Bus lane fines highlight drivers' disregard for law
The shocking thing about the bus lane fine statistics detailed in the Telegraph is the disregard for the law that they disclose.
It is frankly inconceivable that more than a tiny minority of 15,000 people could be visitors unfamiliar with Belfast. It seems unbelievable that so many people could be making honest mistakes - surely once bitten, twice shy?
Rather, I find myself baffled at the average 119 motorists a day being incapable of understanding the large signs specifically telling them that they may not go straight across from Donegall Square East to Adelaide Street, Monday to Saturday, between 7am and 7pm.
I am worried by the average of 65 motorists a day who endangered pedestrians by using the restricted area of Belfast city centre as a short cut from High Street to Millfield - an area already too busy with disabled badge holders, buses and coaches. Indeed, I saw another two drivers earning tickets at once at lunchtime today.
I am concerned that an average of 78 motorists should be caught by the Great Victoria Street bus lane camera each day in the face of comprehensive signage - surely not all of these could possibly be people leaving the Europa Hotel and unable to find a gap to join the proper traffic lane? I therefore have to disagree with John Dallat - this is not a failure. This is a vindication of the cameras, because their presence has revealed how many drivers are prepared to jump queues to the detriment of law-abiding motorists.
However, it is not necessarily a success. Success will only be if the number of fines issued diminishes rapidly over the next number of months, because that will be the indicator of a change of behaviour - the real purpose of the cameras.