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More cameras for better safety?

By Kerces - 15 August 2005 29

John Hargreaves is proposing that Canberra’s speed cameras be allowed to be placed anywhere, rather than be restricted to certain zones, and that an extra camera be purchased in an attempt to stem this year’s ever-growing road toll.

No media releases or news stories online as yet, but today’s CT story is faithfully reproduced below (apologies for any fast-finger-stumbles). Strangely, although the story starts and finishes with the speed cameras, it mostly seems to be Mr Hargreaces talking about motorcycle road safety, which would seem to me to be a somewhat different matter. So is he talking about motorbike safety to distract from more revenue-raiser criticism?

I heard on the radio that the Libs were agreeing to the speed camera areas being opened up, but in this media release Steve Pratt is saying extra cameras won’t help reduce the road toll, suggesting instead — big surprise — that a larger police presence would be more effective.

So what will help fix our apparent road safety problem? More speed cameras? More police? Or something else, like better education?

UPDATED The ABC now has their story about this up.

Canberra Times, Mon 15 Aug 2005 p3

New speed cameras a bid to stem road toll
By John Thistleton

Police and Emergency Services Minister John Hargreaves will widen Canberra’s network of speed cameras in the wake of the road toll reaching 17 so far this year.

Police are yet to disclose the name of a 23 year-old Spence motorcyclist who died when he crashed late on Friday night while riding a trail bike on Vickers Crescent, Flynn. Police said he was not wearing a helmet. No other vehicles were involved.

He is the sixth motorcyclist to have died on ACT roads this year.

A post-mortem examination was completed yesterday and police are continuing investigations, reconstructing the accident and appealing for information.

NSW Police have named the man and woman who died in a collision at Ando, 29km form Bombala on Saturday.

Genevieve Reed, 55, of Delegate River, and Leonard Richardson, 80, of Bombala, were dead when police and ambulance arrived. A police spokesman said there were no witnesses.

Awaiting a police report into the latest motorbike death in Canberra, Mr Hargreaves said he was not in favour of raising punitive measures, but motorbike riders and drivers had to pay more attention to the road.

He was preparing legislation to allow speed cameras anywhere in Canberra.

The Government would buy a sixth speed-camera vehicle.

Mr Hargreaves does not want drivers to know where to expect a speed camera, so they will pay more attention tot heir driving.

He attributes most of the motorcycle accidents this year to rider error, and believes the problem can be addressed.

He said an exception to rider error was a death several months ago at Hut Point [sic] crossing in which an experienced rider died after being hit by a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

The Police Minister said another motorbike death occurred when an inexperienced young rider was rounding a bend too quickly and crashed into street furniture.

He is evaluating ideas from the Motorcycle Riders’ Association, and considering additional training regimes. Restrictions already on riders includ [sic] power-to-weight ratio impositions which keep young riders off high-powered bikes.

“But you can kill yourself on a Honda 50cc postie’s bike,” he said.

The Road Safety committee, comprising police, Urban Services and NRMA road safety people, was constantly reviewing speed limits, driver education, interstate initiatives and testing.

Mr Hargreaves said that at a road safety gathering six months ago, transport ministers discussing a greater emphasis on drink-driving, speeding and seat belts, were told by a Wheels magazine editor that their conventional thinking missed the point. Road accidents were caused by lack of attention. Mr Hargreaves agreed.

Many motorbike riders were not aware of risks, and in conjunction with the Motorcycle Riders’ Association, the Government would be looking at ways of sharpening riders’ awareness of road conditions, weather and dangerous drivers.

The biggest single ACT road safety initiative was the introduction of red-light cameras at intersections.

Mobile speed vans had been criticised as revenue-raisers, but they had made people pay more attention.

Mr Hargreaves said people caught by the cameras were travelling at higher speeds than previously. They had not been paying attention and would now, as a result of being caught.

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
More cameras for better safety?
Maelinar 2:13 pm 16 Aug 05

Spitfire3, my point is in reference to the fact that they are using these items as revenue gatherers, and not as speed limiting devices.

It’s actually human nature to slow down and then speed up after a camera.

My concern is the fact that there isn’t a difference between the two. Perhaps once you accrue a certain amount of speeding tickets, they become irrelevant and the fuller extent of the law could be applied ?

Nothing like a rectum hole the size of a 50cent coin to tell you ‘I should slow down a bit’.

Jazz 1:49 pm 16 Aug 05

There are three things that mobile speed vans have made people pay attention to.

The first is the location of mobile speed vans.

The second thing is the speedo.

The third thing is whatever you are about to run into while distracted by the first two things.

Try it yourself next time you drive past one.

Spitfire3 1:34 pm 16 Aug 05

I don’t know what the bet is, but if they are spaced apart enough for someone to slow down/speed up, why is it a problem?

-If they’re speeding past the first one, it should give them enough of a kick in the pants for them to slow down to the speed limit immediately.

-If they think, “well I’m already caught, so there’s no point slowing down now” then they have chosen to speed again and deserve the second fine.

-If they were speeding and slowed down to the limit for the first speed camera only to speed up again after it, they deserve a fine and the second camera will hopefully give it to them.

Maelinar 10:28 am 16 Aug 05

Actually 2 comments…

What’s the bet that within 1 year you will see the two vans chain linked along a busy motorway (parkway for example) to double dip.

(similar to the conventional speed trap setup after the van to catch those who speed up after they pass it).

Maelinar 10:10 am 16 Aug 05

My only comment is this is a knee jerk reaction, and yet again the semi-innocent populace is going to suffer for the dickheads that are probably better out of the gene pool.

Thumper 9:06 am 16 Aug 05


very good point. More education?

Ralph 8:54 am 16 Aug 05

It’s also worth noting that there has been an unusually large number of road deaths involving pedestrians this year.

Spectra 8:11 am 16 Aug 05

The vans were introduced years ago – you can’t possibly attribute a statistical glitch (which is all I think this year’s toll has been) to them. It is indeed “marked”, but is it statistically significant when you’re dealing with such small numbers overall? I’m not a statistician, but I doubt it.

I’m not trying to detract from the enormity that any death is for those around the person – every road death is a tragedy. But the media have a nasty habit of finding statistical significance where there isn’t any. My favourite was one of the commercial stations a few years ago claiming that the road toll was up “200%” from the same time the previous year! The numbers? 3 and 1. While they were technically correct, it was still a gross misuse of statistics to make something sound a lot more serious than it was.

Ralph 8:11 am 16 Aug 05

And what was it the year before? And the year before that? We had speed cameras then as well.

How many of the accidents around town this year has speed been a major factor in? I think alot of it comes down to carelessness.

Thumper 8:05 am 16 Aug 05

More speed cameras to slow down motorbikes? Um, motorbikes only have a rear number plate.

once again, nothing to do with road safety, this is pure, unadulterated revenue raising.

Money, money money…..

Special G 7:57 am 16 Aug 05

What do you mean Ralph – an increase of 10 to 17 is fairly marked I would say.


Ralph 7:49 am 16 Aug 05

I have to say that I agree with Steve Pratt. More police are needed.

Another speed camera van is just a cheap stunt aimed at raising revenue. Since speed camera vans were introduced there hasn’t been any marked change in the ACT road toll.

johnboy 11:00 pm 15 Aug 05

A ship in harbour is safe – but that is not what ships are for. – John A. Shedd

Fixed speed cameras can catch bikes. But the sneaky van ones certainly don’t.

And if they want road safety then more traffic police are the solution, because they provide education, and deterrence, as well as penalties.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 10:34 pm 15 Aug 05

The only way to prevent motor vehicle accidents is to not have motor vehicles…but that is almost certainly going too far.

Spectra 10:33 pm 15 Aug 05

What’s doubly odd about mixing talk of mobile speed cameras with motorcycle safety is that motorcycles are the one type of vehicle on the road that don’t have to worry about them – no numberplate on the front.

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