I’ve been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I’m insane
-Billy Joel, “You May Be Right”
As a child, Sunday afternoons with my father usually involved little more excitement than riding in his dented Mercedes as he sung a particularly filthy version of “Barnacle Bill the Sailor.” But if you’re the 14-year-old son of 47-year-old Barnstaple, U.K. resident Robert Bennett, a day with dad is a little more exciting.
Last April, Bennett blasted past a speed camera on his Suzuki Hayabusa at about 122 mph with the kid clinging – glove-less and wearing street clothing – to his back. As this occurred in England, it was raining and the pavement was slick as Bennett blasted past a traffic cop, downshifting for an upcoming turn. The cop turned on the speed camera and caught the deed on video.
Authorities traced the bike’s registration to the divorced cleaning supervisor and hauled him into court, where he was sentenced to six months in jail and an 18-month driving ban. A harsh penalty for showing off for your kid, but motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise in the U.K., as they have in the USA, and Judge Phillip Wassall said he had to “send out a message to others.”