So when I was clocked going 47mph in a 40mph zone down near Brighton my initial attitude was pretty defensive.
I had been travelling at night on an empty dual carriageway. Was a seven mile infringement really so bad? The answer is yes.
I say that after attending a four-hour speed awareness seminar last week which really opened my eyes.
Speed awareness courses are common across the UK and open to people caught driving 10mph or less over the limit.
Even though the financial cost of such a course is more than the fine (in my case £85 instead of £60) and you have to give up your time to attend, many people view such seminars as a “soft option”.
After sitting in a room with other speeding drivers (interestingly all of whom looked over 35) and being shown an array of statistics and videos for a couple of hours, I didn’t feel that I had gotten off lightly. I felt like I had been given wake up call.
It’s pretty straightforward. The faster you are travelling, the longer it takes you stop. It’s obvious I know, but as we are rushing around we tend to forget this basic fact.
Then there are the stats. Excessive speed contributes to 24 per cent of fatal collisions, 15 per cent of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 14 per cent of all injury collisions.
The risk of a pedestrian who is hit by a car being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30mph. Above this speed, the risk shoots up. A pedestrian hit by a car going between 30mph and 40mph is between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling at below 30mph.
When I am out cycling I often come across careless and inconsiderate drivers, so I know how dangerous it can be on the roads, especially if you are on foot or a bike. So what was I thinking?
I am going to try and put my new-found awareness into practice and try and stick to the limit. After all it is more important to reach your destination in one-piece. Will arriving a few minutes earlier really make that much difference?