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Testing the limit
YOUR feature and report on the proposed 20mph speed limit prompts a number of questions (The Press, August 31).
Firstly, should we take the advice of a councillor who, I am told, does not even have a driving licence and allows himself to be photographed walking down the middle of a road with parked cars on both sides.
A more difficult question is what proportion of accidents occurs when the speed limit is ignored. Speed limits are set for bad driving conditions and most drivers would reduce speed from 40pm to 30mph to comply with the law.
If a 20mph limit is in place, many drivers will ignore it if 40mph seems safe. Anna Semlyen’s claim that a 20mph limit will reduce jams goes against common sense.
Lower speeds increase journey time, which increases the number of vehicles on the roads, increases jams which are dangerous to motorists and pedestrians and increase pollution.
I would like to see the present 30mph limit enforced with the use of fixed speed cameras. I would also like to see better facilities for pedestrians, such as pedestrian-controlled crossings and more use of railings, as suggested by Mike Natt, to keep pedestrians off the road – including Coun Merrett.
Michael Thompson, Skiddaw, York.
• SO THE speed limit debate continues unabated. Why?
The simple fact is that it doesn’t make any difference what the limit is: drivers will proceed at whatever speed they feel appropriate. I believe it is sometimes referred to in official circles as ‘self-regulation’.
Burton Stone Lane has a 20mph limit at the Clifton end which is ignored by 90 per cent of motorists, despite their triggering LED warning signs. Speed bumps do nothing to slow their progress as the existing ‘pimples’ can be straddled or manouvered around.
My solution would be to enforce current speed limits with increasingly high fines, identify accident areas and then look at changes needed to our existing system.
Self-regulation does not work; hitting us in the pocket for breaking the law is more likely to have the desired effect.
Henry Harris, Burton Stone Lane, York.
• I DO not think speed bumps stop speeding motorists, except in the immediate area.
There are speed bumps outside Wigginton School which are 350 meters from my house and certain motorists are travelling at 40mph plus by the time they are passing my front gate. A blanket 20mph speed limit without bumps everywhere would certainly be a waste of time.
The answer lies in speed cameras, not fixed ones but those that are hand-operated by the police. I would put up permanent camera warning signs and then have random speed checks done by the police when they deem it necessary.
I would not inform the general public when these checks were to be made [another stupid ruling from Brussels], so people would be caught speeding. These offenders would be prosecuted, with their misdemeanours brought to the attention of the general public.
There would be no expensive cameras to install with the ensuing maintenance and vandalism. One policeman on a motorbike; it would be simple and cost effective.
Ray Theakston, Greenshaw Drive, Haxby .
• HAVING followed the correspondence on the 20mph, I have to disagree with that policy and support the former accident investigator Mike Natt when he indicates that speed is not the only thing responsible for road accidents. To use speed as the only indicator/cause of road accidents is extremely disingenuous.
Having assisted many solicitors in accident/injury at work claims, it is my belief that ‘fault’ is the main thing they would try to establish by looking at how an accident was ‘caused’ and by examining all the events leading to any injury.
In legal terms, speed would not be the cause or, the fault, without other supporting evidence. As our councillors continue to mix up the rules – cycle tracks on footpaths, streets closed as play areas one day and back to usable roads the next day – young children will become more confused about rules of the road.
It is noticeable that the councillors mainly involved are acting for their own wards, but does the council govern on behalf of all of York or just for their own group? Since we may be looking at a black hole in council finances of £6 million, should we be wasting money on a false premise?
Paul W Cooper, Former safety representative, York Carriage Works, Woodlea Avenue, York.
• WHO would choose for one of their loved ones to be hit by a car at 30mph rather than at 20mph?
Both detailed evidence and common sense suggest casualties are generally less severe and deaths much less frequent at 20mph rather than at 30mph – equally that a vehicle travelling at 20mph is more likely to be able to stop in time than one travelling at 30mph.
We do need to move away from the notion that 20mph is some kind of nasty imposition.
If you as a driver are travelling at 20mph in other people’s streets, you can reasonably expect most other people to be driving with the same care in the streets where you, your children and elderly relatives live.
Most car drivers are also pedestrians and have pedestrians and even cyclists in their families. 20mph areas challenge the driving culture whereby we speed up wherever possible between obstacles and enable roads to become shared spaces for cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
20mph has been the norm in residential areas in most of northern Europe for over a decade.
Read about how 20mph also reduces pollution, improves health and is very cost effective at 20splentyforus.org.uk
Denise Craghill, Broadway West, York.
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