ROAD safety experts have criticised Oxfordshire County Council for failing to take account of traffic accident figures before switching off Oxfordshire’s 72 Speed cameras.

County Hall announced it was withdrawing £600,000 of funding for speed cameras just 10 days before the switch-off on August 1.

Buckinghamshire County Council has also seen its budget for road safety slashed.

But it has only turned off 10 of its 51 roadside cameras after analysing which ones were having little effect on road safety.

The Oxfordshire representative of the British Motorcyclists Federation, Hugh Jaeger, said Oxfordshire’s 17,500-strong biking community had been put at greater risk by the decision to switch off the cameras.

During the past decade, 95 motorcyclists have been killed on Oxfordshire’s roads.

National figures show bikers account for just one per cent of the road traffic in Britain, but 19 per cent of fatalities.

Mr Jaeger said: “I think the all-or-nothing approach in Oxfordshire is shocking.

“Buckinghamshire has taken an approach road safety professionals understand and respect, because they assessed and considered each camera site.

“Oxfordshire just made a sweeping, careless political decision that has nothing to do with road safety, and I condemn it.

“We are very ill-served by a county council that thinks it can make economies without taking a risk assessment on those economies.

“If you withdraw a safety measure, what are you putting in its place?

If you create a vacuum something will fill it and if you remove a safety measure the vacuum could be filled by accidents.”

Earlier this week, nine of the country’s main motoring organisations, including the AA and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), joined forces to protest against Oxfordshire’s cuts in funding for speed cameras.

Mr Jaeger said: “Speed cameras are not perfect, much like a democracy, but it’s the best system we’ve got.”

The AA’s head of road safety Andrew Howard said: “One of the great advantages of Buckinghamshire’s approach is that it’s logical.

“It’s the scientific approach to road safety that Britain has long had, where nearly everything in road safety is done because of evidence.”

He urged the council to restore some of Oxfordshire’s cameras to maintain a deterrent.

Council leader Keith Mitchell said last week: “I’m a finance person at heart and for us this decision has been about our finances and cutting the cameras or cutting children’s services.”

Spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The county council withdrew £600,000 of funding as a result of an in-year grant cut that central government made to councils up and down the country.

“The council took its decision in the knowledge that this grant is likely to be cut yet more in future years – creating issues for speed camera enforcement throughout the entire nation.

“Had the council not made this decision it would have had to find the money from one of the other services it provides – social care, libraries, fire and rescue, trading standards or other transport work.”