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UK Road Sense, Dorset Way / A3049 50 limit

Dear Mr Garrett,

I have received from Annette Brooke, a copy of a letter sent from her to you, and a reply send from you to her. I’m sure that Annette is very busy so she has agreed that I can reply to your points.

It is disappointing that the DSCP is mostly ignoring the concerns being raised by the community, but perhaps, on this occasion, you would be so kind as to respond further to this?

Annette said that this camera “appears to have generated a great deal of income” and mentioned that constituents are asking about numbers of accidents at the location, and how the decision was made to start this camera enforcement.

I will quote some of the points you made, and answer them:

“Our research clearly shows that users of this junction regularly disregard the speed limit and are a danger to the local community and other road users”

Your own accident statistics suggest otherwise. Despite the speeds of the users there has been just one serious accident in 11 years and no deaths. Was this serious accident speed related? If average speeds are so far above the limit, has the possibility been considered that the recent extension of the 30 limit through the junction might actually have been a bad decision? If not, why not? Why does the DSCP seem to be confused about whether this is a safety (casualty reduction) effort, or not? Can we see a graphical representation of the accidents in the area?

“Please be assured that prior to installation and going live a full consultation review was undertaken with Borough of Poole Council and this camera only went live with the full consent of the Council”

Could we please have some names, of the council members involved. Please could we see this “consultation review”.

I would now like to comment on your numbered points:

“1. It is a very busy red light junction with a speed limit of 30 mph. Vehicle speeds have been recorded ranging from 40 to 65 at this junction”

No speeds under 40? Are you sure? If so, a 30 limit is clearly completely unrealistic, and to rigidly enforce it, 24/7, is plain stupidity. Is this any worse than any other similar dual carriageways with 30 limits (if there are any)? Should the DSCP be focusing on dangerous speeders rather than fining the slowest who probably don’t “speedo gaze” because they’ve never had to in the past, with all the disrespect and destruction of public trust that results?

 “2. The speed limit was set by the Local Authority in 1999 and fully reviewed by the authority’s Transport Advisory Group as being correct and appropriate in accordance with the national speed limit review guidance in Jan 2008”

Can you explain the conflict with the 2006 report at http://ha.boroughofpoole.com/committeedocuments/agendas_minutes_reports_get_file.asp?f=%2Fcommitteepdf%2Freport%2Ftransportation+advisory+group%2Ftag121020063speed+limits.doc.pdf

Can you provide a link to the 2008 report? Do you acknowledge that this dual carriageway is entirely different to normal 30 limit streets, often in dense residential / commercial areas, and that a normal driver would not expect this road to have a 30 limit?

“3. The junction is crossed by pedestrians and cyclists”

As are many 30MPH streets, often with a much greater density of pedestrians and cyclists, parked vehicles and other obstructions, shops and houses, children playing, animals, less visibility and width, and without the benefit of pedestrian crossings, barriers, distance between the road and pavements, etc, etc. Why don’t you enforce the limits on roads like this, where exceeding the limit WOULD be dangerous, for example, Broadstone High Street, or Ashley Road, to name a couple?  How can it possibly be safe to drive at 30 on these roads, and dangerous to drive on Holes Bay a few mph higher? How do you resolve the disparity between this junction, and the one a short distance away at PC World, much busier, less pedestrian friendly, with a 50 limit? Surely, anyone exceeding the limit here, is a much greater danger, than at the 30 junction on Holes Bay, and if you had put the camera here, you would be detecting a much greater proportion of dangerous drivers? That would be good, wouldn’t it?

Your point 4 suggests very different stats to those on your website, 1 fatality and 4 very serious, but your website lists only 1 serious in the last 11 years. Could you please explain? Please realise that accidents on the main higher speed Holes Bay road could not possibly be effected by enforcement at the 30 limit junction and must be considered separately.

Your point 5 includes “ encouraging road users to drive safely and legally”. Does the DSCP consider the human element, the possibility that these operations breed contempt for road safety and legality, and therefore, that exactly the opposite results, although obviously, not directly in front of a yellow box? Is the objective road safety, or is it just to punish those disobeying arbitrary rules? They are very different things. If road safety is not the primary objective, the obsession with raising cash instead can only be COSTING LIVES, whatever is the current “benefit” of speed cameras.

What does the DSCP expect people to think about this record breaking camera for which it can provide no justification, safety or community concern, or anything else? 

“Please note that monies generated from speed cameras is retained by the treasury …”

Why on earth is this money not being used to pay for some much needed proper road policing?? I remind you, it’s easy to see 1 bad driving event a minute: http://www.belchamber.net/movie.wmv .

Please could you review this document, and let us know in which ways it is inaccurate: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/hypothecation.html

“To summarise, this camera was put in as a community concern site…”

The community, as it turns out, seems to be 4 complaints over 4 years, quite possibly relating to the higher speed section of the Holes Bay road. Give us a break! How stupid do you think the public are??

Anyone can make a legal argument supporting the speed limit / speed on green, but this is far outweighed by the moral argument and common sense, and what should be done to best improve road safety, that this operation should never have been conceived, let alone activated.

To repeat a statement by a contributor, “It is important to remember that 'official bodies' and groups/teams such as your own (to ALL on copy) assist with the enforcement of the law with the CONSENT of the voting public and not by divine right. A balance is required, and at present it is not being struck”

This camera is not for safety, as you stated, and we now know it’s not for community concern either.

All I ask is that you provide a credible, unconfused justification which stands up to scrutiny. If this really is not possible, you have no choice but to attempt to restore some trust and confidence, by immediately deactivating this camera and reversing the fines and points it has created, as the community have requested. Regardless, you should be helping the council to reinstate a sensible limit, which if you do choose to enforce, you can do so with a clear conscience and without making a farce of the police, the law, and speed limits themselves.

The community deserve a proper response to these points.