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[NIP Wizard] photo and radar don't coroborate in gatso evidence
desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 00:29
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NIP Details and Circumstances
What is the name of the Constabulary? -
Date of the offence: - June 2007
Date of the NIP: - 10 days after the offence
Date you received the NIP: - 14 days after the offence
Location of offence (exact location as it appears on the NIP: important): - Ditchling Road S/B, Brighton
Was the NIP addressed to you? - Yes
Was the NIP sent by first class post, second class or recorded delivery? - Not known
If your are not the Registered Keeper, what is your relationship to the vehicle? -
How many current points do you have? - 0
Provide a description of events (if you know what happened) telling us as much about the incident as possible - some things that may seem trivial to you may be important, so don't leave anything out. Please do not post personal details for obvious reasons - Flashed by a Gatso24. Got the NIP and declared it must be me as the bike had not been lent to any one and not been stolen (to my knowledge). 4 months later summonsed with information stating I was riding my bike at 38 in a 30 limit. Pleaded not guilty and asked for photo evidence. Got two bad paper prints of gatso frames and a third showing the blow up of my number plate made using the digitising computer. Cannot see number plate either of the two whole frames.
The radar information block shows a detected speed of 38 but I am certain I was doing 30mph. But when the photographs were inspected the bike had travelled less than 4 markers (ie less than 8m) in 0.5 second. So not 38mph. By using the computer and a graphics program i was able to make a superimposed picture from the two originals sent to me. In this way I could take a more accurate estimate of my speed. It turns out to be probable that I was travelling at a speed between 31 and 33mph. A speed probably between 31.5 and 32mph is my best estimate so far. The supplied pictures are not such good quality that I can easily superimpose the two. I have asked for copies of the negatives actually produced by the Gatso. It may be that I was travelling at 30.9mph and so on.

I have been investigating various defences and there are some ancillary bits of information (involving a vicious looking dog running out at me) that I have left out for simplicity. I am particularly interested in how the primary (Doppler radar) and the secondary (two photos, 0.5 second apart and referencing road markings) are supposed to corroborate each other. the radar says 38mph the photos do not support that - they say 31-32mph.
The prosecution alleges this is because I was braking sharply at the time the photos were taken. They point to the brake light being on in the gatso photos. I contest this. It is 21:45 (evening) and the motorbike has the lights always on - what was seen in the photo was the normal back light. If, as the prosecution alleges, I was doing 38mph at the start of the sequence (ie in the first photo) and the two photos indicated an average speed of 32mph then the final speed in the second frame must actually have been 26mph. maths: 26+38/2=32mph

To slow from 38 to 26mph in half a second is quite a rapid reduction of velocity. That is greater than 1g.

I contend that the radar was confused by one or more of a possible number of sources of error:
- reflection from a bus shelter directly in line of sight, several tree trucks and an oblique long iron railing fence
-vibrating number plate
- a flapping/swinging bag carried by the rider and the nature of the rest of the motorcycle that was an "active surface" radar target.

So one strategy (among many) for the defence case could be that the evidence is bad and proves nothing. the radar and photos don't corroborate each other and are therefore of no value. The prosecutor might of course say that even if they don't exactly match both pieces of evidence do agree that I was riding over 30mph. So what ever exact speed I was doing I was committing an offence.
It would seem that the only way to beat that idea is to use a divide and conquor strategy that is that the 38mph radar reading is most obviously flawed and should be discarded. However that would imply that 31-32mph is the correct/uncontested speed. This would be below 35 mph that the ACPO recommend as a minimum speed for prosecution.
I suspect that to use ACPO guidelines in this situation would only work if I was very lucky. They are not law and the actual offence is driving over 30mph. However I might be able to argue the truth (yer honour..) which was that I must have unintentionally rode the bike at 31 mph (or 32, etc) and there fore did not mean to commit an offence. I mean who in there right mind would ride past a gatso at 32 in an effort to get busted for speeding..

any advice or comment?


NIP Wizard Responses
These were the responses used by the Wizard to arrive at its recommendation:
Have you received a NIP? - Yes
Are you the Registered Keeper of the vehicle concerned (is your name and address on the V5/V5C)? - Yes
Did the first NIP arrive within 14 days? - Yes
Although you are the Registered Keeper, were you also the keeper of the vehicle concerned (the person normally responsible for it) at the time of the alleged offence? - Yes
Were you driving? - Yes
Which country did the alleged offence take place in? - England

NIP Wizard Recommendation
Based on these responses the Wizard suggested that this course of action should be considered:
  • The law requires you to provide the information requested in the Section 172 notice within the 28 day period, naming yourself as the driver. If you are considering obtaining formal legal advice, do so before returning the notice.

    You should note that there is nothing to be gained by responding any earlier than you have to at any stage of the process. You are likely to receive a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty (COFP) and further reminder(s). If you want to continue the fight, you should ignore all correspondence from the police until you receive a summons. You need to understand from the outset that while you will receive much help and support from members on the forums, you will need to put time and effort into fighting your case and ultimately be prepared to stand up in court to defend yourself.

Generated by the PePiPoo NIP Wizard v3.3.2: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 01:29:42 +0100

This post has been edited by desktop_demon: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 - 07:44


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post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 00:29
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sputnik365
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 05:53
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someone should be along to confirm this.
The evidence of speeding comes from the gatsometer.
the lines in the road are a form of secondary check ((not admissible evidence of speeding (except in Huddersfield)) that the gatso is operating correctly and must agree with the speed shown +- 10% otherwise no case. Can also be calculated by photogrammetry.
There is no specified distance for the spacing of the lines, usually 2m or 5ft.
You need to take your photos to the site and measure the exact distance covered.

Ditchling Road is about 6 miles long so pos. vague locus. What is S/B?
Of course you could always give evidence that you were travelling at 31mph and get found guilty biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by sputnik365: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 05:55
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BaggieBoy
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 09:09
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QUOTE (sputnik365 @ Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 06:53) *
Ditchling Road is about 6 miles long so pos. vague locus. What is S/B?


S/B = southbound.
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desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 11:10
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I am interested in the idea that the radar is the primary check and that IT MUST AGREE WITHIN 10% of the secondary check. Obviously it does not in this case. Can any one quote the law on this particular point. I have been looking but other than the "all evidence must be corroborated" rule I can find no actual reference to the fact that the gatsometer primary radar reading and secondary photographic record must support each other. I mean it sounds obvious to the fabled "man on the Clapham omnibus" but as we all know what is obvious and what is the law are often two different things. So any help on that point would be much appreciated.

On the subject of calculating speed from the photographs - this is not always as straight forward as it appears. Obviously the idea is to count the road markings (I measured them - 2m spacing) and then do the distance over time calculation. The problem arises when the distance moved is less than 4 markers and greater than 3 markers. That is all that can undeniably be said about the photogrammetry. 3 markers in half a second = 27mph, 4 markers in half a second = 36mph. One is comfortably inside the law and the other collects a ticket. So the big question is exactly how far did I travel in that 0.5 second. And the big problem is how to estimate that (and it will only ever be an estimate). The best method found so far is to superimpose the two pictures (so the gatso data and the various road markings line up) then measure the distance (with a ruler in mm) between 4 suitably adjacent road markers (D) and then measure the distance between some feature on the bike that is visible in the two "ghosted" images (d). The top corner of the number plate is usually well defined. Then it is easy enough to calculate the distance travelled (d*8m/D) and hence the speed. In my case - using scans of rather bad paper prints - this comes to 31 (+/1) mph. If I had better quality images on dimensionally stable medium (like photographic paper) then I might be able to "improve" on this result. It would of course be very helpful if I could deduce a speed of 29-30mph from the photos!

However the primary line of defence still seems to be that there is no coroboration of evidence. 38mph is not 31 (+/-1)mph. Is this enough to collapse the prosecution case?

This post has been edited by desktop_demon: Fri, 8 Aug 2008 - 14:21


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desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 16:17
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The next defence possible is that i was riding within the accuracy allowed for speedometers. That is 31 or 32mph is less than the 10% error allowed for speedometers. So my speedometer might be reading 30 but in fact (due to equipment tolerance errors) i was actually riding at 32mph. The maximum error permitted would be 33mph in a 30mph zone. As I have stated I believed I was driving within the limit and I had looked at my speedometer to check. It all seemed OK.

However the situation in law as to what errors are legally accpetable seems a little confused. The relevant regulation is reg 35 of the vehicle(construction and uses) regulations as ammended by SI 1998/1188. However this is ambigous. In previous versions it provided for a +/- 10% error margin between actual road speed and displayed speed. This would support my case. But the current version did not carry this provision forward. Even more strangely it allows for use of reg35 OR European/UNECE reg 39. UNECE 39 is the regulation that says no speedo can register LESS that the true vehicle road speed but it can display a speed that is upto 10% greater. This obviously is not so helpful to my case.

So which interpretation can I depend on? And has anybody else tried running a "up to 3mph over is allowed due to speedometer error" type of defence. I am usually informed that ANY speed over 30mph is an absolute offence.


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BaggieBoy
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 16:24
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QUOTE (desktop_demon @ Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 17:17) *
The next defence possible is that i was riding within the accuracy allowed for speedometers. That is 31 or 32mph is less than the 10% error allowed for speedometers. So my speedometer might be reading 30 but in fact (due to equipment tolerance errors) i was actually riding at 32mph. The maximum error permitted would be 33mph in a 30mph zone. As I have stated I believed I was driving within the limit and I had looked at my speedometer to check.

There is no defence there at all. It is permissable for speed indicating equipment to overread by up to 10% but must never underread. So at at an indicated 30, your real speed should be 30 or lower, never higher. If you know for a fact that your speedo underreads, you are commiting a further offence.
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jobo
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 16:46
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There is no defence there at all. It is permissable for speed indicating equipment to overread by up to 10% but must never underread. So at at an indicated 30, your real speed should be 30 or lower, never higher. If you know for a fact that your speedo underreads, you are commiting a further offence.


i keep seeing this being quoted, but what offence and where is this provision in statute


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southpaw82
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 16:47
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Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986. Don't have them to hand I'm afraid so can't point you to the precise regulation but it is in there.

(I think it's Reg 35).

This post has been edited by southpaw82: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 16:54


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jobo
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 17:11
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thank god for that

iv a 59 norton who speedo aproximates in 30mph (ie some where betwwen 30 and 80 = 50 ish lumps,) hope its not retrospective


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desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 17:50
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The road traffic (construction and use) regulations are ambiguous on this point. In previous versions (pre 1986? maybe) they specified +/- 10% permissible error for speedometer equipment. But they were updated by various statutory instruments.

In their current form the RV(Construction and use) Regulations state that the vehicle must carry a speedometer (marked in mph/kph) and that this does not apply to various things specified in paragraph 2. My motorbike does not seem to be included in the list of vehicle types in paragraph 2. In paragraph 3 it states that instead of complying with paragraph 1 the vehicle may comply with Community Directive 97/39 or ECE regulation 39.

Now UNECE regulation 39 is the regulation that states the speedometer must never read less than the true speed but can show 10% over the true speed. And as most people say - that is that. But the regulation 39 (and I quote from "Wilkinson's" latest edition) seems to be an option. You can either abide by the regulation in para 1 or UNECE regulation 39.

So lets not follow UNECE 39 (it appears to be my option but advice please) and lets follow paragraph 1. That has no specification about limits and yet we know it is impossible to have a perfect speedometer mechanism. So the concept of error in display must be implied in this specification... so the previous 10% might be a guideline used in absence of anything else. It would seem perverse to interpret the law in any other way than to ask the question " who gets to choose which regulation actually applies". If I can choose paragraph 1 then where does that leave me - still subject to UNECE regulation 39? (... "without a paddle", etc.)


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captain swoop
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 17:53
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Your speed calculation assumes 2m markings, I would go and measure them.
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desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 18:10
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I am reasonably confident that the road markings are 2m apart and each mark is 150mm wide. I have also had independent confirmation from my expert witness.

I am interested in application of Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, section 89. Paragraph 2 states
(2) A person prosecuted for such an offence shall not be liable to be convicted solely on the evidence of one witness to the effect that, in the opinion of the witness, the person prosecuted was driving the vehicle at a speed exceeding a specified limit.

This is the only reference in law that I know of that asserts a need for corroborative evidence for speeding offences. So this is the legal basis for a secondary check. The primary evidence and the secondary check are the "two witnesses" that supply evidence. Section 20 of the RTA 1988 allows these automatic witnesses to be admitted as evidence in their own right. So how much must these witnesses agree? It seems that they only need to agree that I was exceeding the specified speed limit. So they do not need to agree by any amount at all. For example, the radar could read 70mph and yet the photos show 31mph and I would not have a defence to the charge, even if the 70mpoh was obviously in error!

Hmmmm. 8^(


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Fredd
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 18:30
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Isn't your problem going to be that you're being prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit contrary to the RTA, not for driving at xx or yy mph, and not for contravening the C&U regulations? The precise speed will be relevant to the sentence passed, but not for determining whether you are guilty under the RTA. You seem to be finding all kinds of ways of proving that you were exceeding the speed limit mellow.gif


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desktop_demon
post Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 22:04
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Yes, indeed point taken. I am playing devils advocate with my own case! smile.gif

But in actuality I was trying to discover the counter-points to my defence. I am pretty sure I was doing 30mph. But lets be honest if I studied the speedometer in that much detail I would be up the back end of the vehicle in front, so there must be some guidance as to what is permissible in speedometer reading errors. I mean simple visual acuity is error prone and driving too slowly is an offence in some circumstances!

In my case, the primary evidence is from the photographs and is not conclusive or is open to interpretation. It seems that to argue my case I must insist I was doing 30 and the radar readings were wrong and the photos not detailed enough. I have several procedural ambushes planned and there are several errors in evidence and documentation that I will use to my advantage. But when push comes to shove it seems to be my word (or the presumption of innocence) against a "confused" radar derived speed reading and a more accurate but not so precise set of photographs. The photographs need some exact interpretation and I am willing to post - is there somewhere to post pictures to the forum?

I was writing to the forum to see if anybody had any advice on two things; 1-diverging photo and radar evidence and to what degree that have to support each other and 2-did anyone have any insights on the construction and use regulations regarding speedometers (eg has anybody actually read them).

And for good measure I'll throw in a third query - what relevance or standing in law do the ACPO guidelines have? One of the usage guidelines states that if a bus stop is in view of the system then the system might well suffer from radar reflection and should be moved to a more suitable location. In my first photo there is a fully illuminated bus stop directly in line with my bike and the camera. That doesn't sound like its conforming to ACPO guidelines!


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sputnik365
post Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 04:32
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QUOTE (desktop_demon @ Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 12:10) *
I am interested in the idea that the radar is the primary check and that IT MUST AGREE WITHIN 10% of the secondary check. Obviously it does not in this case. Can any one quote the law on this particular point. I have been looking but other than the "all evidence must be corroborated" rule I can find no actual reference to the fact that the gatsometer primary radar reading and secondary photographic record must support each other. I mean it sounds obvious to the fabled "man on the Clapham omnibus" but as we all know what is obvious and what is the law are often two different things. So any help on that point would be much appreciated.


The Speedmeter Handbook
(Four th Edition)

5.7 Automatic systems
5.7.1 Second method of speed measurement
A second method of speed measurement involving a different principle (such as two
photographs or video frames taken a known time apart) shall be used to verify the
primary speed measurement. The accuracy of the second method shall be within 10%
of the speed recorded by the primary measurement. The speedmeter shall be set up in
traffic and sufficient readings taken to be able to make a valid statistical comparison of
the two speed measurements. A test track may be used for this purpose.

This post has been edited by sputnik365: Sat, 9 Aug 2008 - 05:47
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andy_foster
post Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 05:15
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S. 89(2) is irrelevant - it only concerns opinion evidence from witnesses.

The relevant staute is s. 20(4)(b) RTOA 1988 - corroboration by means of a second photo taken a known time after the first is a condition of type approval for the Gatsometer BV 24 +AUS, as stipulated in the schedule to the type approval agreement. Whilst the exact meaning of 'corroborate' is not specified, various prosecution expert witnesses* have stated that it must be within 10% of the primary reading. This is strongly supported by the speedmeter handbook as sputnik365 has stated.



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facade
post Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 08:38
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QUOTE (sputnik365 @ Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 05:32) *
5.7.1 Second method of speed measurement
A second method of speed measurement involving a different principle (such as two
photographs or video frames taken a known time apart) shall be used to verify the
primary speed measurement. The accuracy of the second method shall be within 10%
of the speed recorded by the primary measurement. The speedmeter shall be set up in
traffic and sufficient readings taken to be able to make a valid statistical comparison of
the two speed measurements. A test track may be used for this purpose.



doesn't this apply only to a calibration check by driving through at constant speed, rather than to every measurement?

I would expect that most people slam their brakes on at the first flash, some when they spot the camera, and can get more than a 10% reduction across the measuring grid.
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Fredd
post Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 09:18
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You've only got 0.5s before the second picture, and from that you've got to subtract the time taken to spot the flash, decide to brake, move your foot off the accelerator onto the brake/close the throttle and get your fingers around the brake lever, and press hard enough to get effective braking. If you're not expecting the flash in the first place you're not going to be able to slow that much I would suggest.

It would seem probable that Gatsometer took this issue into account when deciding on 0.5s!


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desktop_demon
post Thu, 24 Jul 2008 - 11:44
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I agree that on reaction times alone there is a strong argument against braking playing any significant role during the time that the two photographs are taken. 0.5 seconds really is a short time when concentrating on the road ahead. However the prosecution have alleged that I was braking and thus managed to slow down enough to given the readings shown in evidence. I have presented the very soundly based counter argument to this above but I will re-iterate here in more detail.

The prosecution allege that I was travelling at 38mph when the radar detected me and triggered the photographic secondary process. This point of detection must be a fraction of a second before the first photograph is taken. 0.5 second later the second photograph is taken. The best estimate for my average speed from the photographs is 31mph +/- 1mph. So, for the sake of the argument, lets be generous to the prosecution and say my average speed was 32. If the start speed was 38 (they say) and my average speed was 32 then the end speed for that 0.5 second period must have been 26. "Do the math" - if I started at 38mph my final speed must be well below that to make the average 32mph, ie (initial_speed+final_speed)/2=average_speed. Therefore (38+26)/2=32mph.

So for the prosecution argument (that I was initially travelling at 38mph) to be even physically possible I must have slowed from 38mph to 26mph in 0.5 seconds. That's 12mph in half a second or equivalent to 24mph in one second. Wow that's some braking - perhaps we should see the skid marks? :0) And that allows nothing for the discussion about reaction times above. This is presuming I am jamming on the brakes with the grip of death as I go through the radar beam. A reduction of 24mph in one second (or 12mph in half a second) is a decelerating force greater than 1g. This is beyond most available braking systems and is rarely attained in racing cars. We are talking very serious deceleration factors here. Something much greater than (for example) that needed to pop a front wheel "wheelie". Which of course for the sake of the argument I have never done either.

As a guide look at the stopping distances and times in the highway code. Yes they say it takes longer than 1.5 seconds to stop from 30mph. So the braking argument looks very shaky on this ground alone. In the photos the rider can be seen carrying a plastic bag over his arm. The bag is hanging normally in both pictures. With the deceleration suggested by the prosecution it would be extended forward with its own momentum by the deceleration - like ones arms and head tend to move forward during sudden and vicious braking in a car. Now add in the reaction factor. What would that man on teh Clapham omnibus say? Was I braking? Was I bollox. The prosecution also add that my rear light was illuminated indicating my braking - but that was my normal rear light which as with most modern bikes is permanently on. I have photographic evidence of my own that shows that when the brakes are applied the rear light is so bright that its reflection can be seen on the roads surface. No reflection on the road in the evidential images, of course... SO I think that raises reasonable doubt on the prosecution argument that I was braking.

So if I wasn't breaking - the next problem is resolving the radar and photogrammetry difference. 38mph from the radar and 31mph(+/-1mph) on the photograph. Do I go for a non-corroboration argument - that the two readings disagree and by 20%, which is beyond the notion of corroborative? Or do I go for the divide and conquor defence. The radar was obviously fooled by reasons mentioned above (original post) and the actual speed cannot be exactly determined from the photographs. It could be 30mph, it could be 31 or even 32mph. I contend I was riding at 30mph and there is reasonable doubt that the gatsometer photographs actually prove I was exceeding the speed limit. No corroborating evidence for the false 38mph reading. Case dead.

I intend to fight the case and I believe I have a reasonable argument - the reason I may seem to be "doing the prosecution for them" in my previous arguments is that I want to intimately understand the possibilities available for the prosecution to support their case. Once I understnad the real strengths and weaknesses of their argument I can fashion my final defence strategy. I already have some tactics prepared!

I am following up sputnik365's (speedmeter handbook) and andy_foster's (section20,4(b)) comments. Must go find the actual type approval document for the Gatsometer 24+AUS device.


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Dr Science
post Sun, 3 Aug 2008 - 02:59
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QUOTE (desktop_demon @ Wed, 23 Jul 2008 - 01:29) *
Flashed by a Gatso24...
The radar information block shows a detected speed of 38 but I am certain I was doing 30mph. But when the photographs were inspected the bike had travelled less than 4 markers (ie less than 8m) in 0.5 second. So not 38mph.


1) Check what the interval between the lines is.
2) Check that the flash interval is 0.5 seconds.

If the speed from the secondary check really does differ by that much then it really should be a simple not guilty.

The radar and the secondary have to agree either within 10% or 2 mph (opinions vary on which depending on what document you read or which expert you believe) - yours is way out on either criterion.

Dr.S


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Dr.S
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I am an engineer/physicist, not a lawyer. My answers are based on The Laws 'O Physics (which ya' can 'ne change, Cap'n).
The law of the land is a much more slippery and changeable thing.

"The only way to deal with bureaucrats is with stealth and sudden violence" - Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United Nations
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