March 12, 2004 at 10:18 am #8683XV16Participant
MCI ON SPEED CAMERAS
Motorbike industry concerned about speed camera policy
Lending its support to the review of the role of speed cameras, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has today called for a more balanced approach to speed enforcement policy on UK roads.
The MCI is concerned about over simplistic claims of Safety Camera Partnerships regarding the cameras’ effectiveness in overall safety terms, and points to worsening casualty trends from 1993, the year that the cameras became operational.
Historically, the principles of the ‘3 Es’ have governed road design and traffic management. The MCI believes that the balance here needs redressing. The principles are Engineering, Education and Enforcement; to these, the MCI wants to see a fourth ‘E’ added: Engagement with riders and drivers on safety topics.
The MCI claim that whilst speed cameras may be effective at reducing vehicle speeds very near to where they are sited, but the premise that they can replace visible, dedicated traffic police has proved to be fatally flawed. Traffic police numbers have fallen by half since the cameras’ introduction, yet these same officers deal all too often with the aftermath of road accidents, which regular patrols have historically helped to prevent.
Reductions in traffic policing levels also mean that many potentially lethal motoring offences go undetected. While speeding fines have risen exponentially since 1993, the MCI notes with concern that the number of people convicted for drunk, dangerous or careless driving has plummeted.
Fewer traffic police also means fewer resources for police-led programmes to improve roadcraft skills, such as the unique motorcycle safety initiative ‘Bikesafe’.
The MCI fully supports The Government’s aim to reduce road casualties, but warns its means of implementation has lost public support; this is partly due to disproportionate fines and penalty points for minor speed infringements. This is also due to a perception of camera placement for revenue-raising, and a perceived inability to justify many of the camera locations on safety grounds.
MCI Director of Public Affairs Craig Carey-Clinch said; ‘MCI believes that traffic speed cameras are a valuable, but badly utilised weapon in the road safety arsenal. Increasingly, speed cameras and their operators have become public pariahs. To be beneficial, the camera technology should be targeted to catch dangerously fast speeders in areas where the highest risk exists (such as outside schools at busy times) as part of a wider policy of speed and driving standards management – not simply used to generate revenue for camera operators and the Government. ‘
Accordingly, the MCI has announced a ten-point plan for an effective speed policy, which if adopted, would restore balance to motoring law enforcement.
1. Remove all fixed and mobile speed cameras, except those at sites where there exists a demonstrable likelihood of casualty risk through excessive speed.
2. Govern the placement of new cameras according to the criterion in  above, and then only as a last resort when driver education has failed and road engineering to remove hazards and improve safe traffic flows is impracticable.
3. Where cameras are deemed necessary, allocate funds raised from speeding fines into road safety initiatives that incorporate the ‘3 Es’, plus the fourth ‘E’ of ‘engagement’.
4. Counter the widespread increase in speeding-related insurance premiums with enhanced discount incentives for attendees on skills and survival courses, such as Bikesafe.
5. Conduct a comprehensive review of UK-wide speed limits, with reference to the 85th percentile and the re-standardisation of speed limits on certain types of road.
6. Engineer roads for the most efficient traffic flow with maximum visibility and grip, rather than clutter them up with ‘traffic calming’ obstacles which often simply create congestion and are often a particular hazard to motorcyclists.
7. Publicly review the role of Safety Camera Partnerships and in particular, review how the huge sums that are raised through camera enforcement are being spent, with special emphasis on the future allocation of funding to road safety projects such as Bikesafe.
8. Restore traffic officers as the primary means of policing UK roads.
9. Make more use of non-punitive ‘real-time’ speed advisory displays on roads.
10. Make more use of variable speed limits on congested major routes, instead of imposing blanket lower limits.
The best 10 point plan ever!!! (Thats my view).
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