Speed Cameras | What can you get away with?

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Speed cameras, or ‘safety cameras’, as the five-0 like to call them seem to be cropping up left right and centre. And if your local boozer is anything like the one I drink in, you’ll have heard all sorts of theories about how fast you can get away riding (or driving) through them. But now, we need speculate no more, thanks to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent in by Riverdale Leasing.

Riverdale Leasing discovered that 6,000 people have asked what the speed camera threshold in their area is, so they decided to do something about it. The FOI was sent in to all 43 police constabularies in the UK and 21 of them responded. Out of the ones that did respond, most of them (57%) said that their speed cameras will let you get away 10% plus 2mph.

So that’s 35mph in a 30mph zone, 46mph in a 40mph zone, 57mph in a 50mph zone, etc.

Some authorities, like Lincolnshire in particular, are a lot tighter with it. In Lincolnshire, you’re only allowed to be 2mph over the limit.

Other regions said they that there is no official threshold and that officers are expected to use their own discretion.

Quite a few of them said that they weren’t prepared to divulge the information to the public. Spoil sports.

Below is what each of the separate police forces said when asked about their speed cameras… Well, the ones that replied, anyway:

Speed Camera Thresholds by Authority

Police ConstabularySpeed Camera Activation Threshold
Avon & Somerset10% + 2 mph
City of London10% + 2 mph
Cumbria10% + 2 mph
Derbyshire10% + 2 mph
Devon & Cornwall10% + 2 mph
Durham10% + 2 mph
Gloucestershire10% + 2 mph
Humberside10% + 2 mph
Kent10% + 2 mph
North Yorkshire10% + 2 mph
Essex10% + 2 mph to 9 mph
Lancashire10% + 3 mph up to 9 mph
BedfordshireDeclined to disclose information
HampshireDeclined to disclose information
HertfordshireDeclined to disclose information
LeicestershireDeclined to disclose information
NorthamptonshireDeclined to disclose information
NorthumbriaDeclined to disclose information
West MidlandsDeclined to disclose information
WiltshireThe devices aren’t set at any particular speed. Officers use their own discretion when setting the threshold.
Lincolnshire+ 2 mph up to 66mph and + 3% for all speeds higher than 66mph


Obviously we wouldn’t condone doing anything but riding within the speed limit, at all times. This article is just so that those who’ve accidentally nipped over the limit by a mile and hour or two, and panic when ever they see the posty, expecting him to deliver their summons can have some peace of mind. Relax, you’re probably going to be alright.

This article definitely isn’t intended to help people drive that bit faster past speed cameras. There would be absolutely no point in risking it anyway, because according to the police officer on my speed awareness cause, driving faster doesn’t mean you’ll get to your destination sooner, anyway. According to him, the maths I learnt at primary school was nonsense. I’m still struggling to get my head round that one, but you don’t argue with the police, do you? Anyway, that’s another story.

So let’s all drive within the speed limit, that way nobody will have to dangerously slam the brakes on when they see a speed camera; sorry, ‘safety camera’. But rest assured that if you do inadvertently nip past one, slightly over the speed limit, you might be alright. Hopefully. Good luck out there.


One Response

  1. I’ve always wondered if average speed cameras on a motorway would capture my bike plate….the cameras are ‘usually’ face oncoming traffic…if that makes sense…so wouldn’t snap my number plate on the back. Note, this is not so I can speed…just idle curiosity. Note again, I know the average cameras on the cat and fiddle near me DO point at the rear of the bike.

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