Evidence shows that the visible presence of Speed Watch has a significant effect on the overall level of speeding traffic but that the effect wears off after a few months. It is, therefore, to everyone’s advantage for the scheme to be repeated at regular intervals.
Community Speed Watch is only allowed to operate during limited daylight hours. Residents report vehicles travelling too fast late at night or in the early hours but this, unfortunately, is not an issue that can be addressed by this scheme.
The second Community Speed Watch scheme in Birstall ran during the first two weeks of May 2016. Volunteer teams monitored traffic speed for a total of twenty-one and a half hours over fourteen days, at different times during the day, at six locations in the village.
BRN Birstall Road by the Scout Hut
BRM Birstall Road by Acorn Close
BRS Birstall Road by the Coop Sports & Social Club
GLM Greengate Lane by Ambergate Drive
WLN Wanlip Lane by Dalby Avenue
WLS Wanlip Lane by Orchard Road
These roads all have a speed limit of 30 mph but this is reduced to 20 mph on part of Greengate Lane when the School Safety Zone warning lights are flashing. Loughborough Road has a speed limit of 40 mph and could not be included in the scheme.
The Speed Watch criteria require vehicles to be travelling over 35 mph before they can be logged. This is reduced to 24 mph in the School Safety Zone.
The first Scheme in 2015 monitored eight roads that residents had identified as having a speeding problem. It quickly became clear that, while some streets were used as shortcuts at busy times, very few of the vehicles were actually speeding. Volunteers using the speed gun soon realised that vehicles often appeared to be travelling faster than they were in reality.
The vast majority of speeding vehicles were logged on Birstall Road and Greengate Lane. However, at that time Wanlip Lane was subject to major road works and traffic had little opportunity to even reach the speed limit. In 2016 it was decided to focus on these three roads. An extra monitoring point was added at the north end of Birstall Road.
An offending vehicle’s registration number, make and colour are recorded and must agree with the DVLA database before the Police will take action. Nobody can be prosecuted as a consequence of being logged by Speed Watch but warning letters are sent from the Chief Constable to the registered owners. The purpose is to raise awareness of speed limits; to make drivers more conscious of the reasons they are in place; and to warn them that they would have been be liable to prosecution if they had been logged by the Police.
The tables show that most of the day-time speeding occurs on Birstall Road and Greengate Lane. The number of vehicles exceeding the 20 mph limit in the School Safety Zone gives particular cause for concern.
|*During the 20 mph School Safety Zone|
|Session Hours||Speeding Vehicles||Average per Hour|
The Police have since advised that 142 letters were sent to offending drivers and two, more strongly worded, letters were sent to repeat offenders.
In twenty-three cases the details of the vehicles (number, colour and make) did not match the official records.
Another twenty-three vehicles were registered in non-neighbouring counties. The Police have made the decision not to send letters, although it is accepted that they were in the location at the time.
The remaining vehicles were omitted for a number of reasons, mainly where the actual driver could not be easily identified, e.g. hired cars.
We should like to thank all those volunteers who gave up their time to help make our roads safer for us all by monitoring traffic or by collating and sending the data to County Hall on a daily basis.
Footnote: In April 2016, Birstall Parish Council purchased a speed gun for official Police use. Birstall and Wanlip Neighbourhood Watch has assumed the responsibility of paying for its annual calibration and certification, in order that it can be used to support prosecutions. It is for the exclusive use of our local Beat Team and is permanently available to them. This will enable them to increase the frequency of Police speed checks in our area.