RIGHT back at the start of the pandemic, just as the first lockdown was about to be brought in, I needed to go to a couple of places in Manchester.

I didn’t want to be travelling as the infection rates started to soar but I didn’t really have a choice. There were things I needed to do.

So I drove into the city centre and then out to Didsbury before making my way home.

The journey into Manchester was fine but I’d never made the city centre to Didsbury trip before so I ended up on roads I was unfamiliar with.

All well and good, I thought, until a couple of weeks later when the letter from Greater Manchester Police’s enforcement unit dropped on my doormat.

I’d been caught speeding.

To be honest, I had no recollection of driving too quickly. I wasn’t in a particular hurry on the day and I felt I had just been keeping up with the flow of traffic.

But it was there in black and white.

Fortunately, I was offered the option of taking a speed awareness course rather than a fine and points on my licence.

So I booked myself on one of the courses. A couple of weeks later it was cancelled – along with all the other ‘in-person’ courses as the pandemic worsened – and I ended up in my bedroom with my laptop perched on my knees doing it virtually.

Yes, my first experience of a meaningful Zoom or Teams meeting was courtesy of GM Police.

I have no complaints about this. I accept I was speeding. I accept it was my fault and no one else’s and I fully realise that there would have to be consequences for me.

I mention this after reading the results of a Guardian survey which asked readers to nominate roads across the town that would benefit from having a speed camera installed.

I have mentioned before that I live on the west side of the town so it was no surprise to see the Warrington Road dual carriageway was said to be one of the biggest problems.

This is a road I use frequently and I am well aware that it has a 30mph limit. The received wisdom is that it has become much busier since the Mersey Gateway toll bridge was opened with drivers electing to drive through Warrington rather than pay the toll.

I don’t know if this is true or not but I do know there are a lot of angry, impatient drivers using Warrington Road who see it as a personal insult or challenge to their masculinity if I stick to the speed limit and am judged to be ‘in their way’.

But some of the other roads that figured in the list of responses interested me.

Take, for example, Callands Road in Callands, and Sandy Lane in Lymm.

It seems residents of both of these roads feel that drivers are regularly speeding and felt strongly enough about it to respond to the survey.

Yet Cheshire Police disagree, with Insp Steve Griffiths, from Cheshire Police’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, saying: “Callands Road and Sandy Lane in Lymm were on our list, but were taken off after they were monitored and saw little evidence of speeding. However, they can be reassessed if residents report it as a concern.”

Just goes to show that sometimes the facts don’t quite match up with people’s perceptions.

But the question is do speed cameras actually work? I notice the government and police refer to them as ‘safety’ cameras not speed cameras so the obvious desire is to prevent accidents and save lives.

The Guardian quoted a study by the London School of Economics and Political Science which concluded speed cameras do reduce road accidents and traffic deaths.

It says the devices have been shown to be effective at reducing the number of crashes and collisions, and in turn road-related fatalities.

From 1992 to 2016, speed cameras reduced accidents by between 17 to 39 per cent and fatalities by between 58 to 68 per cent within 500 metres of the cameras.

The study says that adding another 1,000 cameras to British roads could save up to 190 lives annually, reduce up to 1,130 collisions and mitigate 330 serious injuries.

I’ll leave the last word to the AA: “They keep drivers on their best behaviour and make roads safer. That means they should only be a burden for bad drivers.”