LOCKDOWN RASH OF RACERS
"Many vehicles are travelling much too fast on Romsey's suburban roads," says Romsey's County Councillor, Mark Cooper. "It is time that the Hampshire Constabulary stamped down on the rash of speeding on the emptier roads. The whole aim of the lockdown is to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed. Road traffic injuries increase exponentially if speed is involved. Surely, therefore, it's in the national interest to police speeding."
Cllr Cooper emailed Test Valley's District Commander, Chief Inspector Kory Thorne, on 6 April about vehicles speeding on local roads. CI Thorne referred the matter to the local sergeant, Sgt. Smith who stated he does not have the equipment for speed enforcement. He also contacted the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner but all he got back was a form to fill in.
"A month has passed and I'm still receiving complaints about speeding on Romsey's roads at a time when there are pedestrians taking their permitted daily exercise and more cyclists about, all of whom are intimidated by the speed of traffic passing by only inches away on many of Romsey's narrow roads," says Cllr Cooper.
"I'm told that one in ten motorists obey the speed limits; when there are plenty of vehicles around that creates a convoy effect so speeding becomes effectively self-policing. But there are many fewer vehicles at present. The problem is that the one in ten drivers are the ones staying at home, obeying the lockdown rules. Thus there's no convoy effect and no self-policing.
In one email Cllr Cooper received this week a resident wrote, "I am writing to you as I am becoming increasingly concerned about the number of cars and motorcycles in Romsey exceeding the speed limit especially during the current lockdown, I would say 75% are going at least 40mph, if not more, along Botley Road. With less cars on the road it appears drivers seem to think they can go even faster than usual and where I live it is becoming somewhat of a race track. With more people out cycling and jogging, along with people walking, and families often with young children, I feel it is becoming a dangerous situation. Plus the fact that people are stepping into the road to maintain the social distancing rule they could potentially be risking their lives, not to put too fine a point on it. On my daily walks in different areas of the town and surroundings it has become apparent that a lot drivers are taking many risks and ignoring the speed limit altogether."
"Everything my constituent says is just plain common sense so I have today sent another plea about speeding traffic to Acting Chief Inspector Chris Taylor. He tells me that the police share my concerns about people driving at excess speed and that Neighbourhood Officers have been conducting a speed enforcement campaign across the Test Valley. Let's hope their campaign is effective," says Cllr Cooper.