May 18, 2004

Why I find it difficult to comment on the government's speed fine proposals

Patrick Crozier | Road Safety

I see speed cameras are once again in the news. This time because the government is proposing to change the fines applied to those caught by them. I find it very difficult to comment on stories like this:

  1. because this issue is not about speed cameras but speed limits
  2. Because I want to see private roads which set their own speed limits
  3. Because the issue of speed limits is predicated on the idea that safety is paramount. This isn't true.
  4. Because the assumption is that speed limits make the world a safer place. This is also doubtful.
In other words, I disagree with just about all the assumptions on which this proposal is based.

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Comments

Ah, but "Speed Kills" is such a useful mantra - it saves people having to think.

Posted by Mark Ellott on May 18, 2004

Surprisingly, in the USA, Boston has the safest roads. Not because the roads are safe, but because there is so much congestion people can't get up to speed to kill themselves.

In other news, the Autobahn in Germany does not have a speed limit on many stretches of road, and the accident rate is lower than that of interstate highways in the USA.

Posted by Terry on May 18, 2004

Yep lets hope the crappy road lobbey fools the government into more concerete building. In the end the whole country will be one big carpark. All in the aid of convinence. It's funny but eveything in this world claims to make life easier. But for eveyone that life is made easier someone else has to suffer. i.e tesco open 24 hours someone has to work that. You only need to open up a paper to see what state the world is in. When will people ever learn. I suppose when it is too late!

Posted by Amir on May 18, 2004

When I build my private roadway, I'll put in dynamic "recommended pace" markers, not speed limits. They would use pavement sensors to adjust the signs to the prevailing speed of traffic during all weather conditions and give infrequent users an idea of what the least disruptive speed to travel is.

The state has no business monopolizing road space and then pestering the hell out of us deciding how fast we should be permitted to travel on it.

Posted by Jay on May 18, 2004

What tends to be forgotten in this rather one sided 'debate' is that an awful lot of the speed cameras are lobbied for by the people living near the roads.

True, this is partly safety related in that people don't like their children being killed on the way to school but in most case it is simply residents protecting their environment.

If you have an industrial plant next to your house, you'd expect government to legislate to minimise the noise, fumes, vibration etc. Speed limits are part of the environmental protection for areas near roads. (Remember that technology can make emissions cleaner but can't make a stream of one tonne lumps of metal any more pleasant to stand next to).

If your proposed private road is in the middle of nowhere, segragates and impacts no communities then fine, I'll go along with the no limits idea. In the UK, there's not much scope for these type of developments. Motorways fill some of the criteria for some of their length.

As for speed cameras, they're as you say a distraction to the debate which should be speed limits. Round here there's continuous demand from resident's for lower speed limits but I have yet to hear of a *single* request that a limit be raised.

Posted by Not Responding on May 18, 2004

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