Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Spin this

Swindon is the town that, you may recall, caused a fuss by deciding to switch off all its "safety" cameras (speed cameras to you & me).  Now, these "safety" cameras are there to make the roads safer, right?  So by switching them off, Swindon will have made its roads more dangerous, right?  So there will have been more accidents since they turned them off than there were before, right?

A Wiltshire town that elected to get rid of its speed cameras has the safest roads in Britain, a report has revealed.
Swindon, which scrapped its speed cameras in July 2009 to save on council costs and trial other traffic calming measures, has just two accidents per thousand registered vehicles on it roads - the lowest rate in the UK. The town became the first English local authority to decommission fixed cameras, although it decided to maintain mobile cameras used by police.
What? Roads are safer without speed cameras? Well, well, well, who would have thought that? It seems that experiments produce clear results when you don't fiddle with the figures.

Postscript - Oddly, the BBC does not seem to have noticed this news (as of 27 March)...


  1. I reckon they have just relocated them. As soon as you pass the sign Swindon on the M4, there are roadworks and sets of speed cameras. I am not sure where this revenue ends up, but it is just as profitable as having them on the bypass.

    What is far more dangerous in my view is having side roads abruptly join the dual carriageway without slip roads in place, as well as cars turning across the dual carriageway to turn down the slip roads. Shame I am not a road engineer.

    1. Measured, you disqualified yourself by being a driver.

    2. Ha! That would explain a lot! :-D

  2. It's well known that when people feel protected by safety features they act more recklessly. That's the theory behind those streets in Holland where the council has removed all markings, signals etc. so drivers and pedestrians have to "negotiate".

    It's about time Britain's road designers and enforcers stopped being so bullying and nannying.

    I reckon that (apart from perhaps on motorways) getting rid of most markings and signals would improve the flow and safety at the same time.

  3. Locally we have a straight stretch of 30mph limited road followed by a sharp double bend. In spite of a speed camera half way along the straight stretch, there were numerous accidents each year on the bends with cars in front gardens, etc.
    Now the camera has been removed and replaced by a speed operated warning sign just before the bends, motorists happily do an illegal 40 mph along the straight bit but slow for the bends, and as far as I know there have been no accidents in the past year. Clearly sensible signs add to the safety far more than arbitrary speed limits and cameras! The scenario presented by "speed kills" enthusiasts in the local paper simply hasn't happened.