I thought that I would see if the speed limit was feasible to keep to so I tried driving from Paddington to Northolt Airport.
This report is about the elevated section of the A40, I will post about the other sections later this week.
Driving at 40mph on the elevated section of the A40 was very hard, I was getting flashed by other drivers who were speeding (pun intended) past me. As I drove I realised why 40mph felt so slow. I remember that when I first drove on the A40 elevated section it was a restricted urban motorway, called the A40M with a speed limit of 60mph, which felt about right for the road even in my aged early 1970s car. Some years later, maybe when it ceased to be a motorway in 2000, the speed limit was reduced to 50mph which always felt a little slow but most people continued driving at 60mph anyway. This state of affairs continued for quite a while and then there was the issue with the lights failure on the elevated section and the speed limit was reduced to 40mph. This of course makes no sense: in daylight the lighting is of no relevance and at night I believe that most cars have headlights.
In fact I have done some digging and it seems from this and this that the speed limit was meant to go back up to 50mph when the A40 repairs had been finished. Indeed this report from May 2011 says that:
'Transport for London (TfL) dropped the limit from 50 to 30mph in February as it made repairs to the expansion joints.That's late summer 2011, why did this not happen?
But TfL will put the limit up to 40mph on the eastbound carriageway on Sunday morning, and on the westbound carriageway one week later. They say it should be back to 50mph by late summer.'
Instead what we have on the elevated section of the A40 in London is the speed limit reducing from 60mph to 50mph and then to 40mph and then the introduction of a average speed cameras to enforce this reduced speed limit.
Some would argue that this was about revenue raising, using the driver as a cash cow. Others would claim that it was about criminalising the motorist. I wouldn't disagree with either of these points but I actually think it's more sinister; this is about control. As I drove along at 40mph on the elevated section of the A40 I felt cowed by the cameras, powerless in the face of the state; and that is how the state want us to be.