One-speed-fits-all sim­plis­tic non­sense

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Cllr Jane Martin wants 30mph speed lim­its on all ru­ral roads (Coun­cil­lor wants 30mph speed limit on ru­ral roads, KE, Jan­uary 28) so adding to con­ges­tion, plus the longer jour­neys times that they bring.

A ru­ral road can be lit­er­ally a sin­gle track which mostly have a ‘the­o­ret­i­cal’ le­gal speed limit of 60mph – so ac­cord­ing to her hy­poth­e­sis, must be lit­tered with crashed ve­hi­cles!

Of course they are not, as gen­er­ally peo­ple drive to the sur­round­ing road con­di­tions, a fact she has to deny if she wants to im­pose a 50% down­graded limit.

Take for ex­am­ple the A28 be­tween Ash­ford and Ten­ter­den, which should be 60mph but has now been sub­ju­gated to all manor of speed lim­its de­pend­ing on the whims and fan­cies of lo­cal coun­cil­lors – to the to­tal detri­ment of the trav­el­ling pub­lic – as they try to use what was once a ‘na­tional’ road sys­tem.

This once free-flow­ing high­way is now just a cater­pil­lar of slow traf­fic for most of the day, thanks to the Lud­dite ef­forts of med­dling coun­cil­lors.

In fact, it is hard to find any main road which should be 60mph left in the county, as most have been re­duced to the de­light and sup­port of the speed cam­era in­dus­try, who profit from down­graded lim­its.

I ex­pect Cllr Martin will get let­ters of sup­port from peo­ple who think they live on a ‘race­track’, but do sim­i­lar speeds to the ones they com­plain about when driv­ing past some­body else’s house; once out of their road or vil­lage.

Peo­ple should al­ways drive at a safe speed for pre­vail­ing con­di­tions, but as th­ese vary con­stantly over a 24-hour pe­riod, to sug­gest there is one ‘safe’ speed is sim­plis­tic non­sense.

Sadly, in an era of anti-car hys­te­ria, th­ese peo­ple are lis­tened to. Terry Hud­son, Rus­sell Drive, Whit­stable

It is not just Cllr Martin’s idea that most ru­ral roads should be 30mph or less.

As a mem­ber of Road­Peace, Liv­ing Streets and the CTC, I have been cam­paign­ing on this is­sue for years.

Thou­sands of miles of our ru­ral roads are nar­row, un­du­lat­ing, and hedge lined.

Most do not have a pave­ment, or if they have, it is too nar­row and un­even.

I would go as far as to say that they are a na­tional dis­grace.

Cur­rently th­ese roads are avail­able to be used by pedes­tri­ans, horse rid­ers, the dis­abled, and cy­clists. As such they clas­sify as ‘shared use’. In most sen­si­ble high­way de­sign, shared use equals a 20mph max­i­mum speed.

The Dutch, Bel­gians, Swiss, and Ger­mans know how do this, so why is it the mo­tor ve­hi­cle must al­ways rule the road in this coun­try?

We have the most inane ex­am­ples where a car may turn off the A28 (with a 50mph limit) into tiny, wind­ing, Bilt­ing Lane (where the limit is set at 60mph) or into God­mer­sham vil­lage. It is dif­fi­cult to drive at 20mph and be safe in Bilt­ing Lane.

Imag­ine two ve­hi­cles ap­proach­ing each other at 60mph, along a nar­row and un­du­lat­ing road, with an abun­dance of blind bends; their clos­ing speed would be 120mph. How pre­pos­ter­ous is that?

There is a prob­lem and that is one of polic­ing. More speed cam­eras would help, but the roads should be fur­nished with phys­i­cal speed-re­duc­ing mea­sures.

Thanks to the good sense of most ru­ral driv­ers, cy­clists ex­pe­ri­ence greater cour­tesy and un­der­stand­ing on our de­light­ful lanes than in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments.

Speed con­trol is one thing we need, but we need thou­sands of miles of traf­fic-free cy­cle and foot­ways to link towns to vil­lages, and vil­lages to vil­lages.

And pigs might fly! Ted Prangnell, CTC, mem­ber of Road­Peace and Liv­ing Streets, Ken­ning­ton

Re­duc­ing speed lim­its is easy to do but not so easy to po­lice.

I live in Sha­dox­hurst where the speed limit is 40mph and the cars speed along the roads as if they are on a race­track.

When I walk my dogs it gets a bit scary be­cause the pave­ments are very nar­row and in some places there are none at all.

Cars and lor­ries speed past but one skid or loss of con­cen­tra­tion, es­pe­cially on the wet roads we have at the mo­ment, and a pedes­trian could be killed.

Ru­ral life is meant to be slower. Peo­ple pass­ing through our vil­lages should drive slower and be more thought­ful of what speed they are do­ing.

I am all for a re­duc­tion in the speed limit. Su­san Allen, Sha­dox­hurst

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