Speed camera problems the safety message

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Last Updated : 28 August 2012

This is the continuing draft. Links and information to faulty speed cameras are at the end of the page it you want to skip my views.

Since this site is about the fastest production bike on the planet it is natural for me to include commentary about speed enforcement issues. The regulation of speed is an issue which effects most of us whether you own a Hayabusa or not. On the Hayabusa exceeding the speed limit for almost any road is just a twist away and in a couple of seconds so you as riders should acknowledge it seriously, not that you don’t already.

The speed factor, usually excessive is usually the first thing that is said and implied as the major factor in the cause of the accident when reporting but we all know that it's not. It's much more - such as driver in-attention, poor condition of the car or motorcycle and the road, poorly managed public transport, lousy driver education and skills, simplistic and often intelligence insulting speed kills advertising. Using the words 'excessive speed' is not fact just an opinion.

What prompted me to do this re-write and update was by the latest advertising I was watching on TV in 2010 which was really good UNTIL they went on about speeding. I wish it said the truth - ride within your abilities and don't be a idiot because there are more idiots on the road and idiots don't mix. The advertising goes further to in essence blaming motorcyclists for accidents. I have seen far more stupid car drivers than motorcycle riders. This advertising is just plain ineffective and a waste of money and clearly done by people who have no idea.

It has been over a decade of claiming speed kills, the world has moved on - the cars and motorcycles are much safer but the roads have gotten worse. The speeds limits are mostly lower and there are much more cars on the road. Drive anywhere and its not speed that causes accidents. Yet Governments and local council use speed or safety cameras as their primary methods of controlling speed. What you probably didn't realise is that the business case for the purchases and justification of speed cameras is not based on safety but on the ease of installing and the impression of scientific or provable results and of course generating revenue.

The reality and major problem with that is that the cameras are not properly maintained and are simply not accurate. Of course there is an increasing publicity and people getting annoyed at these increasingly outright errors. Get it right or get rid of them. Stop using speeding as an excuse and solution to accidents and try to justify them with equally faulty statistics.

For example in Australia - Victoria - Melbourne 2003 – The famed Western Ring road with its supposed 40 or so cameras where turned off because they taking pictures of cars supposedly speeding. In reality the cameras had been FAULTY for some time and that no one bothered to have them repaired. The government didn’t do anything because they essentially can’t be trusted (As demonstrated by this event). It’s got nothing to do with the Police as the cameras are outsourced in VIC ! It's even more dreadful to know that they don’t even know when the cameras started to be faulty.

It took the brave and resourceful owner of a Datsun 120Y – Vennessa Bridges to solve the problem and basically show the government for what they where more interested in revenue rather than actual safety. The Datsun 120Y was recorded travelling at 158kph in reality the driver was probably only doing much less (if that) and lets face it, it is a 30 year old car. The owner proved that it is impossible for the 120Y to go 158kph. It's top speed in new condition was reported to be 137kph – that’s right NEW condition. So all road users should be thankful to her.

(It also brings up the issue of innocent before proven guilty. It is clear that the legal system really needs to be fixed as well.)

To make matters even more ironic the Victorian government has said that they will be only a 3kph buffer before you get a ticket. So if you go 64kph in a 60 zone you get a ticket. I’m sure you can see the irony of the situation. Everyone knows that vehicle speedos are not accurate to this sort of degree. Besides in VIC you could be going 50kph and the cameras say your doing 80kph what are you going to do? Yes the Victorian speed cameras are that wrong.

Anyway the cameras will be turned on again soon but really would you believe them again? So if you get one on the road ask for proof before you pay up - not he photo by the proof the speed camera is accurate.

Note that although the cameras have been off all year there have been less accidents on the road than before. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. Doesn’t stop reckless low speed driving seen ALL the time in Melbourne since the roads are getting full capacity. Which brings up the issue of how statistics are reported ! For example you have an accident

The balance of this article is biased to the road users as it has been too long that governments have been trying to lay the blame on the ‘speed’ factor. Lets take a proper approach everyone and deal with what the real issue is. (Eg intoxication is a far more dangerous situation than speed!) That factor being driver training ALL road users should be re-trained appropriately and immediately AND tell the government at all levels they’re are irresponsible, out of touch especially so when it comes to dealing with transportation issues…. Stop the silly blame it on ‘speed’ before we all go blind.

This article was originally written by Gavin Smith, edit and updated by me.

More info on the Datsun 120Y here if you don't believe me.

I saw a report on the Today Tonight program about more problems with speed cameras in Victoria... surprise, surprise.  Apparently stationary cars (ie parked car) where given a tickets and even trucks which have no hope of even reaching the speed limit given tickets.  Check it out at : http://seven.com.au/todaytonight

Update 11/8/2005

The latest news on the speed camera front is quite dramatic: Finally some in Sydney has challenged the validity of the pictures that where taken by the cameras themselves.  You see even if a have a picture taken there is no way of checking if the picture is actually genuine.  Ie. The picture has not been tampered with. These days anyone can Photoshop it! 

The thing is that the Road authorities knew about this problem for years but did nothing.  The up shot is that not only did they realise the flaws and inaccuracy of the speed detection equipment but chose to deliberately ignore the security of the system its self. One day some hacker will tap into the system and give every politicians tremendous speed ticket..

Update 3/2/2006

More Government Spy stories - this article is actually quite balanced !

 Eyes on the road - Technology

Update 14/8/2006

As more people read this article I'm being sent more information on how really inaccurate these devices are.  Naturally all those who actually put their faith in the accuracy of modern technology may be disappointed.  Most of use agree that if these pieces of equipment are accurate its fair enough but if this report actually proves how conditional and indeed unreliable they are then it's not lawful or fair is it.

They clocked a fence doing 12kph. 

www.seven.com.au/todaytonight/story/?id=29587

Update 17/7/2006

More people are getting fed up with the latest speed cameras not measuring speed correctly.  Even the latest cameras here in Melbourne are still not working correctly and there are several court actions currently taking place to determine whether this is true or not.

Update 25/7/2008

This article is about radar detectors in Australia. It is illegal to sell radar detectors in Australia unless you live in WA. However you can buy one from WA or overseas.  That said, you can have one but it is illegal to actually use one in Australia!

Radar detectors are precision equipment and there it is a life saver no matter how you think about! Unfortunately because it is a banned device along with no other reason than revenue raising objectives it is political.

I wish someone AKA a university could do a study into pros and cons or radar detectors rather than just the usual suspects.

www.theage.com.au/news/technology/radar-detection-bust

Also I believe that the Westgate bridge in Melbourne, it's speed cameras are not operating due to optics that are effected by weather conditions. And if the optics are faulty how about the speed sensors? How long have these people known about this why did they waste money on a system that obviously cannot function in a salt spray and sever wind effected location?

If you live in NSW check here for some more error prone speed cameras

If you visit the Southland Shopping Center (Sandringham) in Victoria these red light cameras are really faulty. Sure they've been fixed, but the fact the problem is still in court - it was broken!

More faulty cameras in Victoria

Update 22/10/2008

There are more problems with the latest Victorian point to point speed camera technology. The reason they provide is basically a faulty clock. What is more terrible is that no-one had bothered to check the system until it had been broken for some UNKNOWN period. How many more cameras are fining people incorrectly. Here are some links but there is plenty more if you do a quick search.

Do not trust any speed fine you get no matter where it supposedly happened (unless you know you're speeding of course) because the system is inaccurate often outright wrong. Make the Government pay for its stupidity now and a vote of no confidence in speed cameras.

www.heraldsun.com.au
news.smh.com.au
www.fullyloaded.com.au

Update 28/8/2012

Here's another news story on inaccurate speed cameras and why no one should trust the result. Stationary bus - at bus stop fined for 70Km Aside from the obvious error the fact that they had to go to court to overturn the fine and that there are thousands of them every year is, not cost effective, detrimental on the falsely accused and a public relations disaster.

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