Every year adults and children are killed or seriously injured on our local roads. The most recent statistics show in one year 72 people fell casualty in the Canterbury district alone. Sadly, this inevitably includes a number of children.
Yet society appears to be becoming complacent. Road traffic collisions (RTCs) – you can’t say ‘accident’ as it implies nobody is to blame – are the cost society pays for driving cars. At least that’s how the authorities sometimes appear to act.
Having lived for a number of years by a dangerous road I understand the frustration residents feel when their concerns aren’t taken seriously.
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Like many constituents, I wrote to my MP warning that children crossing the road from the bus stop to get to school were in danger without a pedestrian crossing. Cars drive too fast and children don’t look.
With a depressing inevitability the reply came back from KCC that there had been no recorded incidents in this location, so no money was available.
In other words, come back to us when somebody dies. Then we’ll talk.
With local services under threat across the county the funds have to be deployed tactically and there is certainly an argument that it makes more sense to put traffic calming measures in place where accidents (sorry RTCs!) have already happened.
But surely it makes sense to act before it’s too late. In purely pragmatic terms, it probably costs less to prevent an accident than to pick up the bill from life-changing injuries or salvaging upside-down and burnt out cars.
There are many different types of calming measures, each suited to specific scenarios, but a cheap and effective option is to reduce the speed limit to 20mph.
A pair of 20mph signs might cost in the region of £600, and with lane markings over a 100-metre stretch may come in at around £2,000. In comparison a set of four speed bumps could set the council back ten times the amount.
Of course, some drivers will ignore it and there is no fool-proof and cheap method of slowing cars down, but this is a simple and effective measure that is statistically proven to reduce accidents.
The Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) agrees. Slowing down also improves air quality so it’s good for our health in more ways than one.
Local residents know where the danger zones are. Contact your local councillor and ask them to act. If they don’t, then you know what to do next time there’s an election!