

What goes on in their mind is what am yet to decipher. Is it the fact that drivers are very afraid of running over them because of how stringent the law could be on them? Or is the fact that they do not contribute to carbon emission and climate change a reason for them to greedily occupy the whole road and exhibit their thuggish mannerism with their sweating balls? This is completely unacceptable and bikers have to reconsider their road using and be aware of the fact that they are sharing same road with other users.

The bikers are compulsive law breakers. They overtake carelessly, swerve imprudently, manoeuvre stupidly and use the pedestrian path as if they are blind. According to the Taylor v Goodwin judgment of 1879, bicycles are by law carriages and as a consequence should be on the road not on the pavement. Therefore cyclists have got no right whatsoever on the footpath or footway. In fact they are only allowed the use of cycle track and the main roads especially the bus lane for safety.

By definition Cycle Track means a way constituting or comprised in a highway, being a way over which the public have the following, but no other, rights of way, that is to say, a right of way on pedal cycles (other than pedal cycles which are motor vehicles within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1972) with or without a right of way on foot [Section 329(1) Highways Act 1980]. The words in brackets were inserted by section 1 of the Cycle Tracks Act 1984. Cycle tracks may be created through conversion of a footway or footpath or newly constructed.

Cycling on footways (a pavement at the side of a carriageway) is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888. This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Cyclists have no right to cycle on a footpath away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the maximum fine for cycling on the pavement from the courts is £500. However it is more usually enforced by way of the Fixed Penalty Notice procedure (FPN) which carries a £30 fine if pleading guilty.

As noted earlier, the primary legislation which makes cycling on a footway an offence is section 72 of the 1835 Highways Act and this provides that a person shall be guilty of an offence if he "shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot-passengers or shall wilfully lead or drive any carriage of any description upon any such footpath or causeway."

The legislation makes no exceptions for small wheeled or children's cycles, so even a child riding on a footway is breaking the law. However, if they are under the age of criminal responsibility they cannot, of course, face prosecution.

On 1st August 1999, new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway. However the Home Office issued guidance on how the new legislation should be applied, indicating that they should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others. At the time Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued a letter stating that:

"The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required."

1 comment:

  1. OMG....i am thankful that you avoided any injury....please take care in future. x