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Harsh Speeding Ticket?...Stupid I know, but is it worth contesting?

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Hi all. 

Travelling along a very open piece of road near Wakefield, West Yorkshire (Asdale Road, between Denby Dale Road and Durkar Lown Lane). 

The road is off a series of dual carriageways, all with 40 mph limit. 

It is uniformly lit by streetlights along it's length, with no speed camera warning signs. 

 

All of a sudden, there are a couple of speed restriction signs indicating 30 mph. 

They are small - very small - and smaller than the 40 MPH signs they back onto. 

 

The Police have stationed a mobile speed van very close to the transition, and although I'm sticking very closely to the 40 mph limit, by the time I see the 30 signs and braked, I'm clocked at 36 mph in a 30 zone immediately after the signs! I know for a fact by the time I passed the van I was going under 30, just a short way past the signs.  Not fair, where's the "safety" reasoning in this, blah blah blah.  Yes, I know, stupid.

 

However, is the configuration they have here lawful? 

Looking at the Govt traffic signs manual chapter 3, it says "unless it's impractical to do so, standard size signs should be used", and then seems to indicate 600mm as the standard for 30 mph (I would guess the signs here as probably 300mm and max 450mm, not 600mm). 

 

Had the sign been larger, I'm pretty sure I would have at least had a chance of seeing the sign and braking sooner, and quite possibly would have been under the limit before the sign.

 

I have a clean license and will I expect be offered a speed awareness course as my last one was 3.5 years ago. 

However, it's VERY annoying. 

Can anyone advise on whether I should just suck it up and get on the course or whether I should contest it?

 

Thanks.

Asdale Road.JPG

Asdale Road 2.JPG

Size of Terminal Signs.JPG

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Firstly, there is no requirement to display camera warning signs.

 

If you want to challenge the legality of the signs be prepared for an expensive day out in court.

Many of the road signage regulations have been downgraded from mandatory to advisory (note the use of "should" rather than "must" in the notes you have provided).

 

The Magistrates will be concerned with whether the signage sufficiently conveys the change of limit in time for the driver to adjust his speed. Slowing from 40mph to 30mph does not require a long distance and you may struggle to convince a Bench that the signs (as displayed in the photograph) were insufficient.

 

If you were to defend the matter on the basis you suggest I believe you would fail.

The cost of failure will be high.

You will face an income related fine of half a week's net income (half a week's net income with obviously no discount for a guilty plea) but most crippling would be prosecution costs.

 

These will be at least £300 and possibly as high as £620.

And of course you will receive three penalty points.

 

If it was me? I'd take the course.

But you makes your choice a pays your money (or very hopefully, not!)

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Thanks Man in the Middle, appreciate the advice and yes I will probably just take the course.  Annoying though - historically I've been pretty much the last person to join in the conversation about money-grabbing authorities but after this episode where the setup was, well, almost quite literally "a setup" and nothing to do with road safety whatsoever, my view of them has changed completely.

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the other thing going against you is the presence of the correctly spaced lampposts.

 

When the first speed camera went live (in Twickenham) the speed set to activate the camera was 42mph for a 30 limit and the authorities expected to catch a few motorists in a week. The cameras ran out of film after 1000 motorists were snapped in the first 30 minutes.

 

The placing of cameras can be a matter for local politics bearing in mind who gets a share of the bounty and what noise the residents made to get one installed so i agree that there is a bit of a set up as far as that goes but it still requires people to go through there at the wrong speed for the Safety Camera Partnership to earn a few quid.

 

The real scandal is they are supposed to be preventative but if you put a sign out warning motorists about the presence of cameras you will get done for a myriad of offences such as obstructing justice

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Don't be fooled, it's all a money making scheme and nothing more.

The fines are issued by machines without human input, so if you are just over the limit at 3am empty road,  you would get the same treatment of someone dangerously speeding in traffic at 5pm.

 

The set up is made to maximise profit, many cameras are fitted on stretches where there's nothing around a nice dual carriageway with a 30 or 40 limit. 

 

But then you can do 60 in a bendy country lane where two cars can't pass at the same time.

 

Camera vans parked up to make money more or less everywhere. 

 

No, i haven't got done many times, only once years ago but it was a speed trap and the officer who stopped me kind of admitted it.

 

In some civil places, to make motorists slow down where there's a real need of doing 30, they put camera signs and visual warnings; everyone sticks to the speed limit and nobody makes money. 

 

In my experience the speeding tickets are just to be accepted as an extra tax for us motorists, unless there's a gross mistake i.e. limit is 40 and they clocked the car at 36 but still issued the ticket.

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Like ericsbrother I think you may have a problem with the streetlights which probably indicate a restricted road with a limit of 30 mph - no signs (except for the lights themselves) necessary.  How far apart are the lights?

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Thanks all for your replies.  King12345 I've come to the same conclusion unfortunately, which I think is a shame as I've always defended the police and placed my trust in them in the same way as I tend to trust the medical profession (i.e. they have the benefit of the doubt....they must know what they're doing etc.).  And all for a few quid (on their side.....self employment means I will lose much more having to attend the course etc.).

 

In terms of the spacing of streetlights that people seem to be focusing on, I don't know whether they're "correctly" spaced or not, but to be honest the street lights and their placement was one thing that lulled me into a false sense of security.....as I drove down the road I knew I was driving through a 40 area, despite there being no signs indicating this for a considerable distance.  Also my car has a speed limit indicator on the dash that was showing 40.  I stuck rigidly under that speed limit. So the fact that there is a streetlight configuration that is completely uniform running first through a 40 zone and straight into a 30 zone with just (in my view) an undersized 30 sign delimiter was in my view, far from being a reason to note a 30 zone and a required speed change, a major contributor to me not noticing a change in the speed limit until it was too late.

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Speed trap.

Pay the unofficial tax and move on.

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4 hours ago, PDPJSM said:

In terms of the spacing of streetlights that people seem to be focusing on, I don't know whether they're "correctly" spaced or not, but to be honest the street lights and their placement was one thing that lulled me into a false sense of security.....as I drove down the road I knew I was driving through a 40 area, despite there being no signs indicating this for a considerable distance.  Also my car has a speed limit indicator on the dash that was showing 40.  I stuck rigidly under that speed limit. So the fact that there is a streetlight configuration that is completely uniform running first through a 40 zone and straight into a 30 zone with just (in my view) an undersized 30 sign delimiter was in my view, far from being a reason to note a 30 zone and a required speed change, a major contributor to me not noticing a change in the speed limit until it was too late.

 

The difficulty you face with that line of reasoning is that the presence of a system of street lighting (spaced at no more than 200 yards) bestows a default 30mph limit. Only if that default is to be modified are small "repeaters" necessary. In fact it is not permissible to install 30mph repeaters where there are streetlights and the default applies. Street lighting is an important part of speed limit provision. Case law has determined that the lights themselves provide notice of the limit (making the stretch a "restricted" road) and it is no defence if, say, one gap is 201 yards or  if one or all of the lights are inoperable. Courts have also ruled that it does not matter if the terminal signs (which you contend are inadequate) are obscured by, say vegetation thus making your contention unlikely to cut the mustard.

 

A simple rule for street lighting is that it denotes a 30mph limit unless you see repeaters to the contrary (you will not see repeaters showing 30). Where there is no street lighting the default is the National Speed Limit unless you see repeaters to the contrary.

 

2 hours ago, king12345 said:

Speed trap.

Pay the unofficial tax and move on.

 

+1 (though I do not accept that the penalty is an "unofficial tax!).

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Maybe because you don't drive.

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19 hours ago, king12345 said:

Maybe because you don't drive.

 

No. Maybe because I've been driving for many years and know the difference between a tax and a fine or fixed penalty (or even a fee for a course if that is what the OP is offered and he accepts). But let's not allow the thread to degenerate into an unnecessary argument as it won't help the OP one little bit.

Edited by Man in the middle
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