Author Topic: A77 speed trap fails to catch motorcyclists/Scotland  (Read 1045 times)

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A77 speed trap fails to catch motorcyclists/Scotland
« on: September 25, 2005, 01:40:46 PM »
The Sunday Times - Scotland
 
 
 
September 25, 2005

The Sunday Times

A77 speed trap fails to catch motorcyclists
Jason Allardyce
 
 
 
ANTI-SPEED camera campaigners have branded a new £775,000 “speed trap” on the A77 as a waste of money after ministers admitted that it cannot detect motorbikes.
The Speed Enforcement Camera System (Specs), a series of 40 cameras on the A77, was hailed as an important new weapon in the fight against speeding drivers.

 
 
Rather than flashing drivers who are speeding at a fixed point, it monitors the rate of every car over a 20-mile stretch.

However, Cathy Jamieson, the Scottish justice minister, has admitted that the system, installed as part of a £20m safety scheme for the route, can only detect vehicles with front-facing number plates.

Captain Gatso, the anti-speed camera protester, said that the Specs system had been exposed as a white elephant.

“Specs cameras are the most dangerous form of speed camera enforcement, due to the fact that they make people drive along in a funeral cortege merely concentrating on their speedometer and not on the road and the traffic ahead.

“Be under no illusion, this is a cynical money-making scheme by the Scottish executive which doesn’t reduce deaths on the roads. Furthermore, the motorist is discriminated against, while motorcylists get away scot free. People who get tickets on this road should refuse to pay.”

Last year Scotland recorded the highest number of motorcycling deaths since 2000. Motorbikes represent just 1% of all vehicles on Scottish roads, but they account for more than 14% of road accidents.

The biggest increases were in Strathclyde, where fatalities rose by 30%, and Lothian and Borders, which has seen a 100% increase since 2001. In Lothian and Borders there were 268 accidents in 2003. including nine deaths. compared with seven in 2002 and four in 2001. In Strathclyde the number killed has risen by about 30% from 10 to 13 over the past year.

Middle-aged men are dying in unprecedented numbers as they indulge their teenage fantasy of owning a powerful motorbike. Safety experts have warned that many of the baby-boomer bikers are unaware of their slower reaction times and how difficult it can be to control the heavy powerful machines at high speed.

The Specs system was introduced between Bogend Toll, north of Ayr and Ardwell, south of Girvan, following 20 deaths and 95 serious injuries on the stretch between January 2000 and December 2004. But critics also point out that because the new cameras do not measure speed directly, speeding drivers in any type of vehicle can escape being caught if they turn off the road between cameras, turn on to it or stop between them.

“This means that if you inadvertently go through the first one over the limit, all you need to do is slow to below the limit, so your average speed between the two cameras is below the speed threshold. Of course, working this out in your head is somewhat difficult, so drivers overcompensate and can be seen crawling towards the second camera,” said the Association of British Drivers. “On high-speed roads this can create dangerous situations.”

Andrew Wilkie, a spokesman for the Scottish Safety Camera Campaign, insisted that the new cameras were effective. “There are a whole list of problems on the A77, of which speeding is one,” he said.

“Spec cameras are there to tackle the majority of motorists. We knew it would only tackle facing number plates, but that is a large proportion of vehicles.”
 
 
 
 
 
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