THOUSANDS of speeding offences were recorded along one of Cardiff’s busiest roads a week after a speed camera was activated there.
A freedom of information (FOI) request made to South Wales Police (SWP) found that 4,293 Notices of Intended Prosecution (NIPs) were issued to drivers who were caught driving over 30mph on Western Avenue from the day the camera was activated, on June 26, to July 3.
By July 3, a 30mph speed limit sign had been attached to the speed camera which is located opposite the Excelsior Road junction.
The FOI also also found that 623 NIPs were issued during the week following this sign having been installed (July 4 to July 11).
One local councillor has been campaigning for years for clearer signage indicating that Western Avenue is a 30mph zone.
Cardiff Council ward member for Llandaff, Councillor Sean Driscoll, said: “What these figures show, is, if drivers are alerted to the speed restrictions with clear signage, the vast majority of drivers will respect the limit.
“At this location it shows that when the 30mph sign was placed on the camera, drivers slowed down.”
Western Avenue has been a 30mph zone since 2021.
However, many drivers complained after the speed camera was activated, saying that there were no clear 30mph signs between the road’s junction with Ely Road and Excelsior Road.
There is a red warning sign indicating that the speed limit has changed to 30mph, but some drivers argued that this bilingual sign is difficult to read whilst driving and that the text is too small.
Cardiff Council said motorists should know that street lighting indicates a 30mph zone is in place and that this is something which is contained in the Highway Code.
Cllr Driscoll added: “Anything that makes drivers aware of the new 30mph speed limit is welcome, but I would rather see, as I’ve been requesting for two years, a comprehensive speed awareness campaign, 30mph repeater signs, VAS (Vehicle Activated Signs) and if traffic is still speeding, then as a last resort, enforcement.
“To be clear I’m not defending or making excuses for speeding drivers. I want what residents want, traffic to slow down on Western Avenue.”
Data from the FOI shows that many of the drivers who were caught speeding in the first week of the camera’s activation were doing between 35mph and 50mph.
Three drivers were caught doing over 60mph.
One of the Liberal Democrat councillors for Gabalfa, Councillor Ashley Wood, said: “We are told the purpose of speed camera is to reduce vehicle speed and improve safety for everyone.
“Clearly, as the evidence suggests here, by improving signage this reduces speeding then what possible argument could there be against this?”
When asked about calls for better signage along Western Avenue last month, a Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “The request made for repeater signs at this location would be illegal, under the ‘Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions’ legislation which states that 30mph repeater signs are not allowed to be put up in areas where there is street lighting.
“Motorists will also see signs indicating that speed cameras are in the area and so we advise everyone using the highway network to abide by the Highway Code and to drive safely and within the speed limits that are set in law.”
A spokesperson for Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, also known as GoSafe, said: “The absence of speed camera signs, providing all speed limit signage is correct, does not invalidate or prohibit enforcement, but should be present if feasible to install.
“There are no grounds to challenge a speeding offence because there were no speed camera warning signs present.”