Speed cam­era just a rort

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

There’s noth­ing that gets up the nose of a car driver more than a fixed speed cam­era.

They’re a sort of ur­ban trans­port equiv­a­lent of war drones.

With drones, peo­ple get killed and build­ings get blown up, but there’s no risk to the at­tacker, who is well re­moved from the ac­tion.

So it is with fixed speed cam­eras.

If a driver gets snapped by a po­lice of­fi­cer point­ing a radar gun at him, or clock­ing him on his car speed de­tec­tor, at least there’s a hu­man el­e­ment.

But fixed cam­eras take no ac­count of cir­cum­stance or emo­tion. They’re soul­less. The speed cam­era that was in­stalled in Whit­ford Brown Ave in Aotea last Septem­ber has caused more angst than vir­tu­ally any other around the Welling­ton re­gion.

We’re still wait­ing for the po­lice to pro­vide of­fi­cial fig­ures on the num­ber of tick­ets that have been is­sued, but it is blind­ingly clear from anec­do­tal ev­i­dence that there has been a flood of speed­ing tick­ets is­sued.

We raised the is­sue on our Face­book page last week and had had an over­whelm­ing re­sponse within hours. Peo­ple re­lated how they’d been snapped, not once or twice but many times.

Many of th­ese driv­ers claimed they were fined $30 for do­ing 54kmh or 56kmh along a sec­tion of the road that is now re­stricted to 50kmh.

What this tells us is that ei­ther Porirua is full of speed­ing driv­ers, or some­thing bizarre is hap­pen­ing with the Whit­ford Brown Ave speed cam­era.

We think it’s a prob­lem with this par­tic­u­lar area and the speed limit around it, and that it’s time the po­lice ad­mit­ted it and made changes.

Whit­ford Brown Ave is a wide road some dis­tance from res­i­den­tial hous­ing.

For years it had a 70kmh speed limit, which worked just fine un­til 2008, when Ron Chippindale was killed in a road ac­ci­dent there.

That tragedy prompted a flurry of ac­tiv­ity from trans­port au­thor­i­ties.

The speed limit was re­duced to 50kmh, the two-lane road ris­ing up the hill was re­duced to one lane, and a wire bar­rier was in­stalled.

Mo­torists could no longer turn right into The Fjord, which was a con­sid­er­able in­con­ve­nience to them.

Since then, Whit­ford Brown Ave has con­tin­ued as be­fore – a nor­mal road with a nor­mal num­ber of ac­ci­dents. Cer­tainly not an ac­ci­dent hotspot.

For some rea­son, when more speed cam­eras be­came avail­able last year, it was de­cided to place one in Whit­ford Brown Ave. Why?

Not be­cause dras­tic ac­tion was needed to pre­vent so many ac­ci­dents – there are many ar­eas far less safe.

What is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous is that the Whit­ford Brown Ave cam­era is prov­ing a huge money-earner, as driver af­ter driver gets pinged.

Let’s be clear: most of th­ese driv­ers are not speed­ing. They’re pro­gress­ing per­fectly safely up Whit­ford Brown Ave at just over 50kmh.

But they’re fail­ing to meet a speed limit that has been set un­nat­u­rally low and are be­ing ham­mered in the pocket for do­ing so.

We say enough is enough. It’s time the speed limit was in­creased to at least 60kmh, if not 70kmh, along that stretch of road.

This money gath­er­ing un­der the guise of road safety has to stop.

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