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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:43 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 06:46
Posts: 16903
Location: Safe Speed
This topic relates to the Safe Speed page: "Cameras".

The Safe Speed page explores the reasons why all the cameras must go, and go soon.

Paul Smith
Our scrap speed cameras petition got over 28,000 sigs
The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 14:40 

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 00:24
Posts: 2400
Location: Kendal, Cumbria
I couldn't agree more!

Until recently, I believed that there was a place for cameras, but with each passing day I feel more strongly that this is not the case. Here are a couple of "case studies":

A typical argument that I was in favour of 12 months ago was that a camera would be appropriate next to a school crossing. Now I don't think so any more, and the simple answer is complacency:

We used to teach children to cross the road safely, indeed to fear traffic. But these days the emphasis seems to have shifted towards speed enforcement as the primary tool to prevent children getting knocked down. If we put a camera at a school crossing we are sending out the message that it is safe to cross as traffic will all travel slowly. So children may well now run an increased risk, because they will no longer be looking for the rogue driver that isn't paying attention to the camera.

Complacency x 2
If that isn't bad enough, not only does the camera make no real contribution, but it also leads us into complacently thinking that we have addressed the safety issue. Is there now any need to consider possible engineering work at the crossing? Does it replace the lollipop man?

Meanwhile, another bright idea that has been put forward by our local Scamera people is to reduce the speed limit at a particularly notorious local junction, which is on a currently de-restricted dual carriageway. Assuming that this limit would then need camera enforcement, then what would be the result?

According to their own surveys, the site currently has an 85th centile speed of just over 50mph. So the image they protray of speeding drivers causing accidents isn't really the case - the vast majority of drivers are already slowing to about 20mph slower than the limit in anticipation of the hazardous nature of the sideroad exit. It appears that the typical accident there is caused by people leaving the side road and failing to judge the speed of approaching traffic, yet we know that most approaching drivers are actually travelling slower than might be expected.

Complacency x 3!
So if they reduce the limit to 50mph and install a camera what effect will this have? Virtually no effect on speed, as most drivers are already doing less than their enforcement threshold of 57mph. The only change is that drivers leaving the side road will assume traffic is going slower than they might otherwise have thought. So will they be more or less likely to pull out?

Of, and of course, it will shove any plans for a proper engineered solution to the bottom of the pile.

No, it seems to me that wherever I see an apparently sensible camera application, a little deeper analysis soon shows this to be a superficial illusion. They need to go! All of them!

 Post subject: Cameras
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 21:47 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 21:24
Posts: 4
Location: shropshire
I absolutely agree with you.

I frankly enjoy driving quickly and take pleasure in the high level of concentration necessary to do so safely. Conversely I find that my concentration wanders badly at low speeds on well engineered and quiet roads so I must confess that that I pay scant attention to speed limits when they are manifestly inappropriate to particular times of the day, road types, traffic volumes and weather. The sad consequence of my wildly politically incorrect and cavalier attitude is that whereas 10 years ago, 100% of my concentration was on the road, these days I am dividing my attention between driving with a great deal of care and what little skill I have accumulated from 35 years experience and scanning every hedgerow, gantry, layby and bridge for all these wretched cameras.

I cannot think, offhand, of a bigger and more lethally dangerous distraction than the "safety" camera.

I realise that I must be an antisocial drone by only obeying speed restrictions when they make some sort of sense but I am afraid that is the way I am! Incidentally, I have the good fortune to drive not just a very fast car but also one that, by virtue of out of the ordinary roadholding and braking ability, is a very safe one.......always provided one is looking at the road........

Mr Smith, may I congratulate you not only on your very fine and scientifically pursuasive site but also the remarkable success of your singlehanded campaign in such a short time. Not many people would have so rattled that self-satisfied Brunstrom chap so effectively!

Best wishes


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