Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Speeding increases in Oxfordshire after camera switch-off

Rates of drivers speeding nearly doubles at one location

The number of drivers speeding at one location in Oxfordshire has nearly doubled since speed cameras were switched off there at the end of last month, according to Thames Valley’s Safer Roads Partnership.

The partnership found that 62 drivers passing a deactivated speed camera on Watlington Road, Cowley, opposite Oxford’s BMW Mini plant, were speeding, an 88% rise since before the camera was turned off.

At another location in the historic town of Woodstock, site of Blenheim Palace, 110 people were found to be speeding, an increase of 18% on the levels observed earlier in the year before the camera on the A44, a main route into the Cotswolds, was turned off.

In both cases, the speed of drivers was surveyed from last Thursday through to Monday.

Inspector Paul Winks of Thames Valley Police told the BBC that the finings were "disappointing," saying: "It clearly means switching off the camera has given a green light to a small number of people to break the law.”

He added: "The consequence is more death and more death is unacceptable."

Ellen Booth, from the road safety charity Brake, Ellen Booth, said that it was “extremely concerned” about the incident, adding: "This is people's lives we are talking about.”

She continued: "What we would like to see is councils looking at the issue of speed cameras, not only at how effective they are in reducing death and serious injuries, but also how cost effective they are."

Oxfordshire County Council switched off speed cameras across the county on July 31 after it withdrew £600,000 funding as a result of cuts made necessary by the coalition government slashing theRoad Safety Grant by 40% from £95 million to £57 million.

However, Keith Mitchell, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that it was too early to tell what the impact of that decision was, with the sample only covering five days and two locations out of 72 throughout the county.

"You need a much longer look at the statistics before we can decide whether there is an increase in danger or not,” he insisted.

"Unless the funding from government comes back, I think there is little chance of us being able to fund this, relative to the other priorities we have," Mr Mitchell added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


jcwconsult | 13 years ago

Prior to the advent of speed cameras, Great Britain used the proven engineering principle to set posted speed limits on main roads at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic. This methodology was developed about 70 years ago and tends to produce the lowest accident rate and the smoothest traffic flow with the fewest conflicts between vehicles. This helped to produce the world leading record of year over year reductions in the fatality rate per mile traveled. Britain COULD take a big step to return to this world leadership by returning to the 85th percentile method to set posted speed limits on all main roads and Motorways. At the same time, she could redirect traffic enforcement against dangerous drivers to improve safety, instead of versus technical violators of artificially low posted speed limits to produce revenue. Ticket revenue will decrease but safety will increase. Each governmental region in the UK must decide which is more important -- collecting ticket revenue or saving lives? I know how the Association of British Drivers and the US NMA would vote, how will the various UK regional governments vote?
Regards, James C. Walker, Member of the National Motorists Association (like the ABD),, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA (I am a very frequent visitor to Britain, my wife is from West Yorkshire.)

millook | 13 years ago

 19 Perhaps the police will get off their backsides and use mobile speed cameras in built up areas.

skippy | 13 years ago

Heavy traffic in Woodstock puts cyclists at risk and i have memories of "near misses" whilst riding both directions. Cowley at the "Bull nose PUB( i think!?) " was a serious of traffic lights with motorists ignoring the lights let alone the posted speed limits.

OXFORD Council lost money to Iceland banks so must be cutting corners at the risk of a few deaths! When you consider that A death is reputed to cost the taxpayer about a million then their cost saving exercise will be additional taxes levied on the rate payer in the near future

Fish_n_Chips | 13 years ago

I regard myself as a good driver, no fear and have a few good track sessions under my belt.

Speed is great but there is a place for it. But when I'm doing 75mph max and you see people shooting past well thats taking the pi55!

More speed cameras are needed!

Good drivers? you are having a laugh, mistakes happen and you should take consideration for others on the road you might injure or kill.

timlennon | 13 years ago

But surely this isn't necessarily a problem? After all speeding doesn't kill, but bad drivers do. Drivers are all competent to decide, at any given moment, the appropriate speed for a situation, and we should respect that, no?

I suppose we should be pleased someone has made the effort to try to analyse changes as a result of switching the camera off ...

t1mmyb replied to timlennon | 13 years ago

Speeding might not in and of itself kill, but along the way it degrades communities and increases the amount of risk vulnerable road users are exposed to.

I see plenty of drivers who are (I'm sure) really "good" drivers but who pay scant regard to the speed limit.

I drive every day - more's the pity - and I stick at or below the limit in order to respect the people whose communities I drive through as much as anything else.

Tony Farrelly replied to timlennon | 13 years ago
timlennon wrote:

But surely this isn't necessarily a problem? After all speeding doesn't kill, but bad drivers do. Drivers are all competent to decide, at any given moment, the appropriate speed for a situation, and we should respect that, no?

Speed doesn't kill, bad drivers going too fast do… hands up who thinks they're a bad driver?

That's the point, lots of us aren't competent enough drivers to make those decisions - we just think we are

t1mmyb | 13 years ago

"You need a much longer look at the statistics before we can decide whether there is an increase in danger or not,” he insisted.

No you don't. Statistics are a crock. What matters is people's perception of safety (for people not encased in a steel-and-glass cage), and exposure to risk.

Both of these have clearly got worse but, if people (cyclists, pedestrians) avoid the area as a result of their perception and there's no-one there to KSI, the road will *look* safe and it's these stats that the Ass. of British Nutters Drivers will use to "prove" that cameras make no difference to safety.

Latest Comments