Sunday, June 11, 2006

Driving in Anglesey

To any visitor or stranger to Anglesey I must say "Watch your driving speed!" Anglesey is policed by the North Wales Police Force who have a Chief Constable obsessed with the crime of speeding. Coming over to Anglesey from Manchester in the east you have to watch your speed as soon as you are in North Wales. This begins just outside Queensferry.

Basically you drive westwards along the A55 after skirting Queensferry. For the most part, if you travel at the same speed as everyone else you don't seem to attract trouble. Pay particular attention to the 50mph speed limit through Colwyn Bay and all should be well. Eventually you come to the 50mph limit over the Britannia Bridge which makes sense. After that the problems arise. I warned a friend of mine who had come on a visit in her new car to watch her speed. Too late! She had already been caught in the Pentraeth area on the A5025. This has been a spot where many speeders have been caught. It is not that all drivers deliberately drive at breakneck speed through Pentraeth. Last year when Mavis was "caught on camera" the 30mph limit through Pentraeth was very short and many people were caught. However the limit now applies all through the entire village. From the bridges it is approached downhill in a 50mph zone in a stretch with many trees to restrict your vision of the 30mph sign. However, if you are driving quickly there is a warning flash straight after the start of the 30mph zone. In the opposite direction you approach through a 40mph restricted zone along a level road. This gives you less excuse for being caught.

There is, however, a problem for drivers. On the entire island there is not one single fixed speed camera. The police force uses a fleet of "Arrive Alive" vans in a variety of colours. You spot them when you see a rear window dropped open and a lens in the darkness behind. Pentraeth is an area where the vans were very active, but less so today. There are a number of short laybys they can use but they seem to prefer to park half off the road on a verge to catch you out. Wherever they are, they are waiting to record your speed, so you have to be very aware of the speed limits which change according to where you are. In other words, there is a moving target all over the island.

To be fair to them we do have a significant number of fatal accidents, many of which will include the speed factor. Like other places we experience drivers who cannot wait to overtake just because you are in front. In relatively few places on this single carriageway A5025 is it safe to overtake. Where there is extra width or an occasional short second lane you can be sure drivers will take advantage. But they often have to adopt racing circuit tactics to complete the manoevre. You now begin to see the need for anti-speeding tactics on the part of the police.

If you decide to come to Anglesey and even if you are a user of secondary roads anywhere in North Wales you need to be aware of the speed traps which keep moving. We are told it is too expensive to use fixed point speed cameras so we get the moving traps to contend with. When you are caught you will receive your letter in about 7 days. However, if you report a prowler you will not get your police visit at all. Clearly speeding is not something you can accuse the police of! Even elderly drivers, who normally drive far more cautiously than the rest of us, get caught in these moving speed traps. So, on Anglesey, no one goes to heaven with a clean licence!

The only thing I can say is what the police say, "Watch your speed!"
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Blogger uderhood said...

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12:10 am  

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