The Alberta government recently proclaimed that it will be banning photo radar ‘fishing holes’ on ring roads in Edmonton and Calgary starting Dec. 1st. Is that the right thing to do?
The arguments over increasing speed limits and speed enforcement allowances predictably fall into two camps; one right and one righteous.
One camp maintains that if you hit something at a higher rate of speed, you do more damage, ergo ‘speed kills’.
The other camp extols that many of our roadways have artificially low limits on them, our cars are built to go faster and drivers can handle higher speeds. Besides, everyone does it anyway and don’t forget — photo radar is nothing but a cash cow for the government.
The problem is that these two camps share the road. As a driver, I’m not expecting you to be doing 20 or 30 kph over the speed limit, cutting in and out of traffic like a fool. Likewise, I’m also not expecting you to be putzing along in the fast lane, doing 20 kph under the speed limit. You don’t need to be a cyclist clamouring for separate bike lanes to realize that vehicles moving at differing rates of speed is one of the most dangerous situations all road users face.
Are some drivers capable of handling higher speeds? Sure, some are, but the problem is that it has to be everyone or no one. And a higher speed limit, or allowing a larger ‘tolerance level’ on speed enforcement would just encourage some to go faster still, which is another problem with allowing increased speeds — some drivers are just selfish idiots when given the chance.
Road users are all safest when we are all predictable and in control of our vehicles. One of the yardsticks used to attain that goal is what maintaining and enforcing reasonable speed limits is all about.
Speaking of safety, which do you think would be safer for those motorists who insist on speeding on the Henday in traffic; having a photo radar camera take your picture as you go zooming by, or else having a traffic cop attempt to jump out onto the highway in front of a vehicle doing in excess of 120 kph and have everyone suddenly jamming on their brakes?
Bring back photo radar, please.
Randy Kish, St. Albert