N 80 km/h LIMITS
With 600 new speed cameras due to be installed on highways around the Republic, David Medcalfe suggests that there are easy pickings ahead for the Garda traffic corps. Here is the diary of his journey along the N11 through County Wicklow, complete with fl
IT’S SUNDAY EVENING. It’s coming up to half-past five. We are on the N11 and we are going strong – but not too strong. We have just been passed by eight cars in that silly 60 k.p.h. limit zone in Kilmacanogue. We won’t count them, though just because one of the prime stretches of the country’s roads is governed by a ridiculous restriction, it won’t ease the pain of any fines or void the penalty points.
Now, let her rip, accelerating up to 100 kilometres per hour. Uh-oh, there’s been a horrid crash just outside Kilmacanogue in the northbound lane. Thank goodness, all is going smoothly southbound, apart from the fact that everyone is slowing down to see why all blue lights and cross ourselves as the ambulance approaches the scene on the other side of the median. Let that be a lesson to us all.
Glen of the Downs - there goes 97 D, a little Fiat Cinquecento. Obviously, yer man doesn’t realise it’s an 80 k.p.h. limit around this bend. And 07 D, a Toyota Corolla, similarly doesn’t know about it, or chooses to ignore. And there’s a Deutschland registered car going by, an Opel Astra. Those German cars have the limit-less autobahn in their genes.
Now back to 100. Just coming up to the Greystones, Kilcoole exit and there’s this silver thing has been looming in the wing mirror and it’s 04 WW some sort of a Toyota Land Cruiser or similar. Cruising, in this case, means pedal to the metal.
Coming up to the Newtown- mountkennedy exit and we have overtaken one! It was a little 97 WW Mazda 121, driven by a relaxed gentleman in a cardigan with his glasses up on his forehead. But here comes another silver streak - an Opel, too fast for me too make out the reg - was it 05 D? Don’t these guys know that half the speeding summonses issued in Wicklow have Newtown as the location of the alleged offence? Here comes another jeepy style thing, could be a Suzuki, red 04 WW? and good luck to you, sir, well over the hundred.
Could this be our first BMW of the day? Not sure, a dark car anyway and it looks as though it should be German – no, maybe it’s a Jaguar 02 D, going at much too much of a lick for me to take in the details.
And our first white van! All those middle class ladies complaining that they can’t get a tradesman. Well this tradesman is doing his best: UK reg, fine van it is too with a rattling good top speed.
And here’s another van 00 D, Ford Fiesta van with blackened out glass. And our first Volvo of the day! 98WD, obviously steaming to get back to Waterford, with a sunshade at the back: I suspect there might be children in there.
And there it is! With a blonde lady in the passenger seat! Our first confirmed BMW of the trip, 07D and going very smoothly down the hill to the second Newtownmountkennedy turn off. I am suitably impressed.
Ten kilometres travelled and after one BMW, now another, in a nice grey colour - perhaps the owner believes the greyness will help camouflage the vehicle against the lasers of the speed cops.
We have passed the Abwood compound and here’s another what–do-you-call-’em in the sights. Are they jeeps, or SUV’s, or what? Whatever. It’s O2, it’s from Kildare, it’s a black blur and it’s steaming and it’s a Honda.
For some reason, Opels seem to be game for a bit of acceleration. There he goes, no, sorry, it’s a woman at the wheel and it’s not an Opel at all but a Note, whatever that is - sold as a city run-around but now seen sprinting through the countryside along EuroRoute One.
Is that the silver Opel we passed earlier a few miles back? 05D. We’ve just overtaken it and it is now going so slowly all of a sudden, not because of the steepness of the hill up to the Coyne’s Cross turn-off but because the driver has his ear jammed to his mobile phone. Good luck to you, mate.
We have just passed an 07WW van. It seems to be full of all the family, several generations, taking their time up the hill. Meanwhile, something black and swift, a Ford Mondeo 08W and he’s using his full muscle, followed by the fastest thing we’ve seen yet. I think it’s another Ford. It just zipped by like and arrow, no chance of spotting any details.
We are pulling up the big hill, and is this the first people carrier of the journey? It’s a VW Touran 07WX - I don’t know where they have been for the Sunday drive but they are keen to be home.
This long climb towards the Beehive is a chance for the speedy guys such as this Renault 03 WX to prove their horsepower.
Coming up to the 80 k.p.h. stretch at Ballinameesda. All those warning wiggles on the road signs and a good solid white line, so Mr. Volvo may bide his time a bit longer. Now cruising on the nice straight stretch past the Statoil and he is still in our mirror. Maybe he has a speed limiter. I may have over-estimated the Swedish lust for speed.
The long haul to Arklow. In my motorcycling days, you would hear tales that this was where the real bikers would come to do their ton up stunts. But there is no-one looking to emulate them this evening.
Approaching Jack White’s pub shortly. Lovely straight road and no-one up to any naughtiness. All this talk of boy racers but none of what has gone by to date could really be classified as boy racer material, unless that unidentified black streak was an exceptionally wealthy boy racer.
Two kilometres to the dual carriageway says the sign and could that be the same Opel back on the horizon ahead once again? If so, it just goes to show that speeding doesn’t pay off in terms of actually getting anywhere.
I will stick to one hundred but here is someone tempted by the wide open spaces. It is not the flashest of motors; it’s Ford (Ford, it seems, means fast) 03WW and it’s a Mondeo cruising at just over the limit.
That Mondeo had a couple in their thirties, just tooling along nicely, and that seems to be the general mood of the evening. Past the Arklow turn off and starting the run down to the bridge and here is a Nissan, very snazzy looking car, going just quickly enough to leave me behind. And Mister Volvo has finally lost patience - wearing a nice jumper with stripes and driving a nice car too - going at this modest speed is probably rusting its gussets.
Junction 21. Our journey is nearly over and I seem to be on my own. Are there really going to be 600 speed cameras? Welcome to County Wexford. Good night.
No sign anywhere along our way of a Garda patrol car, other than at the site of that accident near Kilmacanogue.
We certainly never felt we were under the truncheon.