By Kevin Werner, METROLAND WEST MEDIA GROUP
Drivers in Hamilton might well agree with a recent poll about speed traps.
The poll, conducted by a United States-based organization for motorists, identified Hamilton as the second-worst place in Canada when it comes to laying out speed traps for motorists.
For cities with populations greater than 50,000 residents, Flower Mound, Texas, topped the survey for speed traps, followed by Livonia, Mich., Windsor, Ont., Hamilton, and Mississauga.
The top speed traps Hamiltonians identified within the community include Garth Street between Fennell and Mountain Crest, the Red Hill Valley Parkway, the corner of Wilfred Street and Burlington Street, the upbound Claremont Access, Highway 52 in Copetown, various locations along the Lincoln Alexander Parkway and Upper Wellington at Howe Avenue North.
“We took the cream of the crop and came up with the rankings,” said John Bowman, communications director for the National Motorists Association. “We have a database of over 80,000 records across North America. It’s updated all the time.”
Bowman says the survey, although not scientific, is created through the public’s input. “It confirms what people already know,” he said.
An April 2012 response says, “police will sit in their cruiser or hide behind a utility pole to catch speeders going southbound on Garth.”
In the north end of the city, a post stated, police face eastbound Burlington Street traffic “behind a telephone pole at the corner.”
The NMA, a non-profit agency, calculated the total number of online votes for the speed traps identified within a community and then indexed the total to the community’s population. It reviewed the data received over the last five years from its website, “The National Speed Trap Exchange.”
The NMA states one of its missions is the protection “of motorists’ rights and freedoms.”
Bowman said there is no need for “speed traps” in municipalities if authorities simply establish the proper speed in the area.
“(Enforcement) doesn’t modify behaviour,” he said. “Compliance doesn’t improve. Speeds need to be at the correct level.”
Hamilton Police Sgt. Terri-Lynn Collings says officers don’t create speed traps, but are simply doing their jobs after receiving complaints from residents.
She said officers are enforcing the speed limit, which has been established by the community. “Traffic enforcement is driven by residents,” she said.
And from the latest data collected from traffic officers, it seems to be working.
“Our numbers (of speeders, collisions) are down this year,” said Collings. “Hamilton’s streets are safer.”