Bikers wrongfully charged over polite vest

Motorcyclist Darren Emanuel, 47, an independent financial consultant, has been a biker for many years and was riding his white, ex-police BMW R1200RT when he was stopped by a police officer who had seen him from the opposing carriageway.

The officer concluded that Emanuel was trying to impersonate an officer

After the officer checked the bike over, he then turned to the clothing choice of Emanuel. At the time, Darren was wearing his “Polite Think Bike” vest and a white helmet. Combined with the look of his motorcycle, the officer concluded that Emanuel was attempting to impersonate an officer. The officer made notes and sent Darren on his way.

Only after Emanuel later made a complaint to the police about his treatment was he called into a police station about the incident. He was then charged with wearing a police uniform, which was calculated to deceive, and the case went to court.

Darren was ordered to pay costs

The court saw that Darren was not attempting to deceive the public, but was ordered to pay £670 in costs.

The story was then blown out of proportion by the media, and even people from other countries heard of Darren’s story.

“I had friends in other countries who read about it,” Emanuel said. “After the news of the conviction appeared online, my job contract wasn’t renewed, and my landlord served a notice on my house.”

‘Polite’ vests have since come under intense scrutiny. However, a Met Police spokesperson exclaimed back in 2013 that “It does not look like a police uniform. It is merely a high visibility jacket, so it would not be illegal.”

Despite appealing against the conviction, the damage had been done

Emanuel successfully appealed the conviction two weeks later, but the damage was already done. Following his appeal, Emanuel took out a libel case against the newspapers and websites he says it defamed him, which was later settled out of court, however, many of those publications have refused to print corrections, and Emanuel says he remains out of pocket.

He expressed: “While these items of clothing are perfectly legal, wearing one caused me a great deal of trouble, anxiety, expense, loss of my home and loss of work’.

If you need legal assistance with a motorcycle offence, contact SorryMate today and discover how we can help

Filtering Questions

Common motorcycle filtering accidents

Let’s honest, we all do it – some of us carefully, others a little less so. As far as we are concerned filtering is the norm, though car drivers appear to have a different view. But what happens if a car pulls out from a side road or simply turns right and bang? Well, let’s take the most common two scenarios and dive a little deeper into the issue.

Scenario one: There is a junction to the left-hand side

You have come down the middle of two lanes of traffic. There is a junction to your left, you can’t see it, but there are two cars stopped with a gap between them and the traffic in front. You approach this gap and as you pass the cars, out pops a car from the junction across you and into a collision. Off you come and the bike slides into the car. Ouch! Whose fault is this one?


The rules are based on cases that have been before the courts in the past. In this scenario, the insurance companies have a favourite case called Powell v Moody. This is where the biker was made 80 per cent responsible. As a result, he only got 20 per cent of what his claim was worth. However, times have changed since then. It’s important that bikers do not accept this kind of response. One of the lawyers which SorryMate uses got 100 per cent for the biker in a London court last year. Every case is different so, while you will normally carry some fault, it should rarely, if ever, be 80 per cent. 

Scenario Two: Filtering past a line of traffic

You are travelling past a line of traffic and Mr (I’m a car driver so don’t have to look) turns right without indicating. The biker has a better chance here of 100 per cent. If you are doing 30mph and clearly not paying attention then obviously you will carry some blame, but if you are being careful then it’s important to defend yourself.


But what if the driver indicated and you did not see it? Did you know that you still have a claim? In this instance, you may not get 100 per cent of the payout. However, at the end of the day, indicating does not give the driver a clear road. You will both be to blame, subject to things like where his car was in the line of traffic, was it to the left and so hiding the indicator from you, was it far ahead of you so you had time to see it.


In all the above scenarios you can ask lots of people for their views and for everyone you ask you will get a different opinion. There are many facts that can decide who is to blame. So, as ever, get good advice. If you’re looking for free legal advice on your motorcycle accident, whether this occurred through filtering or not, don’t hesitate to contact SorryMate today!

If you’re looking for more information on filtering, don’t forget to check out our other article on 5 things you didn’t know about motorcycle filtering.

Fergus Dalgarno, sorrymate.com