Call for speed cam­eras to be switched on as road deaths rise

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NIALL GRIF­FITHS Lo­cal Democ­racy Ser­vice

UP­GRAD­ING speed cam­eras should be an ‘im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity’ for trans­port bosses af­ter warm weather trig­gered an ‘un­usu­ally high’ num­ber of road deaths in Greater Manch­ester, ac­cord­ing to a coun­cil­lor.

The num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties and se­ri­ously in­jured ca­su­al­ties in the re­gion fell by five per cent in 2018 – com­pared to a two per cent na­tional in­crease.

But there were 60 fa­tal­i­ties in the year to May, with ‘vul­ner­a­ble road users’ – pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists, mo­tor­cy­clists and young driv­ers or pas­sen­gers – mak­ing up seven of the 10 deaths recorded in Fe­bru­ary.

Trans­port for Greater Manch­ester (TfGM) re­lated the deaths to ‘un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally’ warm and dry weather, which Depart­ment for Trans­port (DfT) re­search says in­creases ex­po­sure to col­li­sion risk as the con­di­tions are more ap­peal­ing for mo­tor­cy­clists.

Mean­while the DfT’s pre­dic­tion of a 40pc re­duc­tion in road ca­su­al­ties by 2020 is un­likely to be achieved due to road safety and en­force­ment pro­grammes be­ing hit by fund­ing cuts.

Coun Howard Sykes has now urged re­gional lead­ers to up­grade road­side safety cam­eras across Greater Manch­ester to tackle speed­ing.

The Old­ham politi­cian said some driv­ers are aware of the lo­ca­tion of de­funct speed cam­eras and ‘reg­u­larly abuse’ speed lim­its in those ar­eas.

“The big­gest sin­gle thing we could do is to get [speed cam­eras] op­er­a­tional be­cause speed­ing cars kill peo­ple,” he told the re­gional trans­port com­mit­tee.

“It’s got to be an im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity. While we do all this sexy and ex­cit­ing stuff about junc­tions and cy­cling, the big­gest sin­gle way you can save cy­clists’ lives, and other two-wheeled driv­ers, is stop­ping peo­ple speed­ing.

“It’s no point hav­ing th­ese cam­eras if there are no pic­tures be­ing taken.”

Plans to spend £9.2mil­lion digi­tis­ing and up­grad­ing ex­ist­ing safety cam­era hous­ings, and iden­ti­fy­ing new lo­ca­tions, are be­ing de­vel­oped by the Safer Roads Greater Manch­ester part­ner­ship.

Peter Boulton, head of high­ways at TfGM, said in­come set aside for digi­tis­ing speed cam­eras had dried up in re­cent years. “We’ve not been able to carry on that [digi­tis­ing] pro­gramme to the same ex­tent we had pre­vi­ously,” he said.

But Coun Sykes crit­i­cised the part­ner­ship for not al­low­ing elected mem­bers to have their say on the place­ment of cam­eras, and leav­ing it in the hands of lo­cal author­ity of­fi­cers and Greater Manch­ester Po­lice.

He said: “I found money to pro­vide [a speed cam­era] then I get told it doesn’t fit the cri­te­ria.

“When I ask how to change the cri­te­ria I get told there’s no elected mem­bers. It’s a catch-22.

“It’s such a strate­gic thing that doesn’t have any elected mem­ber over­sight, and it is wrong that high­way of­fi­cers from the com­po­nent dis­tricts, plus the cops, sit down and de­cide what the cri­te­ria is.”

Coun Howard Sykes

Warm weather trig­gered an ‘un­usu­ally high’ num­ber of road deaths

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