Letter: Stay calm on the roads and don’t be a statistic

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There are many well informed people who are totally convinced that the 20mph roll out will prevent deaths and serious injury and also improve the environment, which in turn will encourage walking and cycling.

These are good honest people who have formed this view and there are statistics which do support this.

Statistics can be spurious and although their veracity is sound I do feel that the interpretation of them is misleading.

I do stand by this statement and an analysis of the relationship between speed and accidents in itself does not really prove the connection.

I absolutely accept that if someone runs into me at 30mph, then the result will be far worse than if the vehicle was doing 20mph but there is a lot more to it than that.

To illustrate my opinion I will use basic statistics which I have invented but they do convey my opinion.

If I just look at the 30mph areas which will convert to 20mph. For journeys above 10 miles on roads which are not heavily congested, then virtually 100 per cent of drivers will exceed that limit on some stage of the journey, though 85 per cent will only marginally exceed that limit. The remaining 15 per cent are the real menace on our roads.

When the limit is changed to 20mph then again virtually all will exceed this at some stage but the end result will be that the 85 per cent that marginally exceed it will be travelling 10mph slower than when the limit was 30.

These 85 per cent did not cause the accidents that happened when the limit was 30 and they will not cause the accidents now it is 20.

However the 15 per cent will not alter their speed at all but the lower general speed will cause them to be more dangerous because the traffic will be moving slower and be more bunched and this will elicit more frustration for our 15 per cent menaces. I also can see the 15 per cent rising to 20 per cent as some of our marginal drivers will give in to their frustrations.

It could be argued that enforcement will soon sort out the 15 per cent but enforcement is not selective and the 85 per cent will be just as likely to be penalised as the 15 per cent.

People claim that what is needed is a cultural change and that in time people will happily drive around at 20mph, I do not think that this is so.

The 20mph roll out will continue and other towns and cities will follow suit but it will not reduce road accidents.

I do fully support a 20mph restriction in some areas, especially near schools and my own house.

This would tie in with most people who do tend to think that traffic should be lower where they themselves live and the majority of people can see the need near a school. Actually outside my house is not a particular problem but I do think that it is human nature to look at where we live as a special case.

My best wishes to all the drivers that I meet on my travels and please remain calm.

Life is too pleasurable, it certainly is to me and I don’t want to be a statistic, especially one that people will misinterpret.

Trevor Weatherill, Hebden Bridge