Residents cry foul over speed camera

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 00:17 10/07/2013
Donna Hawkins
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
WET PAINT: New road markings have appeared along Dinsdale Rd since a speed camera snapped Donna Hawkins doing 52kmh in the zone, which she says had been poorly signposted.

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A speed camera sting on a suburban Hamilton street has infuriated residents, but police are unrepentant.

Despite the fact the lower, 40kmh, speed limit has been in place on Dinsdale Rd since March, a van-mounted camera caught 633 motorists travelling over 50kmh in a six-hour period on June 6 - a rate close to one every 30 seconds.

But the police ploy was tantamount to entrapment, says Waikato Times reader Dean Barnes, who received two fines in one day.

Donna Hawkins said it "seems like a nasty ploy designed to collect revenue off local residents".

Ms Hawkins thought the postie must have been going to every house in Dinsdale the day she and her housemate each got notice of an $80 fine. She was clocked at 52kmh, her housemate at 51kmh, and she thinks they should be refunded because "inadequate" signage means people don't realise they are doing anything wrong.

"They are making criminals out of ordinary everyday people going about their everyday things."

Ms Hawkins also referred to Hamilton City Council's frequently asked questions section on safer speed areas, which said the council hoped not to collect any money as a result of the lower speed limits.

She wants Dinsdale Rd restored to 50kmh or clearer signage if it stays at 40kmh.

Stuart Campbell was surprised to get an $80 fine.

"I have been driving around the Dinsdale area for 25, 30 years, and it's been 50 for that long."

He wrote two letters to the police who advised the council.

The Waikato Times investigated claims from fined drivers, but while the council is moving to increase road markings, district prevention manager Inspector Rob Lindsay said fines would not be refunded.

"I don't know why we would want to.

"The speed limit's there, and the tickets that were issued were over 10km over the speed limit in a suburban street," he said.

"We want to make sure that people realise this is not about revenue collecting or bad by-laws, it is about saving lives and encouraging the practice of social driving."

Inspector Lindsay said police did not normally focus on suburban streets, but a speed camera van was taken to Dinsdale Rd because of residents' concerns.

He said the speed camera showed around 65 per cent of motorists on Dinsdale Rd did comply with it, but more education was needed.

He was not aware of any issues around signage on Dinsdale Rd, but said he would talk to council after questions from the Times.

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"If someone has said that they've come from an area where there was no signage, that's not acceptable."

At the time of the operation, safer speed zone signs were at either end of the road, but Hamilton City Council added road markings yesterday - within 24 hours of being contacted about the issue by the Times - while billboards were due up today.

It said they were a result of feedback from a couple of weeks ago.

Hamilton City Council's city transportation manager Phil Consedine said all changes to speed limits required public consultation.

The council notified residents by mail drop.

The council helped police select speed camera sites and safety concerns put Dinsdale Rd on the list.

But the council was not involved in the day-to-day deployment of cameras, he said.

- Waikato Times

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