A crackdown on speeding is under way in St Ouen and Chef de Police Richard Honeycombe said it is only ‘blind luck’ that no one has been killed due to speeding, which tends to occur mostly at L’Etacq.
The honorary police in the parish are now running four to five speed checks each week to try to get a grip on the problem. They have analysed data collected from two speed warning signs that register the speeds of passing motorists.
The detector on Rue de L’Etacq has clocked vehicles travelling at high speed, particularly during the evenings.
Over one 24-hour period in February, the detector registered 84 vehicles over the 40mph speed limit travelling east on that road toward Mont Pinel, with the fastest travelling at 103mph. ‘To actually be doing 103 there, god knows what speed they were going earlier on because they have got to be slowing down to negotiate upcoming junctions,’ Mr Honeycombe said.
Other vehicles were registered at 70-80mph and 80-90mph during the same time period.
‘People think it is a race track,’ Mr Honeycombe said. ‘It’s getting worse. When we had the fine weather, the other week we stopped 16 motorbikes in two hours.’
The bulk of those being stopped for dangerous speeding on motorbikes tend to be Polish or Portuguese, he added. Many are travelling on 1000cc to 1200cc motorbikes – capable of reaching speeds of 200mph – in groups of two and three. ‘It’s absolutely crazy,’ he said. ‘They race at Rue de la Mare, Rue de Les Landes and Rue de L’Etacq. You don’t often see them on the Five Mile Road because there are so many people about.’
L’Etacq is not the only problem area, however. Cars have been clocked travelling 80mph through the heart of the village.
‘We are seeing speeds through here 83mph at 10.45pm,’ Mr Honeycombe added. ‘What people don’t realise is going double the speed limit in a built-up area like this, they will go to jail. The courts are helping but we have got to catch them.’
The parish is encouraging residents to report speeding motorists and write down licence numbers where they can.
St Ouen Constable Richard Buchanan said the States police have been approached to help but despite the potential dangers, the matter had been left to the honoraries.
The parish does not believe the current speed limits in place need to be reduced, just respected, he added.
‘The answer on speeding is to enforce the law,’ said Constable Richard Buchanan. ‘We are not particularly in favour of having very low speed limits.’
The detector at L’Etacq is set at 40mph but the one on the Grande Route de St Ouen is in a 30mph zone.
‘Ninety percent of people are exceeding these speed limits,’ Mr Honeycombe said. ‘It’s dangerous. It is just getting crazy. We are getting lots of complaints from parishioners.
‘People are finding it difficult to cross the road to the beach at L’Etacq due to regular speeders in the area, travelling 80mph. That can continue to up to one or two o’clock in the morning.’
In addition to the motorbikes, an organised group of car drivers are also racing in the parish, he said.
‘We have a convoy of cars, between 20 and 30, that go through,’ Mr Honeycombe said. ‘They send a spotter through to see if there is anyone around and then all hell breaks loose. These drivers are very well organised.
‘It’s the old Cannonball Run, they have started. They start at either this end or St Catherine’s. They have a route they follow.
‘They know, everyone knows, the police are doing a minimal amount of speed detection. You just don’t see them, they haven’t got the resources.’
If you know of areas where drivers are routinely breaking the speed limit, call the JEP News Desk 611640 or email email@example.com.