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Switching off street light, Speeding defence
Lynnzer
post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 08:35
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Given that a lot of councils are now switching off street lights to save money they are obviously putting pedestrians at risk in built up areas. However, since the Road Traffic Regulation Act requires street lighting to be at intervals of 200 yards for the road to be a prescribed restricted road, any speeding offence caught in such circumstances can be defended n the premise that the road is not a restricted road and the speed limit unenforceable.

I'm all for saving money but have the relevant councils sought police or home office guidance on this for the matter of complying with the legal lighting requirements I wonder?

Has anyone successfully defended a speeding offence on that basis already perhaps?


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post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 08:35
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Cargy
post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 08:49
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I doubt that the law requires the lights to be actually switched on to meet the requirements.

But, then again, stranger things have happened!


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Fredd
post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 08:56
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You'll probably not be surprised to learn, given how long this has been knocking around, that it's been discussed in the forums before, eg here and here.

Obviously government in general, and some forum pundits, take the view that a system is a system whether individual lamps are on or off, and so such roads remain Restricted Roads and hence subject to a 30mph limit. Motoring defence lawyers and some other forum pundits take the view that lamps that are off during darkness don't constitute lighting and hence the 30mph limit does not then apply.

As usual with these things, in the absence of Parliament doing its job and actually legislating for these changes it'll remain uncertain until such time as a conviction is appealed to a higher court that can set a binding precedent. I'm not aware of any such decision as yet.


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dave comer
post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 21:22
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Would that mean that some pundits would argue that because the street lamps are not lit during the day, the speed limit would not apply?


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The Rookie
post Mon, 22 Dec 2014 - 22:53
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The law says lighting, not lights, but as those lights are turned on and then subsequently turned off they would appear to still be lighting, who knows what logic you can apply, for me though the only time the turning off may be a defence (not saying is) is when it is dark and they are switched off.


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Johnxxx
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 00:55
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The Law (RTRA 1984) actually says :

81 General speed limit for restricted roads.

(1). It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour.

82 What roads are restricted roads.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and of section 84(3) of this Act, a road is a restricted road for the purposes of section 81 of this Act if :

(a)in England and Wales, there is provided on it a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart;

So just a "system of street lighting" - nothing to do with whether it works or not, or are switched on or off at any point in time, or any number of lamps are faulty etc



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The Rookie
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 06:27
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Again, is it a system of lighting if it's never turned on is the question, if it said lights then clearly they would never need to be on to still be lights, but lighting requires them to be illuminated.


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Lynnzer
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 07:27
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I think the "will of parliament" may be used as any defence of whether the lighting should be on or off. If the lighting wasn't required, it just wouldn't be mentioned at all in the Act. Since it is, it must be the will of parliament for it to be operative. Consider it alongside a 30mph sign which has the 3 obscured by a growth of algae. It doesn't convey the restriction so can be used as a defence on that point. A lamp that isn't lit when it ought to be would face the same sort of scrutiny. I wonder.....
Is there a set lighting up time used by councils or is it usually just default to the sensors in the lighting heads?

Apart from that, many streets are littered with roadside trees, telegraph poles, electricity poles etc and the lamp posts are not obviously lighting unless switched on.

As Fredd says though, it'll take a significant win to see how this pans out for using it as a defence for all other cases.

Quite apart from the street lights, I see they're also going to switch off the sign lighting. Now that'l be fun.......

This post has been edited by Lynnzer: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 07:35


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roythebus
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 08:58
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I asked this question on here recently; the answer from my local district council was to invoke a further Traffic Order prohibiting any driver exceeding the speed limit of 30mph in specified areas where lighting had been switched off. 2 weeks after the order was made, the lights were all switched on again, so where's the saving??
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Lynnzer
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 10:20
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QUOTE (roythebus @ Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 09:58) *
I asked this question on here recently; the answer from my local district council was to invoke a further Traffic Order prohibiting any driver exceeding the speed limit of 30mph in specified areas where lighting had been switched off. 2 weeks after the order was made, the lights were all switched on again, so where's the saving??


Perhaps they saw the light



Maybe someone reminded them that a local traffic order can't override primary legislation.


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fatboytim
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 14:02
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If it is not lighting the carriageway it is not streetlighting IMHO


http://www.abd.org.uk/speed_limit_signs.htm

(4) The sign shown in diagram 670 (except when displayed on a variable message sign in the manner mentioned in regulation 58(7)(b)) shall not be placed along —
(a) a road on which there is provided a system of carriageway lighting furnished by lamps lit by electricity placed not more than 183 metres apart in England and Wales or not more than 185 metres apart in Scotland and which is subject to a speed limit of 30mph; Note that 'shall not be placed' means that repeater signs are prohibited under the conditions specified in subparagraph (a), not just that they are not required. The 183 metre maximum spacing for street lamps in England and Wales is the metric equivalent of the 200 yards specified in the Act.

The reference in the subparagraph to a system of 'carriageway' lighting is potentially significant. The carriageway is that part of the highway intended for the use of vehicles, as defined in section 329 of the Highways Act 1980, so a system of carriageway lighting must be designed to illuminate the roadway itself and not just the footways. The 1980 Act, section 270, defines a 'footway lighting system' and a 'road lighting system' as follows:
"footway lighting system" means a system of lighting, provided for a highway, which satisfies the following conditions, namely, that either —
(a) no lamp is mounted more than 13 feet above ground level, or
(b) no lamp is mounted more than 20 feet above ground level and there is at least one interval of more than 50 yards between adjacent lamps in the system;
"road lighting system" means a lighting system that is not a footway lighting system. Subparagraph (a) makes it clear that, where street lamps are less than 13 feet (3.96 metres) high, they constitute a footway lighting system, not a 'road' lighting system, regardless of their spacing. (In this context, 'road' is synonymous with 'street' or 'highway', in meaning any part of the carriageway, footways and verges. Thus a 'road lighting system' would include a carriageway lighting system, but a 'footway lighting system' would not.)

Subparagraph (b) says that, where street lamps are between 13 feet (3.96 metres) and 20 feet (6.1 metres) high, they constitute a road lighting system only if there are no gaps greater than 50 yards (45.7 metres) between any pair of lamps in the system. Only street lamps higher than 20 feet (6.1 metres) automatically qualify as a road lighting system, subject to the 183 metres maximum spacing in direction 11, paragraph (4)(a) of TSRGD.


fatboytim


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spanner345
post Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 14:53
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QUOTE (fatboytim @ Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 14:02) *
If it is not lighting the carriageway it is not streetlighting IMHO


http://www.abd.org.uk/speed_limit_signs.htm

(4) The sign shown in diagram 670 (except when displayed on a variable message sign in the manner mentioned in regulation 58(7)(b)) shall not be placed along —
(a) a road on which there is provided a system of carriageway lighting furnished by lamps lit by electricity placed not more than 183 metres apart in England and Wales or not more than 185 metres apart in Scotland and which is subject to a speed limit of 30mph; Note that 'shall not be placed' means that repeater signs are prohibited under the conditions specified in subparagraph (a), not just that they are not required. The 183 metre maximum spacing for street lamps in England and Wales is the metric equivalent of the 200 yards specified in the Act.

The reference in the subparagraph to a system of 'carriageway' lighting is potentially significant. The carriageway is that part of the highway intended for the use of vehicles, as defined in section 329 of the Highways Act 1980, so a system of carriageway lighting must be designed to illuminate the roadway itself and not just the footways. The 1980 Act, section 270, defines a 'footway lighting system' and a 'road lighting system' as follows:
"footway lighting system" means a system of lighting, provided for a highway, which satisfies the following conditions, namely, that either —
(a) no lamp is mounted more than 13 feet above ground level, or
(b) no lamp is mounted more than 20 feet above ground level and there is at least one interval of more than 50 yards between adjacent lamps in the system;
"road lighting system" means a lighting system that is not a footway lighting system. Subparagraph (a) makes it clear that, where street lamps are less than 13 feet (3.96 metres) high, they constitute a footway lighting system, not a 'road' lighting system, regardless of their spacing. (In this context, 'road' is synonymous with 'street' or 'highway', in meaning any part of the carriageway, footways and verges. Thus a 'road lighting system' would include a carriageway lighting system, but a 'footway lighting system' would not.)

Subparagraph (b) says that, where street lamps are between 13 feet (3.96 metres) and 20 feet (6.1 metres) high, they constitute a road lighting system only if there are no gaps greater than 50 yards (45.7 metres) between any pair of lamps in the system. Only street lamps higher than 20 feet (6.1 metres) automatically qualify as a road lighting system, subject to the 183 metres maximum spacing in direction 11, paragraph (4)(a) of TSRGD.


fatboytim

Maybe?

This post has been edited by spanner345: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 - 14:54


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Cargy
post Wed, 24 Dec 2014 - 13:01
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It could be interesting in locations where the lighting system is not obvious when switched off.

For example streetlights on the sides of buildings in villages; No lamp posts to alert the driver, and the lamp units themselves invisible because they are above the headlight beams.


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Churchmouse
post Thu, 25 Dec 2014 - 00:40
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Or they could just use special signs to convey important information, like everywhere else in the civilised world...

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Fredd
post Thu, 25 Dec 2014 - 08:54
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Thu, 25 Dec 2014 - 00:40) *
Or they could just use special signs to convey important information, like everywhere else in the civilised world...

If you're under the impression that other countries in the "civilised world" always use explicit signs to convey information like speed limits, then you don't get out much. Some favourites are unsigned "built-up area" limits (much like our street lighting rules), school zone limits, and adverse weather condition limits.


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Churchmouse
post Fri, 26 Dec 2014 - 12:01
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I'm not aware of any other jurisdictions that use something as potentially random as the location of a "system of street lighting" with the lights placed "not more than 200 yards apart" in order to convey a restricted speed limit within that area. All of the examples you have mentioned involve signage in some form, don't they? The closest to "not being signed" might be the motorway weather condition limit in some countries, which is, however, conveyed to drivers entering those countries on big signs. Still, the money saved by not erecting and maintaining "30" signs and road paint in the UK must be quite significant.

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The Rookie
post Sat, 3 Jan 2015 - 06:47
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France, German, America, Spain, how many more do you want, all have similar 'anomalies' on how speed limits are signed (or rather not signed), drive through a French town, how many 50kph repeaters do you see?


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Churchmouse
post Sat, 3 Jan 2015 - 07:15
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Do you have an example of any other jurisdiction that uses something as potentially random as the location of a "system of street lighting" with the lights placed "not more than 200 yards apart" in order to convey a restricted speed limit within that area? It won't help the OP one iota, but neither does insisting that this is a normal way of conveying a speed limit...

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The Rookie
post Sat, 3 Jan 2015 - 08:29
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I think the French still use the built up area we got rid of back in the 30's for being too imprecise, hence why they have no repeaters, they also have a 130kph speed limit on the main peage that drops to 110kph when it's raining, but how you know when it's raining hard enough I don't know.

This post has been edited by The Rookie: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 - 08:30


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Fredd
post Sat, 3 Jan 2015 - 08:42
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New Zealand has the same street lighting criterion as the UK for setting 50kph limits. Australia has a default "built up area" 50kph limit, which is generally but not always signed on the entrance to the area only. It's all very well moaning about how unfair the UK system is, but the fact is that there are many examples around the world of default speed limits being conveyed implicitly by some vague means or another to avoid the need to litter every single road with speed limit signs.


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