Are speed cameras too conspicuous?

py_megapixel

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Eh? Driving at the intended speed limit is worse than tailgating and sounding the horn?
I don't understand what you're talking about.

The ideal situation would be for everyone to drive at the lower of the maximum speed limit and the maximum safe speed permitted by the road conditions. However, reactions aren't instant and humans are not perfect at judging, so it's necessary to leave a margin of error.

The point I am making is that some drivers will judge the maximum safe speed, or the required margin of error, to be slightly different to others. For this reason, I am suggesting that it is not acceptable to tailgate and sound the horn at a driver who is a few mph below the speed limit, and those who do are either complete morons or haven't planned enough time for their journey.

What is the point of 20mph limits on main roads? Part of the A217 near Mitcham is a dual carriageway, but has a 20 mph limit, which few seem to comply with. If it is to reduce the number of people injured on the roads, are there any before-and-after data setting out whether this objective has been achieved?
Quite often where a speed limit seems needlessly low in an urban area it is for noise/pollution control (which I believe explains quite a few of the seemingly pointless 50 zones on motorways)
or to create a more pleasant environment for cycling or walking. That's a win in my view.
 
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Darandio

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I don't understand what you're talking about.

Then i'm baffled, as this is exactly what you said.

I can see your point. But people who tailgate and honk at people driving at 37 in a 40 zone - or, worse, driving at 40 in a 40 zone - really need to consider whether they've allowed enough time for their journey or not.

Which suggests that someone doing 40 in a 40 zone is worse than those who tailgate and sound the horn. I do 40 in a 40 zone where traffic and conditions allow because it's the speed limit, not because I haven't planned enough time for my journey.
 

py_megapixel

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Which suggests that someone doing 40 in a 40 zone is worse than those who tailgate and sound the horn. I do 40 in a 40 zone where traffic and conditions allow because it's the speed limit, not because I haven't planned enough time for my journey.
Sorry, I now see that my original sentence was a little ambiguous... here's what I actually meant:

I can see your point. But people who tailgate and honk at people driving at 37 in a 40 zone - or, worse, people who tailgate and honk at people driving at 40 in a 40 zone - really need to consider whether they've allowed enough time for their journey or not.
 

Bletchleyite

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This is a railway forum. On the railways almost no people are killed, in some years no passengers are killed. I think that zero deaths on the road should be striven for too. Do others agree?

It's just not possible unless you ban cars. And even then you'd get the odd person falling off a bike in unfortunate circumstances, or something. The railway is a much more controlled environment, so it is possible - air travel likewise.

FWIW, and I know it's not a popular view here, I think the railway actually can be too safety-oriented. More lives would be saved by reducing fares and improving services so as to get people out of dangerous cars than spending huge sums of money chasing that elusive zero.
 

Darandio

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Sorry, I now see that my original sentence was a little ambiguous... here's what I actually meant:

I can see your point. But people who tailgate and honk at people driving at 37 in a 40 zone - or, worse, people who tailgate and honk at people driving at 40 in a 40 zone - really need to consider whether they've allowed enough time for their journey or not.

Got it now, honking at 40 is worse. In which case we are in complete agreement!
 

cactustwirly

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I don't understand what you're talking about.

The ideal situation would be for everyone to drive at the lower of the maximum speed limit and the maximum safe speed permitted by the road conditions. However, reactions aren't instant and humans are not perfect at judging, so it's necessary to leave a margin of error.

The point I am making is that some drivers will judge the maximum safe speed, or the required margin of error, to be slightly different to others. For this reason, I am suggesting that it is not acceptable to tailgate and sound the horn at a driver who is a few mph below the speed limit, and those who do are either complete morons or haven't planned enough time for their journey.


Quite often where a speed limit seems needlessly low in an urban area it is for noise/pollution control (which I believe explains quite a few of the seemingly pointless 50 zones on motorways)
or to create a more pleasant environment for cycling or walking. That's a win in my view.

But there are idiots who do 30 or 40 mph on a NSL road, which is more dangerous than doing 60 mph in reasonable conditions.
 

MotCO

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Quite often where a speed limit seems needlessly low in an urban area it is for noise/pollution control (which I believe explains quite a few of the seemingly pointless 50 zones on motorways)
or to create a more pleasant environment for cycling or walking. That's a win in my view.

But cars travelling faster through an area would cause less time when the noise is evident, and cars travelling at 30mph in 4th gear are probably more efficient (and less polluting) than cars going at 20mph in 3rd. Aso, the stretch of road I referred to has traffic lights at either end, so the reduction in pollution is probably insignificant.
 

jamesheet49

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What is the point of 20mph limits on main roads? Part of the A217 near Mitcham is a dual carriageway, but has a 20 mph limit, which few seem to comply with. If it is to reduce the number of people injured on the roads, are there any before-and-after data setting out whether this objective has been achieved?

The dual-carriageway aspect is irrelevant. Merton has a blanket 20 mph limit. If you disagree with the 20 mph limit on principle, then fair enough, but if you have a 20 mph on almost every other road in the borough then there's no real reason for a small section of road to be excluded if the reason for the 20 mph limit is the same on that road and in that area as the rest of the borough.
 

ABB125

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Do people actually do that any more? I don't see it anywhere near as much as I used to; when I first started driving there was always considerable pressure to do about 10 over, not any more.
I don't think I've ever come across it in the (admittedly short) time I've been driving. Although that may be because I can only think of one 40 zone off the top of my head near where I live (well, before I went to university at least!).
 

Domh245

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The dual-carriageway aspect is irrelevant. Merton has a blanket 20 mph limit. If you disagree with the 20 mph limit on principle, then fair enough, but if you have a 20 mph on almost every other road in the borough then there's no real reason for a small section of road to be excluded if the reason for the 20 mph limit is the same on that road and in that area as the rest of the borough.

Being all too familiar with the road in question, this is the right(ish) answer. The rest of the post doesn't quite follow though - there are functionally very similar roads within Merton's boundaries that are TfL controlled and these have 30 and 40mph limits (A24 and A297 St Helier Avenue respectively) - from the road users point of view, the 20mph limit on the A217 just feels like political wrangling and rules for rules sake

9 out of 10 times though it's "about right" as it is often quite slow moving (particularly as a result of the traffic lights and closure of the main road forcing everyone on a detour via Morden road, to my annoyance) but the 1/10 times (which is when I tend to use it these days!) it does feel painfully slow to chug along at 20mph
 

LSWR Cavalier

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1870* people died in road 'accidents' in the UK in 2019, more than in 2018!
* only includes those dying within 30 days of an 'accident', not to mention those permanently disabled, misery of bereavement etc

Obviously many more hidden cameras, lower maximum speed limits, much more enforcement generally are needed

If the cops started taking enforcement seriously deaths could soon be halved and halved again

To answer the question: yes, they are too conspicuous!
 

cactustwirly

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1870* people died in road 'accidents' in the UK in 2019, more than in 2018!
* only includes those dying within 30 days of an 'accident', not to mention those permanently disabled, misery of bereavement etc

Obviously many more hidden cameras, lower maximum speed limits, much more enforcement generally are needed

If the cops started taking enforcement seriously deaths could soon be halved and halved again

To answer the question: yes, they are too conspicuous!

You're making a big assumption that deaths are due to speeding. There are a lot of other factors not just speed.
 

dakta

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I don't have a problem with speed cameras being highly visible - they encourage you to slow down, and apart from the odd instance they do that. Without having cameras everywhere (not something I'd want anyway) it's a step in the right direction even if not a comprehensive solution to the speed problem.

TBH whilst speed can be a major part of some incidents, and an exaggerating factor in many others - I've always felt police have picked on speed a bit much. I know why - breaking the speed limit or not is binary, where poor driving practice is far more woolly.

But IMHO the biggest threat to me on the road are people who drive too close, and other things that a police car if passing wouldn't really bother with. Someone doing 35 in a 30 zone is probably a fraction of the threat than someone who is driving legally but not concentrating, or driving too close, or not indicating, intentionally using wrong lane on entering a roundabout to gain advantage etc.

I did once come to the conclusion that drivers are generally good and competent at operating their car (even the speeding ones) but generally quite poor at judging the whole picture, i.e the impact on others and their own decisions which can create risk.
 
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the sniper

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This is a railway forum. On the railways almost no people are killed, in some years no passengers are killed. I think that zero deaths on the road should be striven for too. Do others agree?

If aiming to travel at the maximum limit there is a risk of exceeding it, breaking the law. The experts should IMHO advise keeping comfortably inside the maximum limit

'Sticking to the limit' is an inappropriate phrase. I know what happens if I go a few pence over my overdraft limit, so I make sure to keep comfortably inside it
I do the same when driving

Given how onerous restrictions would have to be to protect the worst drivers or computers from killing themselves or anyone else, you might as well ban all vehicles from the roads, as that'd be the only way to get near to zero deaths. The ban will have to include cyclists too, as, shock horror, they'll still face considerable risk of death or injury to themselves by falling off their contraption.

Even if you were to set a 5mph limit everywhere and have a person with a flag person walking ahead of each car, 'safe as houses' old Fred playing it safe at 3mph (5mph not a target!) would still managed to knock down his flag man somehow or fall out and run himself over. Meanwhile, those of us who survived life having having taken a sporting but respectful interpretation of speed limits, actually paying far more attention to the road then those who righteously cruised along at half the speed limit, half asleep, with a queue of cars behind them, will have been driven to suicide by those restrictions! Mental health is so important nowadays. ;)

I don't have a problem with speed cameras being highly visible - they encourage you to slow down, and apart from the odd instance they do that. Without having cameras everywhere (not something I'd want anyway) it's a step in the right direction even if not a comprehensive solution to the speed problem.

TBH whilst speed can be a major part of some incidents, and an exaggerating factor in many others - I've always felt police have picked on speed a bit much. I know why - breaking the speed limit or not is binary, where poor driving practice is far more woolly.

But IMHO the biggest threat to me on the road are people who drive too close, and other things that a police car if passing wouldn't really bother with. Someone doing 35 in a 30 zone is probably a fraction of the threat than someone who is driving legally but not concentrating, or driving too close, or not indicating, intentionally using wrong lane on entering a roundabout to gain advantage etc.

I did once come to the conclusion that drivers are generally good and competent at operating their car (even the speeding ones) but generally quite poor at judging the whole picture, i.e the impact on others and their own decisions which can create risk.

Completely agree. Though that's why most Police forces only prosecute when over a certain threshold (such as Limit+10%+2mph), they're not normally zealots. There are far bigger issues on the road but they're harder to Police. The idea that someone is a good driver just because they observe speed limits is a notion that shouldn't be supported, there's far more to driving safely than that. Focusing on speed is almost a distraction, in various senses.
 
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MotCO

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Will compliance improve when most cars are fitted with ISA?
ISA?

Being all too familiar with the road in question, this is the right(ish) answer. The rest of the post doesn't quite follow though - there are functionally very similar roads within Merton's boundaries that are TfL controlled and these have 30 and 40mph limits (A24 and A297 St Helier Avenue respectively) - from the road users point of view, the 20mph limit on the A217 just feels like political wrangling and rules for rules sake

9 out of 10 times though it's "about right" as it is often quite slow moving (particularly as a result of the traffic lights and closure of the main road forcing everyone on a detour via Morden road, to my annoyance) but the 1/10 times (which is when I tend to use it these days!) it does feel painfully slow to chug along at 20mph

But what is the rationale behind the 20mph limit, and how will we know whether or not it is successful in achieving its aims? 20mph is very much chugging along, and probably causes frustration and impatience, which are also probably factors in causing accidents.
 

bramling

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Do people actually do that any more? I don't see it anywhere near as much as I used to; when I first started driving there was always considerable pressure to do about 10 over, not any more.

People still tailgate, but in a lot of cases I’m not sure it’s because they necessarily want to go faster, just that they don’t think and simply drive close up behind someone else. Sheep mentality.

ISA?



But what is the rationale behind the 20mph limit, and how will we know whether or not it is successful in achieving its aims? 20mph is very much chugging along, and probably causes frustration and impatience, which are also probably factors in causing accidents.

There’s also quite a danger of focussing on the speedometer, as maintaining 20mph is not easy to do by judgement alone. Not really ideal to have people looking down at their speedometer and miss a zebra crossing, and speed limiting doesn’t help if you’re for example going downhill. Hampstead down to Camden is a good example of where this is a mess.
 

CrispyUK

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But there are idiots who do 30 or 40 mph on a NSL road, which is more dangerous than doing 60 mph in reasonable conditions.
I usually find those doing 40mph on a national speed limit road, will continue to do 40mph when the limit changes to 30, those drivers only have one speed! o_O
 

jamesheet49

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Intelligent speed adaptation, to be installed in all cars by 2022. Already available in some new cars today.

But what is the rationale behind the 20mph limit, and how will we know whether or not it is successful in achieving its aims? 20mph is very much chugging along, and probably causes frustration and impatience, which are also probably factors in causing accidents.

Almost nobody will die after a collision at 20 mph whereas death and serious injury is more likely at 30 mph.
 

ABB125

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I usually find those doing 40mph on a national speed limit road, will continue to do 40mph when the limit changes to 30, those drivers only have one speed! o_O
Ah yes, 40mph man (or woman); not necessarily the best driver on the road.
Although they must be doing something right, because they aren't exceeding the speed limit!* (Some of the time at least.)

*Which, apparently, is safe
 

jamesheet49

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There’s also quite a danger of focussing on the speedometer, as maintaining 20mph is not easy to do by judgement alone. Not really ideal to have people looking down at their speedometer and miss a zebra crossing, and speed limiting doesn’t help if you’re for example going downhill. Hampstead down to Camden is a good example of where this is a mess.

Same applies to 30 mph. It doesn't matter what the speed limit is as you need to glance at the speedometer frequently anyway. I was certainly encouraged to do that when learning to drive over 25 years ago by my instructor, when breaking the speed limit by a large margin was the norm. I remember complaining to my instructor that everyone is going much faster than I was but I was told emphatically that I had to stay at 30 mph and he told me off as soon as I exceeded the limit.
 

Domh245

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But what is the rationale behind the 20mph limit, and how will we know whether or not it is successful in achieving its aims? 20mph is very much chugging along, and probably causes frustration and impatience, which are also probably factors in causing accidents.

There's little in the way of published reasoning behind it, but a local paper reported:

"As a council we are committed to rolling-out of the 20mph speed limit across the borough by the end of the year as it brings huge benefits to all road users in Merton," cabinet member of regeneration, housing and transport, Councillor Martin Whelton said.

"Lowering vehicle speeds improves safety for everyone, and makes streets so much more attractive for everyone to enjoy cycling and walking.

"The borough-wide scheme plays a part in our Air Quality Action Plan which aims to reduce the dominance of vehicles and the polluting nitrogen dioxide they produce. This is all part of the council’s drive to make the borough a cleaner, greener, safer place and encourage more active lifestyles.”

As for how they measure it, I assume that they plan to carry out air quality comparisons and potentially even traffic analysis at some point - though Covid and the ensuing financial crisis may postpone these somewhat. They had a report done back in 2012 on some of the 20mph zones and limits they had then. Although I'm too tired to actually read through the report in full right now - the conclusions are interesting:

5.1Both Zones and Limits experienced an increase in PIA per year with the increase in zones greater than that of limits (0.61 per year per zone compared to 0.17 per year per limit).
5.2 Limits experienced a significant reduction in pedestrian and child accidents.
5.3 P2W and pedal cycle accidents remain constant in both zones and limits.

There's probably also an element of not wanting to be left out - A lot of London boroughs are blanket 20mph now! I wouldn't mind more targeted 30mph sections but in this case I think it is better to err on the side of caution. Dragging it back to the road you were initially calling out (assuming I'm thinking of the same one - between the tram stop and the cricket green) it's about 450m that could be at 30 but when you look at the maths it would save you less than 20 seconds on the rare occasion you've got clear traffic (very rare along there in my experience), and would confuse drivers by switching from a swathe of 20 to 30 and back again relatively quickly.



There’s also quite a danger of focussing on the speedometer, as maintaining 20mph is not easy to do by judgement alone. Not really ideal to have people looking down at their speedometer and miss a zebra crossing, and speed limiting doesn’t help if you’re for example going downhill. Hampstead down to Camden is a good example of where this is a mess.

Focussing on the speedo is definitely an issue the first few times but you do eventually get used to judging 20mph 'naturally' once you do it enough. Guess it may be easier for me as I'm still relatively young so it's not like 30mph has been burned into my brain quite so heavily as a reference
 

dakta

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"Completely agree. Though that's why most Police forces only prosecute when over a certain threshold (such as Limit+10%+2mph), they're not normally zealots"

I've found the same - whilst I am definitely guilty of having sped at times , speed cameras and police don't give me any concern. Why? Because I don't take things to daft level and generally go with the flow.

That said, I have associates who despite claiming to be fairly respectful drivers have racked up more points than you can shake a stick at. Perhaps part of being responsible is admitting to what degree you're a bit irresponsible?


At the minute there are a few roads near me, one in particular near my industrial unit, that have what I call unrealistic speed limits - these are in place because of either several high speed collisions (where people have got KSI doing daft speeds well above the limit) or there have been residents noise complaints. One is a road that's straight and rural and effectively 40-50mph and has been recently reduced to 30. Occasionally get police on there because it's a good place to cop people - we do occaisonally get idiots doing 50-60 on there (in isolation you can do this quite safely) but you could cop people all day long doing 40 because it feels, and has the actual risk factor of a 40 road. As a result practically everyone does.

Now, we can either call everyone a criminal - or we could say safety is a complex issue and roads that are set too slow have there own problems. I'm not defending speed (petrolhead alert!) but i've always looked back on my experiences of times when my safety has been or close to been compromised by what people do on the road and felt speed cameras have somehow missed the point...
 

bramling

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Same applies to 30 mph. It doesn't matter what the speed limit is as you need to glance at the speedometer frequently anyway. I was certainly encouraged to do that when learning to drive over 25 years ago by my instructor, when breaking the speed limit by a large margin was the norm. I remember complaining to my instructor that everyone is going much faster than I was but I was told emphatically that I had to stay at 30 mph and he told me off as soon as I exceeded the limit.

It’s a lot easier at 30mph than 20mph, especially if one is concerned about drifting over 20 and getting caught by a potential camera.
 

eMeS

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I live near a de-restricted dual carriageway in north Milton Keynes, and simply based on the pitch of the exhaust note, I get the impression that motorcyclists are never, ever caught speeding. Is that because the m'cyclists wear radar absorptive clothing? Easy enough to incorporate in the padding, I would guess.
 

TRAX

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If you hide a speed camera, people won't be slowing down for them, so you can't say you place them for motorists' safety because people won't be slowing down for a dangerous spot anymore.
 

JamesRowden

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If you hide a speed camera, people won't be slowing down for them, so you can't say you place them for motorists' safety because people won't be slowing down for a dangerous spot anymore.
If motorists know that you hide the speed cameras as drones behind bridges and signs, which move from day to day and hour to hour, and give driving bans to first time offenders, people may drive within the limit when there is not a camera just in case there is a camera.

Alternatively we could require every car to be tracked by GPS so that the speed/location data could be processed. The hidden cameras would be used to detect cars that are illegally not being tracked rather than their instanteous speed.

So much that could be done if we wanted a little fun. <D
 

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