A dispassionate view:
Here's my two penn'orth....
Having read the comments posted about this story, I have to say that I agree with them all... in part at least. Some however are a little more "passionate" than others.
I have tried to take an objective view and it is clear to me that there are obvious mitigating and aggravating factors. There are also the unknowns, such as the rider's experience and actual ability etc.
Dealing with the mitigation first. From what I saw of the footage on TV, the section of road where this occurred appeared to be very wide, straight and open. I recall the reporter making a comment about "if someone had pulled out..." but I do not recall seeing any junctions from where this was lkely. The traffic conditions were light and the rider obviously had his headlight on, making him more conspicuous to other road users.
Now the aggravating factors. The weather conditions were wet and therefore visibility was necessarily reduced by spray, the rain itself and lower light levels associated with it. And of course, he was carrying an inadequately protected pillion passenger - his own son. It is absolutely true that there is no requirement in law to be protected, besides the use of a helmet. Would I have taken my son on my bike at that speed, unprotected? Absolutely not. However, whilst I personally believe he was irresponsible in this regard, it was his decision and I doubt his son was a pillion against his will! If an unforeseen event had occurred, I think it highly likely an accident would have occurred, but it didn't.
The fact is that this guy WAS exceeding the speed limit, and substantially so. Whilst the film footage creates the impression that the speed wasn't that great, the tapography of a wide open road can create exeactly that illusion on film. I have no reason to doubt the speed recorded wasn't accurate. (The cross on the picture is simply the centre of the filmed image and laser speed detection does not require a flat surface, just a solid one off which the distance and relative time can be calculated, thus giving the speed.)
Furthermore, I don't personally have issue with the police. After all, the operator, who may well have been a civilian anyway, is employed to detect speeding offences. That's exactly what he was doing. Unfortunately, the rider, as we all do, knew that if he wee to get caught, prosecution may well follow, with various consequences depending on severity, if convicted.
Excessive speed IS a political hot potato and I agree that there is an absolute presupposition by the authorites that all accidents are speed related. They are not, but this is the driving factor in the constant reduction in speed limits and the siting of speed cameras.
And so to the conviction. I think the guy was guilty of exceeding the speed limit, but the punishment? That's the real question. Was anyone hurt as a result? No. Was anyone even inconvenienced? No. If I was to get caught speeding (for a second time!) would I expect to be punished for it? Yes, I would. Would I have been doing that sort of speed? Probably not. Would I expect to go to prison if I were? No.
I agree totally with the comments about the sentence being too harsh. Prison ought to be for the criminals, but invariably, they get 'community sentences' instead, and if they do go to prison, they won't werve their whole sentence. The law caters very well for speeding offences - fines, disqualification, but prison? Wholly inappropriate.
Can someone help me down off my soap box please.....?