Who we are
We are a group of Charlbury residents who are aware that speeding traffic has been of concern to many people in the town for some considerable time. Vehicle speed was a subject of discussion on the Forum and had been raised by many people in questionnaires and surveys in the town. Following consultations with the Town Council and Thames Valley Police, Charlbury Community Speedwatch was established in September 2017, to make drivers realise that breaking the speed limit can be dangerous and certainly is socially unacceptable.
The problem of speed was noticed on most local roads but particularly so on Sturt Road/The Slade, Forest Road, Woodstock Road and at Enstone Road crossroads.
What we do
Initially with the use of equipment lent by the police, roadside sessions monitoring vehicle numbers and speeds confirmed the views of many people; not only significant numbers of vehicles were counted but a high percentage were exceeding the speed limit and some at eye watering levels. These figures, and the commitment of the Speedwatch group, convinced the Town Council to give full support to the project by funding equipment identical to that formerly lent by the police.
Roadside sessions have been held regularly throughout the past two and half years, to both continue monitoring and enable us to report offenders. After each session we download the numbers and the software tells us the vehicle count, analyses the speeds and gives us the percentage of vehicles driving (a) within the limit, (b) over the limit or (c) warranting police attention. The statistics continue to be passed to Charlbury Town Council, TVP and our local District and County Councillors.
We often have a serving police officer with us at the roadside, who of course has greater powers than the Speedwatch volunteers. The police have the option of taking details and direct action or giving friendly advice – the latter saving an offender a likely three points and £100 fine, not to mention the insurance implications. Police presence or not, the Speedwatch team always operates to the strict guidelines of Thames Valley Police.
In early sessions we recorded 32 % of vehicles exceeding the limit, we now find that figure has dropped to 14 %. Clearly the message is getting through but more needs to be done and we will continue working to reduce the numbers of speeding vehicles of all kinds.
So encouraging is this fall in offender numbers, the Town Council agreed to provide the money for a Speed Indicator Device (SID) which gives the Speedwatch group greater scope in monitoring, recording and reporting. SID has a greater range for detecting speed and enables us to display the speed of an approaching vehicle. It will also record speeds of vehicles going in either direction past the device. We can programme SID to display a written message, a disapproving face for offenders or a smiling face for those driving considerately.
Charlbury Community Speedwatch in the future
Our intention is to make Charlbury a safer and more pleasant place for everyone; not only residents but also those working here or visiting our town – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, young and old alike.
We will continue to do this by making people aware of the unacceptability of speeding and also by recording details of vehicles being driven at excessive speed, with that information being passed to the police for follow up action.
Community Speedwatch is a national movement with hundreds of such groups operating up and down the country, with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds. Where education is ignored and there is evidence of repeat or excessive offences, enforcement and prosecution may follow. It is worth noting that a registration number reported for police attention here in Charlbury will show up on the TVP data base if similarly recorded anywhere else in their territory - i.e. Berks, Bucks and Oxon.
We understand that modern cars are so responsive that it is easy to reach and then exceed the speed limit without intending to do so and we want our roadside presence to remind drivers to be aware of the limit and their speed.
How you can help Charlbury
We are always pleased to welcome new members to the team. Please consider joining us; an hour or two each month will be a great help. You will never work alone but always in a group of at least three people and there’s always time for a chat with the other team members. Team members are covered by the town council’s Public Liability Insurance.
We are always willing to listen to concerns about speed at particular locations or stretches of road, so please feel free to contact us.
There is another simple way to help us – please drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the road you are using. This will surely slow down speeding traffic and set an example too.
How you can contact us
An email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Above all, please, MAKE SID SMILE - click below and see what you can do!