The 20mph Experiment

We live on a busy road. When we moved to owning from renting some things were going to have to give, property desirableness wise, if we wanted a house with a garden and parking space in the City of Brighton and Hove. The road is one of our compromises.

It is also the link to several local schools. Boy’s school is off a right turn at the bottom, there is a Catholic Primary half way down and an Infants and Junior at the top. There are also several pre-schools in the area. This means that, at school run time, there is a procession of buggies and small children up and down the busy road.

Therefore, last week the road and the one following on from it were made 20mph maximum speed limit zones. A mini-roundabout was also made safer (basically smaller as people just zipped straight over it). We were very much in favour of the change as we believed it makes our little ones safer on the school run and lots of other parent’s little ones too. The first week, however has been far from successful.

Bluntly, despite signs both on poles and painted on the road no-one is doing 20mph. Cars, buses and lorries fly by at exactly the same rate because the limit is not being enforced. No police patrols, no speed cameras. One person does do 20mph however. My wife. Because we knew about the change and supported it she drives at 20 and here’s what’s happened to her this week. She’s been beeped, tailgated, v-signed and overtaken for doing the speed limit.

So instead of a nice safe school run we have the same old problem only with road rage, tailgating and dangerous overtaking occurring. In other words the road is now far more dangerous than it was.

Things need to happen here. What I’d like, as a human being, is for people to start noticing the speed limits and stop driving like dangerous, aggressive fuckwits around children. Really, if it were you what’s worse, 5 minutes of annoyance or a kid’s death? But I realise that human beings being what they are this is a sadly impractical. So speed cameras need to go up asap. Ideally speed bumps too. And more police patrols. If not the whole idea, one I supported, looks doomed.

I’ll keep you up to date with developments.




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  1. #1 by JallieDaddy on March 15, 2012 - 3:15 am

    Hear hear! I remember when I was driving in Brighton city centre on a Friday night when a drunken boy stumbled onto the road in front of me. I was able to slam on the brakes & avoid hitting him – but only because I was driving at the speedl limit. I;m pretty sure I;d;ve hit him otherwise .What is it about cars that turns so many many of us into angry a-holes? I’ve had no little experience of that myself today, outside a School / nursery, no less

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