A councillor in Devon who said in June that cyclists riding at 30mph were more alarming than motorists driving at 50mph has answered claims that he was caught speeding on Dartmoor by a member of a Speedwatch group that he himself set up and runs.
Footage posted to the Dartmoor Forest Speedwatch public group on Facebook, and shot (illegally) by a driver using a handheld mobile phone, claims to show a van apparently belonging to Gregg Manning, a Dartmoor Forest Parish Councillor, apparently exceeding the speed limit.
It was posted to the group earlier this month with the comment, “Well [Gregg] Manning you'll have to give yourself a speeding letter for doing over 50 you naughty man,” and caused no small amount of mirth among a number of the group’s members.
One asked Manning, “Is that your car? To be fair I feel you slightly slowed down overtaking the bike as the following car caught up with you for that manoeuvre, so perhaps you went past the cyclist at 40(?)
“Prior to that you are clearly doing over the speed limit as the speed flashes red at your car.”
Asked further down the thread, “Where is the Gregg ‘it wasn't me it was the auto cruise’ post gone?” Manning posted a reply in which he neither confirmed nor denied that the van was his and suggested the police should be allowed to examine the video.
“Someone commented about cruise not holding up in court and of course they are completely correct, it is the driver that is in control of the car,” he wrote.
“So with that in mind let’s just look at what we have here as facts. Well we have a vehicle in the distance which may be mine, but it is just a grey van we cannot even see the make let alone the index plate, then we have a fact, by his own admission the driver taking the video is speeding as we can see from his own video, although in fairness we cannot really see the speed, to me it looks in the mid to high 40's, but of course his speedo will not be calibrated and usually will read high.
“This vehicle is catching the vehicle in front. When that vehicle overtakes the cycle we do not see brake lights so clearly the following vehicle is catching it. You may be right it might be my vehicle but I have to say I am more than happy for you to submit this video to the police and let them decide.”
In June, speaking on behalf of the Dartmoor Forest Speedwatch Group, Manning said that volunteers monitoring speeding drivers at a bus stop caught five out of 53 motorists speeding in a 40mph zone, with one driving at 50mph.
“What was perhaps more alarming were the cyclists who on average came past the bus stop at between 30 to 35mph,” he continued.
“With a rider weighing perhaps 12 stone travelling at 35mph, with the bike as well, the combined impact that would have on a pedestrian would cause serious injuries or even death.
“I really think it’s about time something was done about this group of people who seem to be invisible to the authorities but pose a very real danger on the road.”
He accepted that the cyclists were not doing anything illegal, “but when you watch them come through the village and over the narrow crossing point going as fast as they possibly can it is very dangerous if a pedestrian crosses.”
He added: “What is even worse is that unlike bikers who wear protective clothing, these riders wear the thinnest of material with lots of bare flesh. Bare flesh and tarmac do not mix.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.