Are they worth it? Sheffield speed cameras failing to cut accidents

Speed Camera on Sheffield Parkway
Speed Camera on Sheffield Parkway
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SPEED cameras have failed to cut accidents at almost half of all sites where they have been installed in South Yorkshire.

Cameras operate at 56 different locations around the county and road safety campaigners say they are an ‘exceptionally effective’ tool in reducing accidents.

But data from South Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership reveals accidents where people were killed or seriously injured fell at only 27 of the camera sites – and actually increased at 24.

The partnership is one of only 46 of 151 authorities around the UK to release accident figures for each of its camera sites.

The biggest positive difference achieved by speed cameras has been on the A616 Stocksbridge Bypass where there were 36 accidents where people were killed or seriously injured between 1990 and 2002, but only nine after average speed cameras were installed in 2002.

Locations in Sheffield where cameras have been ineffective include the A625 Ecclesall Road South, Banner Cross, where there was only one accident in the eight years before the camera was installed – but six serious collisions in the 13 years afterwards.

At three other sites in Sheffield, statistics from the Safety Camera Partnership show increased collisions after cameras were installed.

There were two serious collisions in the nine years before a camera was installed on the A57 Sheffield Parkway approaching Victoria Quays in 1998 – but three in the nine years after.

And there were two serious crashes after cameras were installed on the A61 Penistone Road at Grenoside, compared with one in the years beforehand, while on the A6135 at Birley Moor Road, Sheffield, there were three serious accidents before the cameras were installed and four after.

The number of serious accidents was identical in the years before and after speed cameras were installed on the A57 at Manchester Road, Crosspool, and on the A61 Penistone Road, Neepsend.

South Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership’s figures show accidents each year at each site, from 1990 onwards. Cameras were installed at different sites in 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2007.

During the period covered by the statistics, at four sites there were no fatal or serious accidents before a camera was installed, then several incidents immediately after.

Figures also suggest differing effectiveness of cameras across South Yorkshire. In Barnsley, accident rates had increased at 16 of the 23 camera sites, fallen at six and stayed the same at one, whereas levels have fallen at all three sites in Doncaster where cameras have been installed.

At Sheffield’s 16 camera sites, accident rates have fallen at 10, risen at four and stayed the same at two. In Rotherham, accident rates fell at eight of 14 sites, rose at four and stayed the same at two.