Thursday, 12 August 2010


Thanks to Oxfordshire County Council cuts we now no longer have any speed cameras in the county and, according to their own statistics and national news coverage, a lot more cars are speeding as a result. The Tory County Council will of course blame the government for these cuts but this was a local decision.

Blaming central government might be a good retort if it wasn't for the fact that, for example, we still have an array of utterly pointless electronic road signs - all emblazoned with the county council badge - which were installed last year to give me such vital information as 'Think! Bike' and that if going to Oxford I should use the Park and Ride. Couldn't both these entirely valid messages have been displayed via the medium of a poster or even a sturdy metal sign, since both remain important whatever the day? These signs are a gimmick and to remove them would be to admit an error in installing them in the first place. Step forward, hubris.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of politically expedient buck-passing over cuts and some of this will be valid but shouldn't the county council have considered more obvious and sensible savings to the roads budgets before endangering road users.

Speaking of the Park and Ride, I use it a few times a year yet I subsidise its more regular use by others as the County Council decided, in an election year, that the car parks should be free to use. I wonder if some savings could be found here by charging the people who use this service. I only ask...

The buck stops at County Hall and any politician worth their salt would look again at the decision to shut down the speed cameras, which is demonstrably - by their own evidence - an error with significant risks.

Should they insist that all is fine and dandy with their road safety policy, I wonder if they might respond to the outcry from residents over the appalling state of our roads following the freeze of last winter - not helped by the abject failure of the county council to grit more than about 10% of roads. Surely roads without huge holes in them are safer?

Until common sense breaks out at County Hall, roads such as the busy A44 in Woodstock will witness the return of Wacky Races through this popular tourist destination while pedestrians flee as more cars, lorries and buses race through, particularly down a rather steep hill which has a well used zebra crossing at the bottom.

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