Road Safety Support expert proves
motorcyclists were riding at almost
A Road Safety Support forensic engineer with expert knowledge of speed measurements helped to bring three motorcyclists to justice after they were caught on video travelling at almost 200mph.
Steve Callaghan, Road Safety Support's Technical Manager, worked with Sussex Police using expert techniques to prove that the trio were riding at such reckless speeds.
Shocking video footage of the offences, which also included undertaking and wheelies, has been released by the force in a bid to raise awareness of the real risks associated with dangerous driving.
It was obtained by police following several reports of dangerous driving and a road traffic collision in East Sussex on the afternoon of 20 April.
One of the motorcyclists was identified as Thomas Ettridge, whose GoPro camera – which had been attached to his helmet – was seized to establish if any offences had been recorded.
The footage revealed a large number of motorcyclists in convoy between Kent and Sussex, and from this investigators were able to identify three riders in Sussex – Ettridge, Thomas Hayden and Matthew McLaven.
Ettridge captures himself overtaking other vehicles well in excess of the speed limit on several occasions on the A21 from Kent into Sussex, including an indicated speed of 190mph in a 70mph zone at one point.
He also performs a wheelie at 80mph in a 40mph zone, and contravenes a double white line on a number of occasions, including overtaking an articulated lorry on approach to a right-hand bend.
He continues south on the A21 into Hastings, where he again reaches speeds up to 130mph in a 40mph zone congested with traffic, before passing on the wrong side of a ‘keep left’ bollard into the path of oncoming cars.
Ettridge’s GoPro also captures Hayden performing two wheelies in Hastings, one of which continues for approximately 170 metres at around 70mph in a 30mph zone. Further to this, Hayden undertakes a moving taxi within the zig-zag approach to a zebra crossing.
The head cam also captures McLaven following Ettridge throughout the journey, appearing to match his speed as they overtake a long line of moving traffic and contravene the double white lines.
All three defendants were subsequently reported for summons to face a charge of dangerous driving. In police interview, they each admitted the manner of their riding fell far below the standard of a careful and competent motorist, and they showed remorse for their actions. They each pleaded guilty and were convicted at Hove Crown Court on Wednesday 20 November.
Ettridge, 26, of New Road, Dartford, Kent, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 29 months from the date of release.
Hayden, 26, of High Grove, Greenwich, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 27 months from the date of release.
McLaven, 28, of Farnham Road, Welling, Kent, was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified from driving for 24 months. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
The three defendants will be required to undertake an extended re-test should they wish to drive again.
PC Chris Welsh, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said “This has been a shocking investigation into some of the fastest and most dangerous motorcycling I have ever come across.
“The speeds and general aggressive manner of the riding identified are simply ridiculous and leave no room for error should the slightest of issues have occurred.
“Not only are the riders risking their own lives, but also those of the other road users around them throughout these journeys.
“This sentencing should act as a stark reminder of the consequences of such behaviour on the roads in Sussex.
“We will not tolerate dangerous driving by any motorist on our roads, and anyone caught committing such offences will be investigated and dealt with robustly.”
Sussex Police is a member of Road Safety Support, which provided expert technical advice in relation to this investigation.
Steve Callaghan, Technical Manager, at Road Safety Support said: “The Sussex Police investigators did a great job in this case and we were very pleased to provide our expert assistance to prove that these individuals were riding at such reckless speeds.”