Speed camera just a rort
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.