We’re liv­ing in fear of road crashes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

I’m writ­ing to you in con­nec­tion with the ar­ti­cle about Cllr Jane Martin (Coun­cil­lor wants 30mph speed limit on ru­ral roads, KE, Jan­uary 28) seek­ing a re­duc­tion in the speed limit on ru­ral roads, and the re­sponses pub­lished in the Points of View col­umn on Fe­bru­ary 4, in par­tic­u­lar the com­ments made by Terry Hud­son of Whit­stable.

I live along the A28 at Bethers­den, and my prop­erty has been the lo­ca­tion of nu­mer­ous ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents over the 40 years that it has been owned by my fam­ily. The most sig­nif­i­cant of th­ese was a lifechang­ing event where my father had both his legs bro­ken by a car from which he is in con­stant daily pain and un­der­gone op­er­a­tions.

I have at­tached a pho­to­graph of a re­cent ac­ci­dent where a car crashed into my gar­den, com­ing to rest on its side just in­side the pedes­trian gate – if I (or any­one else) had been there then we would not be alive to­day! The ac­ci­dents along this sec­tion of the A28 that runs through Bethers­den are pre­dom­i­nantly non-re­portable and so it is the res­i­dents who have to deal with the af­ter­math... we lis­ten out for the ac­ci­dents, we deal with the driv­ers and the re­cov­ery ve­hi­cles, and we spend hours talk­ing to in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to get re­pairs agreed, we clear up the de­bris left in our gar­dens, and then we get abuse from other road users who are held up whilst we are deal­ing with the ac­ci­dent.

This is just one of the rea­sons that I cam­paign for ap­pro­pri­ate speed and road safety mea­sures to be im­ple­mented along the A28. As well as be­ing a householder, I am a pedes­trian, a cy­clist, a horse rider and a car driver... so I have ex­pe­ri­ence of the use of this road from many an­gles.

I would like to in­vite Mr Hud­son to spend a day walk­ing in the shoes of the res­i­dents of the A28 at Bethers­den, af­ter which he may gain an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the im­pact the speed­ing ve­hi­cles have on a par­ent try­ing to cross the road with young chil­dren, or of an el­derly per­son who can­not walk fast, or just how in­tim­i­dat­ing it is to walk along a nar­row pave­ment (or along the side of the road where there is no pave­ment) when an ar­tic­u­lated lorry drives past on this nar­row stretch of road.

In my ca­pac­ity as a parish coun­cil­lor I was part of the Bethers­den vil­lage work­ing group who cam­paigned for re­duced speed lim­its on the A28 through the vil­lage, and, al­though I am no longer a parish coun­cil­lor, I con­tinue to work to achieve im­prove­ments along this road for the safety of the res­i­dents and road users.

In 2011, ru­ral roads ac­counted for 66% of all road deaths, and 51% of road deaths oc­curred on sin­gle ru­ral car­riage­way roads sub­ject to the Na­tional Speed Limit of 60mph.

I value life, and want to im­prove the qual­ity of life for the res­i­dents in Bethers­den as well as re­spect­ing the dif­fer­ing needs of the var­i­ous road users. There­fore I will con­tinue to cam­paign for im­proved road safety for all along this stretch of road, which in­cludes the use of ap­pro­pri­ate speed lim­its. I am not look­ing for­ward to deal­ing with the fa­tal­ity that will even­tu­ally hap­pen at my prop­erty. Caro­line Buck­ley Res­i­dent of the A28 Ash­ford Road, Bethers­den killed in­stantly. When the A28 is blocked, our lane is used as a cut through and again this is dan­ger­ous for our chil­dren who are ei­ther walk­ing or rid­ing on their bikes as there are no path­ways to walk along, just grass verges, un­like the A28 where there are path­ways all the way along it. Shel­ley Stub­ble­field High Halden

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