8:30am Tuesday 3rd April 2012
Speed cameras cannot be installed on a road being used as a racetrack by bikers because not enough people have been killed or injured there.
Last week, residents demanded action over motorcyclists racing on Horton Lane, Epsom, at most weekends and on some weeknights.
The lane, which consists of long stretches of road punctuated by six roundabouts, has a 40mph limit and no effective speed calming measures.
Calls for a speed camera to be installed have been supported by MP Chris Grayling but John Fruen, casualty reduction officer for the area at Surrey County Council said the idea was considered and rejected in 2010.
Instead, vehicle-activated signs have since been installed, flashing warnings to motorists exceeding 45mph and a community speed watch scheme implemented where volunteers clock and report speeding vehicles.
He said: "We have consulted the Surrey Safety Camera Partnership about installing a camera but Horton Lane does not fit the criteria for a static camera to be installed."
Duncan Knox, road safety team manager at Surrey County Council, said the measures taken on a road depend on the number of collisions which have occurred on the stretch.
He said: "There are a number of measures for speed management such as camera enforcement, hand-held laser enforcement, residents undertaking community speed watches and police officers patrolling and pulling vehicles over.
"The measures taken depend on the site. It has to be a site where speeding is confirmed as being a problem but it doesn’t have to have had a high number of collisions for action to be taken.
"Cameras are installed based on how many collisions there have been on the road. We have not got the resources to put cameras on every road where there is speeding.
"But they are put on roads with a history of serious collisions in the past."
Mr Fruen added: "We carry out covert and over enforcement. We can stop motorcyclists at the times we are there but as soon as we are not, it will carry on.
"We have talked to Surrey County Council about rumble strips but the problem with these is that it will be noisier than the motorcycles when cars go over them. We have put up signs warning people we are patrolling the area and we have had prosecutions there because of speeding.
"We have a Community Speed Watch in which members of the public are trained to use speed measuring equipment and take down the number plates of vehicles which are speeding. We then write letters to the drivers.
"We could do with more of these volunteers. We do what we can in Horton Lane and it is a priority."
But local biker Andy Carlson, 25, of West Ewell, who uses Horton Lane, said the problem may not be as bad as residents assume.
He said: "If a motorbike goes past, someone would say it is going quickly because of the noise it makes - more than the noise of a car.
"It is physically possible to get to a speed of 100mph but you would need to put a fair amount of effort in.
"I am not saying there isn’t a problem but it would be a small proportion that would be doing it.
"The common perception people have of motorcyclists is young male hooligans and that is not what most bikers are."
Mr Carlson said Horton Lane is actually used to demonstrate road safety to learner bikers.
He added: "I’ve seen motorcycling training groups at Horton Lane.
"When I did my motorbike training four years ago, we went there to view where cars were positioned on the roundabouts, where they should have been positioned and where as a motorcyclist you should be."
And an anonymous biker hit back angrily at residents' claims about speeding bikers.
He said: "You cannot go round the roundabouts quickly at all.
"You would be able to accelerate away from a roundabout but then you would need to decelerate to go round the next one.
"No one does 100mph plus down these roads as it is near on impossible to do so in the short stretch of road in-between the roundabouts.
"I have one of the more powerful bikes on the road and there is no way on earth unless God himself pushed me with his Almighty hand I could get to 100mph. It is all lies."
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