Friday, 04 January 2013 13:36

MPs to debate rural speed limit

Written by  Ruralcity Media
MPs to debate rural speed limit

THE controversial issue of reducing rural speed limits is to be debated by MPs.

Speed limits in rural Lincolnshire will be the subject of an adjournment debate tabled by Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips on Wednesday (9 January).

Guidance to local authorities making it easier for them to implement lower speed limits on urban and rural roads was published by the government last year.

Road safety charity Brake believes the government to go further by proactively encouraging lower limits, especially widespread 20mph limits to protect people on foot and bicycle.

Brake awarded Mr Phillips its Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month Award a little over a year ago, for his work to reduce speed limits on local roads.

The award was made came after he campaigned for reduced speed limits on rural roads through two villages in his constituency.

Brake insists road crashes are not accidents – describing them instead as devastating and preventable events, rather than chance mishaps.

"Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties," it says.

But critics claim reducing speed limits will hit the rural economy by increasing journey times with little benefit in accident reduction.

Brake argues that lower speed limits improve safety and quality of life.

The charity wants 20mph to be the norm in towns and villages, with no more than 40-50mph on rural roads.

At their annual party conference last year, the Liberal Democrats voted in favour of widespread 20mph limits, accompanied by a programme of government investment.

The Lib Dems called for local authorities "to give active consideration to introducing 20mph limits in existing residential and other suitable roads over the next few years".

Schemes should be be designed in consultation with local residents, with a government minister responsible for working with local authorities to reduce speed limits.

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  • Guest (Giles Darling)

    In reply to: Guest (Raymond Smith) Report

    "Country lanes have hardly changed in a century" are you sure? (apologies if you're 100+ years old). Until the 1930s most country lanes were waterbound macadam (layers of different sized stones bound by sand/clay/mud) but in dry weather car tyres created huge dust clouds. So rural roads changed to tarmac, and each time a new layer was applied the road would get wider. Also, we now have better road markings, signs, drainage. So in fact, country lanes have changed quite a lot in a century.

    from West Sussex, UK
  • Guest (Raymond Smith)

    In reply to: Guest (Giles Darling) Report

    I am actually 66 and the single track roads where I live in rural staffordshire have not changed in my lifetime. 1930 is 83 years ago, not far off the century. The position of hedges and ditches is just the same now as it was then. I was cycling along them as a child and driving small farm tractors before I was officially allowed to! I suppose it depends where you live as to what changes have been made. 'Halt at Major Road Ahead' has changed to 'Give Way' but that's about it

  • Guest (Maureen Comber)

    Report

    I agree with Raymond. Also there is no reason why the motorist should take control over all the roads in the country.
    If they can't recognise a speed limit and the reason for it then they are obviously too irresponsible to be drivers.
    Vehicle drivers used to have their licences permanently confiscated if they caused an accident to non-motorised users
    of the highway. That focused the mind on due care and attention.

  • Guest (Giles Darling)

    In reply to: Guest (Maureen Comber) Report

    "There is no reason why the motorist should take control over all the roads in the country" - depends how you define "road". If it's a road for vehicle use, then I think it's fair vehicles "take control" - after all motorists pay road tax to use the public highway - pedestrians and cyclists pay no road taxes. If it's a road not for vehicle use, like bridleways, cyclepaths and footpaths, then you're quite right - motorists shouldn't "take control", and I believe they don't.

    from West Sussex, UK
  • Guest (Maureen Comber)

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    Sec 130 HA 1980 states it is the duty of the highway authority to assert and protect the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of any highway for which they are the highway authority.
    It does not say the vehicle driving public only.
    Perhaps it would be better to include the single track carriageway rural roads, the ones without the white line in the middle in the footpath, bridleway and cyclepath category?:)
    Everyone pays taxes and should not be disenfranchised by those choosing to motor

  • Guest (Margaret Newlands)

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    I live in a Suffolk rural community. Despite years of trying our village has no speed restrictions. We therefore have traffic at widely varying speeds using the roads along with pedestrians,horse riders and cyclists. During the six years we have lived here the erosion of hedgerows and verges by traffic has been very noticeable - delivery vans have increased and lorries have become bigger and heavier.Our last request to have some signage met with another 'no' - we need a fatality I think.

    from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK
  • Guest (Giles Darling)

    In reply to: Guest (Margaret Newlands) Report

    If you or one of your neighbours has the time/money there is a short-term solution: Buy a cheap (£50 to £150) car from your local newspaper's cad ads, make sure it's MOT'd and insured, and park it on the road to create a chicane to force drivers to slow down. You might consider buying two and putting them on opposite sides of the road (though not at the same location). Of course this only works where there are no yellow lines. It works wonders on the roads round here.

    from West Sussex, UK
  • Guest (Raymond Smith)

    Report

    Margaret seems to live in a similar place to me. You need the Parish/district councils and most importantly your county councillor on your side. He/she has to badger the cabinet member and the officers. It took me 14 years. The council has to give priority in terms of accidents stats but there will be less accidents/near misses when the lorries frighten off the walkers/cyclists/horses. Keep a log of all incidents

  • Guest (Maureen Comber)

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    Margaret is right about statistics because dead horses don't figure in the stats, only people count and they are far too sensible to use the lanes as they once used to do. Result no stats.
    It is a shame that we have all been reduced to numbers, not only does that de personalise the issue but I thought there was something in the Human Rights Act about minorities and not excluding
    The government seem to be missing a trick since I suspect the whole of rural England is similarly blighted by speed

  • Guest (Maureen Comber)

    Report

    Giles I have often thought of using my muck cart as you suggest. Thanks for the reminder.

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