Speed trap

PUBLISHED: 11:45 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

SIR, — I, like Cllr Judy Shardlow, have every sympathy with those unfortunate and luckless people who were caught speeding along Marford Road, Wheathampstead, but for very different reasons other than people running late ( Five caught in speed trap , He

SIR, - I, like Cllr Judy Shardlow, have every sympathy with those unfortunate and luckless people who were caught speeding along Marford Road, Wheathampstead, but for very different reasons other than "people running late" ("Five caught in speed trap", Herts Advertiser, June 26).

The whole speed limit set up and its incumbent signage along that stretch of road has purposely been stacked against unsuspecting motorists for years.

After negotiating the roundabout at Corey Wright-Way, within the 60mph limit, a motorist has to accelerate hard up the hill - because otherwise their car would stall - just to reach the summit, only to be confronted with a main 30mph sign on the brow. If they are to stay within the law they now have to brake hard to remain within the 30mph limit, which usually comes as a surprise to any vehicle following them.

However once over the top of the hill, gravity lends a hand, the driver is seduced and it is surprising many more motorists do not exceed the limit.

According to the law, travelling up to 60mph on one side of a line is perfectly OK whereas the other side of it, it is not. It is a disgrace that a 40mph buffer zone between the 60mph and 30mph zones has not been installed on that stretch of road.

On the July 31, 2007, at a Wheathampstead Parish Council meeting, Highways and Public Transport Committee, it was agreed that along Marford Road approaching Wheathampstead "a 40mph buffer zone is required between the 60mph zone and the 30mph zone".

Then on February 28, 2008, it was reported at another parish meeting that a "letter from Herts County Council indicated that the request for a 40mph limit from the Cory-Wright roundabout to be established as a buffer zone before the 30mph in Marford Road will be implemented as requested by this committee".

Well where is the 40mph buffer zone? If it had been installed before now and had been in existence, then the unlucky people caught speeding might never have broken the law in the first place.

Furthermore, once into the 30mph limit zone there is no indication that it is a speed-check area other than a small blue-and-white sign atop a post many hundreds of yards from the start of the zone - in fact it is the same pole as shown in your photograph with the policeman and Cllr Shardlow aiming a speed-check gun. To add insult to injury the sign is obscured by a leafy tree branch.

Why aren't motorists given some warning that they are likely to be clocked before this? Why aren't there any camera signs at the beginning of the 30mph limit zone as there are elsewhere in the county? After all the whole exercise was, as I thought, to keep motorists' speed down. The £300 fines for a two-hour stint sounds good to me!

If there is a life-or-death need to keep motorists within a 30mph limit along Marford Road, and I am in no doubt there is, then there are other sure-fire ways that should be used to accomplish this. Chicanes and speed humps are just two options.

Random portable radar checks by the police, who are only doing their job, serve only to raise cash for the local authority and to alienate the police from those whom they try to protect.

And by the way, I was not one of the ill-fated law-breakers on this occasion - I collected my fixed penalty five years ago.


Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead.

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