What speed limits are for

As I wrote last month, a new Massachusetts law allows cities to create speed traps. Chicopee is about to be the first city to pass an ordinance in response to this law.

A city councilor justified reducing speed limits on two streets: “They are used as cut-through streets.”

So Chicopee speed limits are meant to punish you for using a public street that residents don’t want you to use. Rather than being safety tools, they are favors for residents who don’t like outsiders. You should not feel any obligation to slow down just because somebody took offense at your presence on his street.

Should you slow down for the police?

According to the article, police don’t strictly enforce the existing limit. They couldn’t get everybody going over 30 or they didn’t think going over the limit was dangerous. Probably both. Either way, 26 mph didn’t suddenly become dangerous and likely to earn you a ticket.

Are you the type police like to pull over? Then you’re in trouble. Do you just blend in? Then ignore the marketing campaign and blend in with the flow of traffic.

As it happens, you would be legally in the right as well as morally if you blew past those signs as if they didn’t exist.

The law allowing cities to reduce speed limits hasn’t gone into effect yet. Laws other than “emergency” laws go into effect 90 days after the governor’s signature. In this case, speed limit authority does not devolve until the law goes into effect and the city council votes to “accept” it.

If the mayor posts the signs the City Council asked for, he will be violating speed limit laws.

Too bad there’s never a cop around when you need one.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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