Fixed penalty notice on closed road
Leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell has taken on the case of Andy Verrall, the mechanic who was issued with a fixed penalty notice during one of the UK's largest cycle races, despite the race taking place on a closed road circuit.
Mr Verrall was working in an official capacity on the Lincoln GP cycle race in May this year as a mechanic. His role meant that he followed behind the race in his official car and would stop to attend to mechanical problems suffered by any rider.
After one such stop Mr Verrall was returning to the 'convoy' to regain his place behind the riders when he overtook an ambulance, linked to the race, and in doing so crossed a double white line.
Andy, who was working as a mechanic for British Cycling, the governing body of cycling in the UK, was stopped on the 8th lap of the race by a policeman on a motorbike who advised him that he had crossed a double white line and that he was being issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Mr Verrall said "I thought it was a joke at first, but then I saw the policeman wasn't laughing I was extremely annoyed. The policeman had no idea of the nature of the following vehicles and the self regulatory nature of the race convoy when on closed roads."
David Standard of law firm Irwin Mitchell who have taken up the case of Mr Verrall said "This seems like a bit of an over reaction by the Lincolnshire police and a mis-understanding of the nature of the race and the temporary road closures that were in place on the day."
Mr Standard, a former member of the Great Britain Cycling Team continued "If this prosecution was allowed to stand it could have dire consequences for all races and events operating on closed roads, including the visit of the Tour de France to the UK over 3 days in July 2007. "
"The legendary French cycling race will need to operate on a similar temporary road closure order as was issued in this case. With many more riders and many more cars involved in 'Le Tour', their ability to effectively govern and look after all of the cyclists will be seriously compromised."
Mr Verrall's case is being dealt with by The Regulation and Investigations team at Irwin Mitchell led by Partner Sarah Cleary. Barrister Richard Viney, a keen cyclist, will be representing Mr Verrall in court, if it gets that far. Ms Cleary said "hopefully someone at the Crown Prosecution Service will review the matter and take a sensible view. The circumstances seem to suggest that the officer concerned acted a little inappropriately perhaps."
The Lincolnshire Constabulary that issued the ticket to Mr Verrall were in the news for issuing a speeding ticket to an ambulance driver in 2003 while he was delivering a liver for transplant. Mike Ferguson was driving a marked vehicle with blue flashing lights when he was issued with the penalty notice as he drove through Lincolnshire on his way to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.