Why 20mph speed limits, in residential streets, are a must

Driving on a local road this afternoon, on my way to deliver public meeting flyers. Suddenly, from behind a parked car appears a football, followed by a young lad, who luckily saw me and stopped chasing his ball.

If I was doing the legal speed limit and hit him, would it make me feel any better at all, that I was ‘in the right’ and he was silly enough to run out in the road without looking? Absolutely not!

The problem these days, is that far too many drivers see 30mph as a target to be aimed for, as opposed to the absolute maximum if, all road conditions are absolutely ideal – and that’s a very big if.   Parked cars, junctions, narrow roads and the strong likelihood of children out playing in a residential street at the weekend, especially if it’s not raining or very cold, all this means that 30mph on most residential roads, is unacceptable, legal or not.

Too many of us become selfish and blinkered when they get behind the wheel of the car, determined to get where we’re going, as fast as we can and with the least amount of slowing down, let alone stopping. You only have to witness the way so many drivers launch themselves at the traffic calming build outs, to see just how reluctant drivers are to have slow down if they can possibly avoid doing so.

I’m not claiming that my, ‘old-man in a flat cap’ driving technique, saved this child from serious injury or death, given that he put his breaks on when he saw the car. However, if the boy had continued to charge on, with only ball recovery on his mind and I had been doing 30 mph, the injuries sustained would have been far greater and far more likely to cause death, than if I had been doing only 20 mph or less and that is something I defy anybody to argue with.

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