Drivers ignoring road signs in Bedford could soon be fined by the council

The council has applied for powers to enforce moving traffic offences

By John Guinn, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:02 pm

Drivers ignoring road signs in Bedford borough could find themselves being fined by council officers after it applied to have powers to enforce moving traffic violations, a meeting heard.

During this week's Full Council meeting (Wednesday, December 1), councillor Sarah Gallagher (Conservative, Eastcotts Ward) asked what could be done to prevent drivers turning right at Harrowden Crossroads.

She said that a serious incident there in May 2012 resulted in life-changing injuries to a Shortstown resident.

No right turn sign

She added that in March 2015 this junction was put in the road safety scheme, which was supposed to stop drivers from turning right and to make it safer.

"I'm afraid pulling out of the junction is just as unsafe as it was before, and people are still turning right," she said.

"Can something more be done to this junction?"

The portfolio holder for environment, highways and transport, councillor Charles Royden (LibDems, Brickhill Ward) replied that currently the council can't enforce moving traffic offences and can only pass details to the police.

"I am pleased to inform the council that from next year, we anticipate early in the year, being given powers by government to enforce moving traffic offences," he said.

"Now that will include the right turn that you so rightly draw attention to.

"I know it's a problem, it's been a problem for a considerable time. It's completely unacceptable for people to turn right at junctions when it's prohibited and the signage is clear," he added.

Councillor Gallagher told the portfolio holder that she was also concerned about drivers speeding on the approach to the junction.

"The speed [limit] is currently 40 miles an hour coming off of the dumbbell roundabouts on the A600, and then as you get three quarters of the way up the hill it then turns to 30," she said.

"With it being a [hidden] junction it is quite dangerous, could there be a possibility of reducing the speed from 40 down to 30," she asked.

Councillor Royden said: "We have a real problem with speeding across the borough, and the mayor has brought in reduced speed limits across the borough at the request of parishes, communities and councillors.

"So we are very much aware of the speeding problem. We do need to remind people that this is the police who enforce speed limits.

"We need the police to get out there and take this matter very seriously," he added.

"I think it is probably one of the number one issues that the mayor receives every year when he goes out on his village tour and meets all the residents in their communities.

"We must have police enforcement," he said.

Bedfordshire Police was approached for a comment but did not respond at the time of publishing.