A Summer of MADness?
Motorists Against Detection, the vigilante anti-speed camera group have announced a summer of MADness which will see them target for destruction all speed cameras in the UK. It’s now going to be a period of zero tolerance against all speed cameras, said their campaigns director Capt Gatso.
The group claims speed cameras are just money-making machines and they have given the authorities long enough to prove their worth. The first camera to fall in the summer campaign is in south east London on the A2 at the Sun in the Sands roundabout on-slip heading northbound towards the Blackwall Tunnel.
Capt Gatso, the group's campaigns director, said: "We have completely pulled it out of the ground, it is now lying flat. You can see some of our handiwork posted on www.speedcam.co.uk. He added: In many areas the cameras have not saved one life - the statistics for road deaths haven't gone down. In some areas they have actually gone up - in Essex, for instance, which has a high density of cameras there are more people being killed. We are now planning to target any and all cameras until the Government sees sense and rethinks its road safety policy. Before we had speed cameras we had the safest roads in Europe - since their introduction this is no longer true.
The announcement will surprise many in road safety circles since the group has publicly declared it would not attack cameras outside schools or on high streets. But Capt Gatso said: We need to focus attention on what the cameras are about. We’ve said we wouldn’t attack the ones in built up and urban areas but that’s not where most of the cameras are. There are a lot of frustrated people among our members who have seen the number of cameras increase while road safety levels have fallen. Indeed, the only thing the cameras have done successfully is to reduce the number of traffic officers patrolling our roads and lose a lot of decent people their driving licences and their livelihoods.
MAD is the UK’s only direct action anti-speed camera group and it’s been going since summer 2000. In that time they have taken out just over 1,000 cameras. Their membership who are normally law-abiding people - vary in numbers but there is a hard core of around 200 people throughout the UK who use Internet chat forums, encrypted email and pay as you go phones to keep in touch and plan campaigns.
The group says it has perfected a new and quick way of destroying speed cameras which will enable them to destroy a roadside camera in just a few seconds. Capt Gatso added: The Government and the camera partnerships have failed to spin out via their PR campaigns to convince people that the cameras are there for road safety. Motorists know that they aren’t. All it’s done is further damage the police/public relationship and further alienating communities which they desperately need onside at this time. Many cameras have gone up on busy roads without any history of accidents despite that being the main criteria for installation.And all the time the partnerships and the Treasury rake in millions of extra revenue.
Capt Gatso pointed out that the group is not encouraging dangerous driving or speeding on Britain’s roads. He said: We have said from the beginning that drivers should drive according to the conditions of the road. The police say we need more training and patrols but the Government says we need more fines. But not everyone is paying the fines. Drive a foreign registered car or alter your number plate slightly and you’ll get away with it too. One of the future PR exercises for the shadowy group is for drivers to participate in a day of action called ‘National Cover-Up Your Number Plates Day’ to frustrate parking, bus lane, anpr, congestion and speed cameras. Capt Gatso told us: It will be pandemonium for the authorities. What are the chances of being stopped? We have by default, in the form of number plates on the front and back of our vehicles, a mobile ID card. Now we’ve declared open season on the cameras just keep an eye open for what happens next. This will be civil disobedience on a grand scale covering all areas and people of the country. One thing drivers might consider is that when there’s a police car behind you with its blue lights and sirens on think about family members or friends getting points for going marginally over the limit and don’t let the police past if you don’t think it is safe to do so. Our members don’t. We are always straight out of the way for ambulances and fire engines because we admire the sterling work they do.
Capt Gatso is a family man from north London. He’s in his 40s, a professional he owns a BMW M3 and is a keen motorcyclist. He said: Most of the organising group are just ordinary blokes with families who are sick of us heading towards a police state. He added that the group’s members were all good drivers, most have a professional driving qualification or ride powerful motorbikes on a regular basis and their aims are to encourage the partnerships to clamp down on speeding in built-up areas and near to schools and hospitals. Capt Gatso, the motorists’ friend, said: What we ultimately want to see is all the UK camera partnerships dissolved into a central ticket office which only concentrates on serious and serial offenders. Each case should be treated as a proper crime and properly investigated. We should be stopping the idiots who get behind the wheel of a car who will speed anywhere but won’t get caught if they avoid main roads and motorways. We want to see a higher police presence of trained officers patrolling the roads and put Britain back at the top of the road safety league where it was before the introduction of these infernal cameras.
Gatso is what the speed cameras are called. According to Wikipedia:
Gatso is a brand of speed camera invented by Maurice Gatsonides and manufactured by the Dutch company Gatsometer BV.
The Gatso emits radar beams to measure the speed of the vehicle. If it is travelling above the preset trigger speed, photographs are taken, using a powerful flash, to show the rear of the vehicle, its registration plate, and the calibration lines on the road.
Gatso installations are characterised by a series of white lines painted on the road. The camera takes two photographs with a known time interval between them (typically 0.5 seconds). The vehicle's position, relative to the white road markings in the two photographs, can be used to calculate the vehicle speed and is, in the UK, the only evidence admissible in court. The speed indicated by the radar unit is too unreliable to be used as the sole means of evidence as it is prone to error due to multiple reflections etc. Further, it does not distinguish between multiple vehicles in shot.