2010-01-22 Cluttered Thinking
Seems Dorset County Council have decided that it would be a good idea to save money by using just one post for both a bus stop sign and a speed limit sign at Mill Cottages on Ulwell Road in Swanage. They appear to have stuck a bus stop sign on top of an existing speed limit sign post.
There are a number of reasons why this represents an act of gross stupidity:
You cannot see speed limit signs if they are hidden by a bloody great bus!
There is enough sign clutter as it is without making speed limits signs even more difficult to see. Apart from people not seeing the speed limit sign because it might initially be perceived as a bus stop sign, there is the issue of people standing at the bus stop distracting attention from the sign. Yet councils tell us they are concerned about road safety!
Why does the speed limit start at a bus stop? (or why have a bus stop at the start of a speed limit?) The speed limit should start before the bus stop, or nowhere near it. Starting it at a bus stop, when pedestrians might be expected to cross the road in the vicinity of the bus stop, makes no sense at all.
A quick check of Google maps shows that the sign is located just AFTER a house and driveway! (You can see the shadow of the original speed limit signn on the kerb where the driveway starts — the bus stop marker is not accurately positioned) So if they are going to have a speed limit, why not start it BEFORE the house?
Speed Cameras Drive Police Paranoia
Police officers jumped into a van and followed a driver to his place of work, and fined him £30 after witnessing a crime.
The crime? Giving a thumbs up sign, and beeping his horn, as he passed a speed camera van.
The driver? A 47 year old council highways officer.
So next time you see a speed camera van, we suggest you stop somewhere safe and legal, get out of your car, smile pleasantly, and give them a round of applause instead. We don't think that's illegal — but be careful you don't stand on the cracks in the pavement...
Peter Middleton's experience with speed enforcement on Ulwell Road :
Money Money Money
In just two years, the Dorset Speed Camera racket has extorted £5.4 million from drivers.
But Was It Legal?
In yet another speed camera related fiasco caused by police incompetence, every speed camera prosecution in Dorset since 1991 may have been illegal. A solicitor whom the pratnership tried to prosecute found that the form they were using did not comply with legal requirements, and his case was thrown out by a judge. The case may have ramifications for every other driver illegally prosecuted by Dorset Police, who could be facing a massive compensation bill.
If you have been so prosecuted, we advise you to contact a solicitor. See the SafeSpeed press release for details of the solicitors dealing with the original case.
A Talivan parked on double yellow lines at a bus stop in Weymouth.
A mini Gatso beneath a direction sign on the A37.
A well hidden speed trap on the A348 in Bournemouth.
Serious Injuries (1:4)
Slight Injuries (1:30)
Source: National Statistics —
Road Casualties in Great Britain.
Temper Temper. Talivan operators in Dorset are obviously having a stressful time.
This Talivan was snapped by a member of the public parked on double yellow lines at a bus stop on Chickerell Road in Weymouth between Pye Hill and the railway bridge. When the operator was asked where the speed camera warning signs — which are required by law — were located, the operator responded with the words "Sod Off!".
And with these immortal words, Ladies and Gentlemen, we must announce with great sadness that the days of the good old British bobby who trod his beat with the consent of the public are consigned to the history books. Now we have arrogant discourteous unaccountable bureaucrats who couldn't care less about the law, common sense, or the relationship between the police and the public.
So Much For High Visibility Speed Traps
Police guidelines clearly say that all speed traps must be clearly visible.
Dorset Police either haven't read these guidelines, or couldn't care less.
The first photo right shows a mini Gatso (black) placed beneath the direction sign on the left. This is a junction on the A37. With all the other street furniture, drivers are highly unlikely to perceive what this is. The van that is supposed to be 'clearly visible' is hiding up the side road.
The second photo shows a radar trap set up on the A348 Ringwood Road near Bear Cross in Bournemouth (map) in December 2004.
Black and barely noticeable, it is connected by wires to a van which is completely hidden behind a bush.
This section of road has a 40mph speed limit, which is clearly absurd as there are no properties bordering on the road, a flaming great hedge along the central reservation to physically prevent pedestrians crossing the road, and a flaming great bridge to allow pedestrians to get from one side of the road to the other.
Such petty enforcement of barmy speed limits serves only to incite contempt for speed limits and contempt for the police.
Utter failure of speed obsession in Dorset.
Dorset is well and truly gripped by anti-speed hysteria. The county seems obsessed with lowering speed lmits and obsessed with speed cameras. Local newspapers appear to have a bias against drivers, and report endless calls for lower speed limits, traffic calming and speed cameras. Though whether this apparent bias is cause or effect, is uncertain. The safety camera pratnership, launched in August 2002, pump out twaddle about speed being the 'major cause' of accidents (what happened to the usual one third lie then?).
Yet the facts speak volumes about the complete and utter failure of this obsession.
Fatalities in Dorset have increased despite — or more likely because of — this single-minded fanatical obsession with speed cameras and speed limit reductions.
The failure of the police and local authorities to focus on the real causes of accidents resulted in an appalling 54% increase in fatal accidents in 2002.
In 2002 casualties in all categories were at their worst level for six years.
The number of fatalities in 2003 and 2004 remains higher than in the five years prior to cameras being installed.
Despite these appalling results the safety camera partnership still try to claim that their cameras have reduced accidents in their vicinity. They are using the well known trick of claiming credit for reductions that would have happened anyway. It's simple — one or two bad accidents occur on a road, they later put in a camera, the next year there are no accidents, and they claim the credit. The fact is there wouldn't have been any accidents anyway — the one or two bad ones were just random occurances. The camera has made no difference whatsoever, a garden gnome would have achieved the same result.
They know this full well, but believe the public is too naive to see through their trickery. The fools continue to blow their own trumpet and rake in the cash from drivers whilst accidents across the county continue to go up.
The Worst Road Network in England?
Dorset has no motorways, and very few dual carriageways, indeed its road network has to be one of the worst of any English county. Even when the Dorchester bypass was built in the late 80s, the government didn't have the sense to make it a dual carriageway. The woefully inadequate roads greatly contribute to accidents. Apart from numerous local improvements, the ABD would like to see the M27 extended to become a south coast motorway running from the Channel Tunnel to Cornwall (PR324). This would cross Dorset from East to West and take through traffic away from narrow roads and villages.
Their idea of the Engineering part of the 3 E's is described as "An improved route to the engineering aspect, ensuring the best use of camera technology by intelligence and analysis targeting of casualty hot spots." Duuuugh. Somebody tell them that engineering is supposed to be about improving the roads — not abusing technology to persecute drivers. No wonder accidents are increasing if even the police don't understand what road engineering is about.