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Jeanette Miller

Why looking out for lampposts can help avoid a speeding fine

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Watch out for lampposts if you want to avoid a speeding fine, writes motoring lawyer Jeanette Miller.

road sign

A limit of 30 mph usually applies to all traffic on all roads with street lighting, unless there are signs to say otherwise.

But although a lack of signage can be misleading and it does often catch motorists out, there is no legal requirement for a restricted road to have speed signs or repeaters.

Restricted roads

A restricted road is one that has a system of street lighting in place with lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart.

And on such roads the speed limit is set at 30 mph.

What's more, the 30 mph limit is regardless of the number of lanes on the road.

So even where the road appears to be a dual carriageway where you would expect the speed limit to be 40 mph, the limit will be 30 mph if there are street lamps spaced 200 yards apart.

When signage can be a defence

cctv

If the restricted road does't have a system of street lighting in place, drivers won't be convicted of speeding unless the limit is indicated by traffic signs.

If using this as a defence in a court case, the following conditions must be met and proved by the defendant:

Challenges already made

Many motorists have challenged the speed limit restrictions or signs used. 

Court decisions have made it clear that it does not matter if the speed limit signs are obscured on a restricted road - behind a tree, for example.

Also, it's immaterial if there's a minor variation such as one lamp missing or where two lamps were 201 and a half yards apart.

So, as harsh as it is, ignorance of the speed limit rules is no defence to speeding and a court will not take into account whether or not you were aware of the restrictions. 

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