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The Road Traffic Act - a salutory lesson!


learningtofly
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Last summer I bought my son a scooter for his 21st birthday. He'd just passed his CBT, needed something to ride to work and back on, and absolutely loved being mobile. It pretty much changed his life, in fact.


Fast forward to December, and the bike was stolen by some local scrotes. They seemingly rode it for a day or so and then proceeded to smash it up before dumping it. When it was found (dumped locally), most of the panels/fairings were destroyed and the ignition barrel had been torn out. All in all, it was in a sorry state, and given that it was only worth about £650 - and his insurance excess was £850 - I suggested to Sam that he see what he could get for it as a non-runner. Well, he then really surprised me by refusing to give up on it; he sourced some panels and a new ignition barrel, and with his mate's help slowly rebuilt it piece by piece. It's now a week or two from being a runner again... just needs to be popped into an auto-electrician and then needs it's first MOT (which hopefully will be a formality).


Anyway, yesterday he received a letter from the DVLA, stating that the Motor Insurance Database showed the bike was uninsured on 13th March (a pretty random date!), and that he was being fined £100. The only way in which he could dispute the fine was by having proof of insurance on that date; a valid SORN from prior to the date; evidence that he hadn't been the keeper; or evidence that it had been stolen. Well, of course it had been stolen, but given that the police have a record of its recovery that one's a non-starter.


I feel a bit guilty, as when I advised Sam that he may as well terminate his insurance (we knew it wouldn't be on the road for months) it didn't occur to me that - even though the bike has been garaged since and has been a non-runner anyway - he still needed at least third party cover to avoid falling foul of section 144 of the Road Traffic Act (which requires all vehicles to be insured unless the DVLA have been formally advised that they're off the road). Had I realised that I'd have told him to SORN it straight away, and there's no way he'd have understood about that himself having never owned a vehicle before. In any event, I'll be paying his fine and making sure that he now does the necessary.


I'm obviously a bit miffed about it, but thought that it was a lesson that might benefit others who weren't aware of this requirement (remember, the bike has been in a garage, and unrideable, since its recovery).

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Unfortunately it's a fairly recent change which wasn't advertised much. Previously I've had vehicles go off road after I've bought tax and cancelled insurance but not bothered to SORN until tax reminder came through. Now you cannot keep a vehicle taxed whilst uninsured regardless of it being off road.


It is something much more likely to affect bikers, with yearly tax so cheap especially for 125s your more likely to not bother SORNing with a few months left, I only found out when I cancelled insurance on 125 the advisor was helpful enough to tell me of this change otherwise I wouldn't have contacted DVLA straight away.

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I think this is one of those situations where the phrase "The law is an ass" applies. Had I been in the same situation I think I'd have got caught out the same way unless my copper son in law had advised me otherwise.

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Annoying, I can only assume it's to stop people getting insurance, paying monthly, getting the documents through and then cancelling the payments? If so I thought that was why they generally checked by the roadside rather than giving you a producer nowadays

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Annoying, I can only assume it's to stop people getting insurance, paying monthly, getting the documents through and then cancelling the payments? If so I thought that was why they generally checked by the roadside rather than giving you a producer nowadays

Documents are irrelevant these days - everything lives in a database, and if "computer says no", yer fecked....

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My scooter insurance lapsed a year or so ago and I got a letter telling me in order not to receive a fine, I had to act immediately! First time I'd heard of the changes.

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w**kers .... things this government do to feck you over .. bad enough this new tax start the month .and it can't be carried over. So the won't refund you say half months tax but you have to pay from the start of the month or wait till the end of the month so wrong ..

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My son got a 50cc moped when he turned 16 last May. He sat his CBT and has been riding around happily. He sold his 50 last week when a good opportunity came up for a cheap 125. Now he can't insure the 125 as he is only 16. I even asked hid insurance if there was a way it could be insured for theft only until he was 17 but they said no. They then proceeded to tell me that I can't insure it as I wasn't the legal owner. This left us no option but to sorn it and lock it away until May (I did plan on giving it a run once a week or so). As was said earlier, the tax on a 125 isn't worth cancelling, seems the main purpose of this law is to generate cash for the government.

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