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I've only been living in The Netherlands for a short time and I'm still trying to get to grips with learning Dutch. But now, I'm facing a task that's made much more difficult by my limited abilities with the language, namely how to (try to) successfully appeal a speeding ticket! So I need to ask for a bit of help here, if I may?

On returning from a trip back to the UK, I found that I'd got a speeding ticket from the CIJB. I only had one ticket before this, when they caught me doing 53 kph in a 50 limit, in Almere, which I owned up to and paid, as I could see no reason to contest it.

This time, though, things are not quite so clear. I knew that the section of the A2 between Utrecht and Amsterdam where one can travel at up to 130 kph (between 19:00 and 06:00) had only recently been introduced, and I had searched for some information and found this:

http://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/images/Fa ... 339056.pdf

But I still didn't know exactly where the limit changed back to a permanent 100 kph, when travelling towards Amsterdam. So, when I was on the A2, around 20:00 on 16 July, I was (I thought) watching out carefully for the signs that would tell me when I'd reached that point. Somehow, I missed them, but I did notice that the little "100" signs on the hectometer posts were no longer taped over (well, most of them). I'm quite sure that couldn't have been far after I'd passed the "main" signs. Nevertheless, it seems the "trajectcontrole" measured my speed at 113 kph (corrected), presumably in the first section.

When I got the ticket, I decided to go back and take another look at the signs at Vinkeveen. I made the following observations.

1. The signs indicating a full-time limit of 100 kph are NOT "vierkante startborden", with a black, emphasising surround, as the PDF linked above specifies. They are standard-sized, round signs only.

2. The signs are the same size, and mounted at the same height, as those found on a normal two-lane road.

3. The signs are placed just *behind* the supports of a traffic control gantry that spans all five lanes of the A2 at that point.

4. The (expensive) gantry is totally unlit. It is NOT used to indicate that there is a change to the speed limit at that point.

My point-of-view? If it is desired, by the state, that a particular section of road should have a specific limit applied to it, then it MUST be the state's responsibility to ensure that the speed limit which applies be as CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY indicated as possible.

Mounting just one single pair of standard-size signs on low posts, either side of a five-lane highway, does NOT constitute a CLEAR indication. Furthermore, when those signs are used following a number of identical signs, with "6 - 19 h" panels underneath them, one has also to recognise the ABSENCE of those panels, to realise that these signs are now indicating a CHANGE to the prevailing speed limit. As any psychologist will tell you, it's much harder to notice the ABSENCE of something, and this means that these signs do NOT constitute an UNAMBIGUOUS indication.

IMHO, for the speed limit to be indicated clearly and unambiguously at this point, the signs should be MUCH larger ones, on a rectangular black background (as illustrated in the Rijkwaterstaat PDF linked above. They should be mounted much higher and in the most prominent position possible (ie not behind the gantry supports). Better still, there should be additional signs mounted on the gantry over the road at that point too, because with five lanes, the chances of the signs being hidden by other vehicles are significant.

Best of all, the expensive gantry should be utilised to display the change of speed limit electronically! And I will note here that this is EXACTLY what is done on the A10 West ring, right next to where I live in south-west Amsterdam - so if it can be done there, then why not everywhere?

In addition to all of the above, when I found this Flitsservice.nl site, I also came across the forum post at:

http://www.flitsservice.nl/cm_php/nieuw ... hp?id=5551

Being quite a realist, I might not LIKE the use of electronic systems to impose fines on me when I'm going a bit too fast, but I can accept that I was doing something wrong, so there is a penalty for that. I find that difficult to accept, however, if the state is NOT complying with its own rules, when installing and using these electronic systems!

That's not to say that I can't make good arguments about the ineffectiveness of electronic systems, or indeed fixed speed limits, when it comes to road safety issues, but that's another topic!

On this occasion, I just want to ask for opinions on whether or not I have good reasons for appealing against this particular speeding ticket and, if so, what might be the best way of submitting such an appeal? In particular, I would like to know, clearly, if it is best, or even necessary, to request copies of the "evidence" (photographs, calibration reports etc) PRIOR to filing the appeal itself, as defined on the back of the ticket itself.

Sorry this post is so long - and that I was not able to write it in Dutch - but it seemed appropriate to provide all the details that I could. Thanks, in advance, for any responses!

First of all, bcs of this mess of speed-ranges on the motorways foreign people like you become confused about the allowed speed.
Domestic people can read newspapers and the trafficsigns more easily, in MY opinion there should be 1 speed on motorways 24/7 except small parts with for example roadworks with a lower speed limit.

This is not helping you, i realise it, but i can understand your confusion and why you started thinking "is it something i did wrong ? "
There is however NO logic in the allowed speed on motorways at this moment here in the netherlands.

What you can do is write a letter and request under WOB (wet openbaarheid van bestuur) the documents (including the photo) and the exact location of the "traffic violation" and decide on the resulting papers if you want to appeal the fine or let it be and pay the damage.

Keep in mind, you are, based on EU-laws and regulations, entitled to receive a fine written in a language you can understand, and like you said, dutch is not a language you understand ;)

Hi WimLex,

Well, I appreciate your support, and yes, even after having driven for a while here (and much longer in other countries, particularly France), there are plenty of times when "messages" on the roads leave me totally flummoxed about what they might mean! Obviously, the pictographical signs aren't a problem as they are (mostly) common to the whole of Europe, including the UK, and even I wouldn't try to argue that speed limit signs are hard to understand in a foreign language! :roll:

You are quite right, though, that the 'universal' speed limit that applies on the majority of motorways in the UK, France, Belgium - except for fairly special cases - is certainly 'easier' to comply with, if only because you hardly ever find yourself wondering what the limit is, as does seem to be the case here in The Netherlands. Particularly since the recent proliferation of speed limits that vary according to the time of day, which seems to be perhaps the most illogical aspect of all.

It's very interesting that you say I'm entitled to receive correspondence about the penalty in a "language I can understand". Does that apply equally if I'm driving a Dutch-registered car and have a Dutch issued driving licence (as I was obliged to get when I moved here)? Or is that rule only for "tourists"? If it does apply to me, then I guess it means that I can, at least, send my appeal written in English! Which will be a lot easier..... :kniktja:

BTW, you didn't comment on my specific observations. Do you think those, plus the article about the control gate being placed too close to the speed limit signs, are the sorts of issues that can result in a successful appeal?

To be honest: thousands of people got fined here and it actually is 'correct'. Not logical or understandable but i am afraid you have to pay... :(

The general Dutch administrative law act (Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht; Awb) allows for the use of other languages than Dutch in correspondence (art. 2:1 (2) Awb). Administrative appeals can consequently also be writtin in English, the authorities can however request a Dutch translation when necessary (art. 6:5 (3) Awb). One of the highest administrative courts found the fact that an administrative appeal was in 'basic English' did not constitute such a necessity (CRvB 27 juni 2012, ECLI:NL:CRVB:2012:BX1183).

Thank you for that clarification, Arnel. In fact, I called CIJB just earlier this afternoon and spoke with a very helpful lady, in English, with no problems, who was able to confirm that they had received my beroepschrijft and that, therefore, I did not need to pay any of the fine.

The confusion about that was because of the wording on the beschikking, where it says:

U bent niet verplicht het volledige bedrag te betalen, zolang uw beroepschrijft in behandeling is.

I'm not sure how it is normally to be understood in Dutch, but in English such a sentence would be taken to imply that you DO have to pay SOME of the fine - but not the FULL amount. Trouble is, the beschikking doesn't say anything about how much of the fine you might be obliged to pay.

I suppose it's all down to the fact that, in English, the statement:

- You must pay the full fine

is NOT the opposite in meaning of:

- You do not need to pay the full fine

Isn't language fun? ;-)


PS Incidentally, the opposite of the first statement above would be: "You do not need to pay ANY of the fine." Just for the record, in case anyone's wondering!

nigelh schreef:

It means that you do not have to pay the fine until your appeal has been decided upon, whether it's in your favor or not.

If your appeal is denied (which is usually the case), you have the right to bring the case to court where a judge will decide upon your case. Which is in my opinion the fairest way of handling things.

Die hard
However -behold, here comes the weirdest part of Dutch law- you'll have to pay the fine before it will get judged by a court. And maybe, one or two years after you have paid, you'll get the money back.

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