Spot checks show speed is misleading

Laura Bagshaw A CAR speeds along Bells Road in Gorleston easily breaking the 30mph speed limit… or so it seems. A speed gun is aimed at the vehicle in question by officers from Gorleston Safer Neighbourhood Team which reveals it is in fact travelling at just 21 mph.

Laura Bagshaw

A CAR speeds along Bells Road in Gorleston easily breaking the 30mph speed limit… or so it seems.

A speed gun is aimed at the vehicle in question by officers from Gorleston Safer Neighbourhood Team which reveals it is in fact travelling at just 21 mph.

And while many residents believe speeding is a big issue in the town, particularly in areas around Lowestoft Road, police reckon a lot of the time it is a matter of misconception with cars appearing to travel faster because roads are narrow and are often lined with cars parked bumper to bumper.

The Mercury joined PC Dave Punter and community support officer Jo Larkman on Wednesday morning during a routine speed check around the town focusing on Lowestoft Road, Bells Road, Springfield Road, and Englands Lane.

At the team's last priority setting meeting in July members of the public set police the task of focusing on speeding in and around Lowestoft Road, with many residents stating they had witnessed cars travelling at about 40mph in some places.

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Since that meeting the team has carried out around 14 speed checks and four motorists caught travelling at 34mph have been given warnings. The team has not found the need to hand out fixed penalty notices.

On Wednesday morning officers start by visiting Bells Road and a car which appears to motor along the road fairly quickly is in fact just travelling at 21 mph.

The next car is clocked at a mere 16 mph but again, due to the narrow road and a line of parked cars on one side, it appears to move a lot faster.

PSCO Larkman emphasised that speed checks were not carried out to catch drivers and dish out fines but instead the high visibility checks acted as a prevention measure.

The team moves onto Springfield Road where it is hard to imagine drivers would want to travel at more than 30mph given the tight road with cars parked either side in fear of knocking a wing mirror. It is quiet so officers go to Lowestoft Road where the fastest car is clocked at 31mph. Police log the speeds of more than 90 vehicles and the average speed is about 25mph. And locals even showed their appreciation by giving officers the thumbs up as they drove past.

PCSO Larkman said factors such as the size of the vehicles and noise from engines or exhausts could give people an impression the vehicle was speeding when actually it was well within the limit.

At Englands Lane it's a similar story with two cars clocked - the first at 22mph and the other at 19mph. Out of more than 100 speeds logged the top was 31mph.

PC Punter said while the team had received complaints about speeding, checks and statistics did not support those claims. “It literally is a handful of people that speed but we have not found the complaints to be accurate with our checks.”