Life on bikes

Should a wheelie get you 8 months in jail?

We’ve had a day or so to let the news sink in – a biker got an eight-month prison sentence for pulling wheelies on the M6. Was it a fair punishment?

There is a time and a place for everything and it’s fair to say taking selfies in the fast lane of the M6 isn’t one of them.

Nor is pulling wheelies, rummaging through your backpack, doing a wing-walking impression and not noticing you have been followed for more than quarter of an hour by a vehicle that has all the hallmarks of an unmarked police car as you ride at speeds up to 109mph.

It’s no surprise that the rider, 27-year-old Pawel Zietowski, got a 28-month driving ban. Enough for him, according to his defence barrister, to think twice about getting on a bike again. “From Mr Zietowski’s point of view, he is finished with motorbikes, they are no longer part of his life.”

What is more surprising is that for the next eight months, four if he’s a good boy, Zietowski’s entire life needs to be put on hold.

Considering a bike criminal can be arrested up to 80-100 times and still not go to prison, is that fair?

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Reality check

The reality is it’s not fair – it’s the system. Biker & Bike has learned from a source inside the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group, which acts as a liaison between the motorcycle industry, insurers and the police, that there is an active policy to keep young offenders under the age of 24 out of prison.

It currently underpins the entire motorcycle-related crime epidemic and we’ll be covering the issue in the coming weeks as many believe, even if pursuit policies are changed, very few offenders will still actually see the inside of a prison.

Zietowski was clearly an idiot, stunting in such a public place. But his real ‘crime’ was that he was punishable due to his age. The Criminal Justice System is currently designed to keep younger people out of prison. At 27, he fell outside the protection of advice to judges and the CPS to not prosecute younger offenders.

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He should have got something

Make no mistake, he deserves the driving ban. And possibly a community service order to give something back to the society he clearly put at risk with his antics. It’s lucky he didn’t lose control – at those speeds, he would have been dead and his flying Yamaha R6 could have done considerable damage to other road users, not to mention the knock-on consequences of cars and trucks suddenly breaking to deal with the scene.

But to now spend at least four months incarcerated with ‘proper criminals’, subjected to the possibility of violence, drug abuse and possibly worse?

If someone can be arrested 60, 80, 100 times for alleged offences and still avoid jail when this guy has admitted his mistake and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving only, then there is something seriously wrong with our so-called ‘Justice System.’

Get yourself sorted:

Keep an eye out in coming weeks for our investigation into why bike gangs are recruiting men under 24 to steal motorbikes. Sign up for our emails to ensure you don’t miss out.

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B&B Staff

B&B Staff