North Tyneside’s roads are currently busier than ever. One aspect of ‘normal’ life that hasn’t quite resumed yet after the pandemic is that many people have got out of the habit of using public transport. Those with cars are using them more. Perhaps no surprise then that I’m hearing increased concern about speeding.
Residents write to me as their councillor because speeding cars make them feel unsafe. It really can be very alarming walking down a local street to experience a car being driven just a few inches away from you at excessive speed. It’s wrong on any road but on our quiet residential streets it is frankly criminal. That’s why this week I’ve once again been talking to the police about it. I am pressing for local neighbourhood cops to have the training and equipment to be able to use mobile speed guns in local hotspots and progress on this is being made.
Over the last few years, together with my ward colleague Cath Davis, we have been able to instigate a wide range of road safety improvements. However, these all cost money. At the end of the day you and I as residents should not be paying for all sorts of adaptations to the road network just to deal with a small number of inconsiderate and dangerous drivers. I’m talking about drivers who completely ignore all the new 20 limits we now have in place on residential streets. I’m talking about the drivers who rag their cars up around the mini roundabouts on Preston Road, and shoot up and down Hawkeys Lane and Billy Mill Road at crazy speeds. Residents tell me that drivers who blatantly ignore the safety measures put in place must be caught and fined. I agree.
This really matters because it isn’t these drivers who are most at risk. If there’s an accident they are protected by a huge metal box. That’s not the case for pedestrians and cyclists, which is why they are the ones who pay the highest price in terms of the worst injuries. I recently did a deep dive into the latest accident data, which is from 2020. Take a look at the table below. It shows North Tyneside had 266 road accidents with casualties. Of these 35 involved harm to pedestrians, 43 harm to cyclists and 18 harmed motorcyclists. All this puts extra strain on the NHS too.
- If you are walking or cycling around our local streets I think you have a right to feel safe.
- If you are driving around the area you have a responsibility to be aware of the rules of the road and to stick by them.