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

Bray People - - Greystones Library Closes For Refurbishments -

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.

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