A MOTORCYCLE rider from Dartford has been banned from the road for nearly four years after footage from his helmet-mounted video camera showed him riding at more than double the speed limit.
Sussex Police said Thomas Ettridge, 26, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to committing a number of driving offences that were caught on camera. These ranged from overtaking traffic by crossing over double white lines, to performing a wheelie at 80mph in a 40mph zone near Hastings.
One of his most reckless stunts occurred on a stretch of the A21 dual carriageway near Kent. Footage released by the force shows Ettridge’s dangerous high speed blast saw the rider reach speeds of up to 180mph — more than two and a half times the road’s 70mph speed limit.
Ettridge will now serve a 10-month prison sentence and is banned from driving for 29 months after release. He won’t be able to ride a motorbike on the public road until he’s passed another riding test.
Sussex Police wasn’t just able to prosecute one dangerous rider using Ettridge’s helmet cam: the force said a “large number of motorcycles in convoy” were caught on camera, and the cops used the footage to identify two of them breaking the law.
One rider, identified by law enforcement as Thomas Hayden, 26, from Greenwich, was filmed overtaking traffic on the inside at a level crossing and performing a wheelie at 70mph in a 30mph zone. The other, confirmed as Matthew McLaven, 28, from Welling in Kent, was recorded exceeding speed limits and crossing double white lines.
Hayden now faces a six-month prison sentence and a driving ban of 27 months, with McLaven’s punishment being mildly more lenient with a four-month jail term and a 24 months disqualifications. Like Ettridge, both riders will need to pass their motorcycle tests again before being let back onto the public road.
When sentencing the trio in court, His Honour Judge Mooney described the motorcyclists’ actions as “colossally stupid and massively selfish” and said it was “nothing more than good fortune that you were not killed or injured”.
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.”
This isn’t the first time a motorcycle rider with a potentially life-threatening need for speed has been convicted using footage from their own helmet cameras. In July 2018, Hampshire Police were able to successfully charge and prosecute a teenage rider from Southampton with multiple speeding offences (including a 120mph blast along the M4 motorway) after seizing his GoPro helmet cam that recorded his illegal antics.