Sped under the limit: Police



POLICE labelled Michael Rideout a street racer after he took off too quickly from Rockhampton traffic lights in his grandfather's 1989 Pajero.

But he never broke the speed limit.

He didn't go over 60kmh in a 60kmh zone, but the car was still seized for 48 hours.

So what did he do wrong?

The question of just how quickly drivers can accelerate from a green light was bandied around the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Rideout, 18, was defending charges of street racing and making unnecessary smoke after off-duty police Constable Adam Saunders observed what he believed was a street race last October.

Constable Saunders said he had seen Rideout and another driver revving their engines at the traffic lights on Musgrave Street and Moores Creek Road.

He said the pair had been looking at each other, taken off quickly, stayed level, then stopped accelerating about the same time.

Constable Saunders said he had watched the pair "race'' away from two separate traffic lights and seen Rideout's wheels spin.

He estimated the pair had taken off so quickly they had put a gap of 50m between them and him.

Rideout disputed the claim, claiming Constable Saunders had been watching them so closely he had not noticed the lights change and had sat at the lights for a few seconds.

"Are you saying he (Constable Saunders) could look in four directions at once?'' Rideout said to police prose- cutor Darrell Dalton, who conceded there may have been a "short delay''.

Constable Saunders said his street-racing suspicions were confirmed the next day, when he and two other officers spoke with Rideout.

He said Rideout admitted he and friends had considered a "first to 60'' race but had decided against it.

"There may have been a plan, but as far as I'm aware, it's not an offence to have a thought about a crime in this State,'' defence solicitor David Mills said.



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