Driver launches one-man war over 13,000 speeding tickets
A man has started a legal fight to get his speeding tickets overturned because he says he was caught on a Sunday when the roadworks he was passing were unmanned. Some 13,000 fines have been issued for speeding on that stretch of road and he wants them all overturned. Anthony Martindale was caught twice in the same day on a stretch of raod where the speed limit had been reduced from 70mph to 40mph because of roadworks.
He caught travelling at 46mph on his way out – and 50mph on his return. He believes that because he was driving on a Sunday, when no construction work was taking place, there was no threat to workers and that speed curbs should have been lifted. “It’s a matter of principle,” he said. “I want justice to be done.” : Madeleine McCann’s parents say it’s ‘essential’ to find the truth
The driver, from Manchester, has written to MPs, lobbied North Wales Police and contacted the Department of Transport. He’s fired off letters to newspapers, written to the Welsh Government and submitted Freedom of Information requests. This revealed that, on six weekends at the start of this year, a total of 815 drivers were caught speeding on the same stretch of the A55 between Abergwyngregyn and Talybont, Gwynedd.
Critically, said Mr Martindale, no one was fined the weekend of February 19-20 because all temporary signs were removed in case they posed a danger during Storm Franklin. His fines were from on Sunday, February 6. He told NorthWalesLive: “If it was safe enough to have the signs taken down during a severe weather warning, allowing the traffic to resume normal speeds of 70mph, then surely the “narrow lanes” excuse can no longer be used as a reason for fining motorists.?
Why was it not safe when I was doing 46mph and 50mph under normal conditions? “Having had the signs taken down, did NWP not have a duty of care towards the motorist? Should they not have consulted with the construction company to have the signs made more secure rather than having them removed?”
Anthony Martindale is continuing to contest two speeding fines he received after travelling through the A55 roadworks in Gwynedd
At the time the father-of-four, originally from Wallasey on the Wirral, was on his way to see his elderly father on Anglesey.
Aged 85, he lives by himself in Amlwch. Having rung him three times, to warn of his arrival, he began to get concerned when his father failed to answer. In the event, his dad was OK but Mr Martindale then “miscalculated” the time and found himself heading back home at dusk. “Like most elderly people, I don’t like driving in the dark, especially in unknown surroundings,” he said.
On the journey there and back, he claimed that traffic cones had been moved to the side of the road. “If it was safe enough to do this, then it would have been safe enough to have turned the speed limit signs around,” he said. Mr Martindale’s campaign has brought little sympathy from local drivers, who say warning signs are clearly visible and that highways staff cannot alter the entire roadworks each weekend. Nevertheless, he warned English holidaymakers to be extra careful when using the A55 this summer.
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Lane restrictions and 40mph speed limits are in place on the dual carriageway during a GBP30 million scheme to improve road safety. Access roads are being removed and a new parallel road, with underpasses, is being built for farm vehicles. The restrictions were introduced on the eastbound carriageway in March 2021 and on westbound lane the following October.
The Welsh Government has said the curbs were implemented to “protect both the travelling public and the workforce”. In November 2021, traffic was diverted on to a temporary carriageway so that work could take place on a new eastbound carriageway. The alignment, and the “temporary vehicle restraints” on both carriageways, meant only a maximum speed of 40mph could be permitted.
This restriction is needed regardless of whether or not construction workers are present, said Cardiff.
The GBP30 million scheme is designed to reduce flooding risks and improve road safety (Image: @_mavic2pro_)
Mr Martindale believes he is not the only motorist who thought the lower speed limits did not apply at weekends. On the same Sunday, 69 people were caught. Another FoI request has shed more light on the effectiveness of average speed cameras on this stretch of the A55.
In the 13 months since the cameras went live, on March 1, 2021, a total of 21,229 “violations” were detected on the two carriageways. Of these, 13,064 NIPs (Notice of Intended Prosecution) were issued. One offender was registered at 93mph and is being taken to court.
Signs warn motorists that average speed cameras are in operation (Image: Hadyn Iball / North Wales Live)
In his case, Mr Martindale was fined GBP100, awarded three points on his licence and was ordered to take a drivers awareness course costing GBP90.
The latter is due on May 16. Before then, he hopes North Wales Police will accept the arguments of a man who cannot work for health reasons (arthritis on the spine) but who receives no benefits. “I have to rely on my wife’s minimum wage,” he said. “It is morally wrong for the police to be acting in this way, especially with the cost of living rising so quickly.” Mr Martindale believes his campaigning is at least having one positive effect. “I drove to Anglesey to collect my son this week,” he said. “On that stretch, I noticed that everyone was staying below 40mph and that no one was overtaking.
“Still, when you drive right along the A55 at 70mph, apart from the bit at Colwyn Bay, it’s quite a shock to suddenly hit 40mph, especially when no one is working on the road. I am terrified at the thought of taking this to court – but I am prepared to do it. I am determined they won’t get away with it.”
The Abergwyngregyn to Tai’r Meibion works are due to be completed this summer.
Any remaining offline works are scheduled to finish during the autumn.
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