In the last year in Bristol, 2744 motorists have received either fines or tickets for exceeding the speed limit in the new 20mph zones.
Avon and Somerset Police Superintendant Matthew Ayres said in 2013 that the force did not oppose the 20mph scheme, but would “encourage all to look at other ways that we can promote reducing speed limits effectively”. He then added that enforcement would not be routine, but be implemented where there was evidence of excessive speed.
Another spokesman for the constabulary then later confirmed that the force had begun enforcing the zones in September 2014. “We carry out enforcement at sites where we have received requests to do so from residents, the council, or members of the public.
“Anyone caught exceeding 20mph but who has not exceeded 31mph can elect to take an education course instead of a fixed penalty notice or they could challenge the notice in court.
“All motorists should be aware that whatever speed limit is in place in a given area, whether it is 20mph or 70mph, it can be enforced.
Andrew Coles, 48, received a ticket after travelling at 28mph in one of the zones. He claims that while driving down the road, which had speed bumps, he saw the mobile camera van but did not reduce his speed as he didn’t believe he was breaking the law. He believes that the rest of the public were also unaware that tickets were now being issued in the zones.
Angry at receiving the ticket, he continued to investigate, believing that the Police should have been more open about their change in enforcement tactics; apparently due to a change in legislation regarding how these speed limits should be enforced.
On the Force’s website he only found information dating back to 2013 stating it “does not enforce 20mph limits that are not engineered to be self-enforcing, utilising such things as speed bumps”. It also says that there are no educational courses, although that too has changed in the last two years.
“If I thought I was speeding I would have slowed down, or just held my hands up” says Mr. Coles.
“I have never had a speeding ticket before, and so when it came through the post stating ‘notice of intending prosecution’ I thought I was going to be taken to court.
“The website really doesn’t help and needs to be updated. I am just totally shocked and everyone I spoke to also thought it could not be enforced.
They have obviously changed their enforcement policy and just not bothered to tell anyone. When the speed cameras were switched back on, we all heard about it. Why didn’t they do the same with this?”
Local lawyer Paul Reddy said “Unfortunately there is no chance that the motorist’s argument will hold up in court. The limit is 20mph, it is sign-posted, and he exceeded it”.
He advised anyone facing prosecution over a speeding ticket to get legal advice.