Slowing traffic saves lives

Road safety is one of the issues that my colleague Cath Davis and I have committed to making a difference on, because residents have told us how much it bothers them.

For the last year or two it has sometimes felt like we’ve been pushing water uphill, but lately we have started to see some action. One of the schemes that went live in 2021 was the re-zoning of Lansdowne Terrace West, from a 30 to a 20. Residents were fed up of both the noise of fast-moving traffic, but more importantly, the danger it posed. Our concern is particularly around children. It is a tragic fact that when it comes to serious traffic accidents involving pedestrians, sometimes resulting in fatalities, children are all-too often the casualties.

This isn’t just something that happens somewhere else. As the graph above shows, North Tyneside is in double figures when it comes to serious road accidents involving children. As far as Cath and I are concerned we want Preston ward to be a Zero Casualty part of the borough. We have campaigned for two new crossings (one zebra, one toucan) to be installed in locations that residents have told us are dangerous. Both are now in the ‘shovel in the ground phase’. I’ll update on those in another post.

Back to the new 20 zone on Lansdowne Terrace West. I was just looking at the results of the speed survey that we had commisioned, to establish whether or not the traffic has indeed slowed. The recorded average speed was 22.2 mph. At first glance this sounds encouraging, but actually it doesn’t provide enough detail. This is one of my bugbears, I come up against it frequently. Apparently the Department of Transport provide some sort of official guidance to Councils advising them to make decisions about road safety based on average speeds. Clearly this is nonsense.

What we need to start with is: What speed is dangerous on a road like this? Say 30 mph. Then, what we need to know is how many times a day is this speed being exceeded. If it is 5 times a day then on a busy road like this we might put that down to a few idiots and leave it at that. If it is 100 times a day (and it realistically could be) then we know we still have a problem and further measures need to be taken.

Rest assured that I won’t be backing off until we know that our objective of making the road safer has been achieved.

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