I just about responded to the shrill trill of the alarm, set for 7.00 am. I had to be at my computer screen for 7.30, for the expected email. It was there, I clicked on the link, and was instructed to wait in the 'virtual lobby' for anything between fifteen and thirty minutes.

Zoom has become an integral part of society since the plague took hold. People are either required to become familiar with its operation for work purposes; or we have become used to numerous interviews being conducted through this medium, with politicians, scientists, medics and other experts. Often indulging in the new critique; commenting on the background - surely they can't have read all those books? Get rid of that dreadful wallpaper. I like that painting etc.

You're Nicked Son!
I would be introduced for the first time as a direct user, the result of being camera nicked for 'speeding' in London at the beginning of August on my bike. The letter from the Met Police told me I'd been travelling 24mph in a 20mph limit. I couldn't recall the street location, but it's pointless trying to contradict the electronica. And the letter went on to offer me the opportunity to undertake a speed awareness course, rather than the usual licence points and a fine.

It then explained that courses were now being conducted online, for obvious reasons, and I was invited to sign up with the (outsource) company that I presumed had a contract to undertake these. I handed over £88, thinking this looked like a nice little earner as they say, and wondered what percentage went to the police. I was also intrigued as to how it would work, and perhaps in a rash gesture on my part, signed up for the 7.45am course start, rather than the afternoon session. Thinking to get it done in the morning without affecting the rest of the day.

My mate Simon uses Zoom all the time while working from home, and he was good enough to guide me through the rudiments a couple of days before, and then invite me to a test meeting to make sure the camera, speaker and microphone in my computer were all working okay.

Road Rage Psychopaths?
After what seemed like an interminable wait in the 'virtual lobby', especially as I'd finished my mug of tea, and didn't want to chance leaving the screen to go to the kitchen for another, the screen connected and Steve the course tutor (not his real name) came on the line and greeted me. Then one by one the other participants came onto the side of the screen as thumbnails. Nine of us altogether from across the country as widespread as Cornwall and Scotland. In his introduction Steve gave us the full title of the acronym NDORS, under whose auspices the courses are run: National Driver Offender Rehabilitation Scheme.

At 4mph over the limit I didn't really feel as if rehabilitation was quite the right reference point. There was no way I could know what my co-offenders road misdemeanours were, but none gave the immediate appearance of being road rage psychopaths. We were all looking pretty glum, but Steve sought to lighten the mood with a seemingly constant patter, and some lame jokes, before we got into the course.

The course itself consisted of all the standard content using graphics, other pictures and video clips to go through speed on different roads; braking distances; hazard observation; driver mood etc. All related to car driving, with no mention of motorcycles. I expect a number of Wemoto readers will be familiar with the curriculum. Participation was minimal with Steve throwing out occasional questions to the group for a response. And now and again asking a particular person a question, or asking for an observation on a situation on the screen.

It felt like people wanted to get through the two and half hours and then click the 'leave the meeting' tab. Just one amusing moment. When we were asked for reasons why people speed, one participant answered that the mph signs were too small. Whereupon Steve quipped; are you saying you were going too fast to see them? With darker days, wet and slippery roads, and colder temperatures, riding opportunities become fewer and less attractive, the odds of a recidivist relapse are longer. It is a rule that you cannot be offered another speed awareness course within three years. I'll be concentrating on my heated grips temperature and cameras.

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20/10/20 - I had 2 in Jan in Hackney 24 in a 20 ... nobody believed the cameras were on .
I had points for one and course for the other .
Hasn't loaded my insurance .
I've had a clean licence 40 bleeding years as well !

20/10/20 - Yup, 75 in a 60 in a van

20/10/20 - I took the points.

20/10/20 - I went on, not my first, and the chap asked us why we were there.
I was last of the line. My “ cos I keep getting pulled for speeding “ brought much laughter and a rueful grin from our host.

20/10/20 - I never go that slow.

20/10/20 -Yeah that's Me 😎

Posted by John Newman
for Wemoto News on 16 October 2020 in Features

Edited By: Denisa Orbulescu



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