Last Word: Time triallers in Stevenage consider themselves above the law
OVER the past few weeks, the issue of time trialling in Stevenage has become a hot topic, writes Louise McEvoy. About 100 drivers are gathering every Thursday evening on Gunnels Wood Road in the town, taking turns to race down a stretch of the road. I hav
OVER the past few weeks, the issue of time trialling in Stevenage has become a hot topic, writes Louise McEvoy.
About 100 drivers are gathering every Thursday evening on Gunnels Wood Road in the town, taking turns to race down a stretch of the road.
I have spoken to a number of those involved, who have all readily admitted to speeding. One estimated reaching speeds of up to 70mph in the 40mph zone.
Police maintain that drivers are reaching speeds in excess of 100mph. Video footage from police, which is currently on The Comet's website at www.thecomet24.co.uk shows a police car reaching speeds of up to 89mph in a bid to catch up with two speeding cars.
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But whether cars are travelling at 70mph or 100mph, the drivers are still breaking the law and it seems this fact is being dismissed out of hand by those involved.
Drivers have referred to it as "a little bit of speeding", saying they are "under control", and directing reprehension at the police for spoiling their "bit of fun".
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But it is not fun, because people's lives are at risk. It's not a game and someone could easily be killed.
Speed limits are imposed for a reason, and it is not acceptable for a group of people to ignore them and think themselves above the law.
It is also unjust for these time triallers to repeatedly drive at excessive speeds without consequence, when you or I could be penalised for travelling 45mph once along Gunnels Wood Road.
One driver told me there was nothing else to do in the town, but this is simply not true. On the leisure park alone, there are numerous bars, restaurants and clubs, as well as a bowling alley and a cinema.
In any case, it is not acceptable to become reckless and to put other people's lives at risk, as well as your own, because you feel you have nothing else to do.
I accept that these people are car enthusiasts, who want to meet to share their common interest, but racing up and down Gunnels Wood Road is not acceptable and cannot continue.
Policing so far has appeared ineffective, with only three arrests made - none for speeding - over the past two months.
I fail to understand why police have not yet used a speed gun in their efforts to crack down on the meets.
I also wonder if it would be possible to reach a compromise in this situation. Is there not an area which could be made available to these drivers late at night once a week?
The police could get involved and the event could be properly controlled, with the risk to members of the public eradicated and the risk to the time triallers greatly reduced.
Positive PR for the police would result in a win-win situation.
This game of cat and mouse the police and the drivers seem to be playing is dangerous and cannot be allowed to continue.
Someone will die or be seriously injured if something is not done soon.