James Barker, Liberal Democrat Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner candidate for North Yorkshire, has warned that speeding and dangerous driving could become a legacy of lockdown and has pledged to review the Police’s efforts to tackle the issue on North Yorkshire’s roads.
Government data has shown that during the first national lockdown between April and June 2020, the proportion of cars exceeding the speed limit increased sharply compared to the January to March 2020 period. This has led to concerns that speeding may become a legacy of lockdown, particularly in residential areas.
James Barker commented:
“Government data confirms what many of us have seen in our communities over the last year. Lower traffic volumes have led to some shocking levels of speeding, particularly on 30mph roads. This behaviour puts lives at risk and could undermine efforts to encourage more people to walk and cycle if it seen as unsafe.
"There is no excuse for driving dangerously. It is appalling to think that one of the legacies of the lockdown could be a total disregard for speed limits and the safety of other road users.
“If elected I would want to work with local cycling groups to better understand their concerns when it comes to road safety. As well as speeding, I am aware that ‘close passing’ of cyclists by motorists is a significant concern. Police forces such as Northamptonshire have launched initiatives to tackle this problem, and I want North Yorkshire to follow suit.”
James Barker has pledged that, if elected, he will oversee a review of North Yorkshire Police’s approach to enforcing speed limits, as well as exploring ways to increase collaboration with local authorities and communities to promote community safety.
The North Yorkshire PFCC website (https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/how-can-we-help/common-problems/speeding/) sets out the current approach which includes a guide for residents on how to report speed concerns. It also promotes ‘Operation Spartan’ through which residents who witness the anti-social use of vehicles or poor driving can make an online report. But anyone who clicks on the link to find out more, gets the error message “Sorry, page not found.”
James commented: “A good place to start would be to get the PFCC website up-to-date. I want to review how North Yorkshire’s approach compares with other forces in terms of the success of its efforts to tackle speeding and dangerous driving. This could include reviewing how mobile speed cameras are deployed and revisiting the issue of fixed speed cameras, of which North Yorkshire Police currently have none.”
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