Pact in bid to make speed limit 20mph
Clevedon Mercury, Thursday, December 09, 2010
A YATTON community group is backing a national campaign to make the whole village safer for pedestrians, by reducing the speed for motorists to 20mph.
Yatton PACT has launched 20's Plenty For Us because it says reducing the speed limit from 30mph will make the roads safer for walkers and cyclists, and produce less pollution and less noise, therefore providing people with a better quality of life.
The campaign has been launched nationally for the implementation of 20 mph as the default speed limit on residential roads in the UK. Campaigners say that transport statistics for Great Britain show that more than half of road deaths and serious injuries occur on roads within 30mph limits.
They also say that Britain has one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school in Europe and parents consistently say traffic speed is the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school.
Research on vision found that primary age children cannot see accurately see, or judge the speed of vehicles travelling above 20mph.
A new study by vision scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, has measured children's ability to detect approaching cars in a road crossing scenario.
At vehicle speeds faster than 20mph, primary school-age children aged six to 11 years old may not be able to tell that a car is approaching, supporting the argument, the campaigners say, for enforcing 20mph restriction in areas with child pedestrians, such as residential streets.
Professor John Wann, who led the research, said: "This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast approaching vehicle."
Juley Howard, from Yatton Pact is spearheading the campaign locally to make the whole village a 20mph village without traffic calming.
She said: "Having a 20mph limit through the village has been an aspiration for years. I remember when I was a member of the parish council it was on the road strategy.
"It is always an issue that is brought to us at Pact. Children need to walk to school safely, not just outside the schools but from their front door. But it isn't just children, it is pedestrians walking through the village and cyclists.
"I have spoken to people who drive their children to school, even though it's only a short distance, because they are worried about the speed that vehicles travel at.
"If the traffic was slower, we think more people would use the roads."
At the end of November PACT ran a speedwatch session along the High Street, and in an hour and a half between 2pm to 4pm recorded 34 people travelling at more than 30mph.
Ms Howard said: "The motorists, a mixture of HGVs and other vehicles, were travelling at 33-39mph which is significantly high when there are pedestrians around."
The Yatton group has now set up an online petition and is asking people to show their support by signing it.
Ms Howard said: "We think there will be support for this and people I have spoken to say they would support it, but we need to establish that for certain, so are asking people to sign the petition.
"We will then hand the petition to North Somerset Council, which has the powers to change the speed limit."
Anyone who would like to find out more about the campaign or sign the petition can visit www.20splentyforyatton.org.uk.
What do you think about reducing the speed for motorists to 20mph? Write to us at Mercury Mailbag or email [email protected]