Being an unashamed petrolhead, you might think that I have precisely zero desire to see a blanket 20mph limit enforced across the city in which I live (Brighton and Hove). But when our ‘green’ council sits down to vote on the introduction of such limits later today, I hope that they stick to their guns and see it through – for all sorts of reasons.
One, because few things anger me more than watching a giant SUV – or any vehicle to be honest – tearing along a busy residential road on which any number of disasters might be waiting to unfold. Yet this is a sight that’s become alarmingly common down my way, and the narrower the road, the faster certain types of berk seem to drive.
Two, because studies by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have suggested that at 20mph there’s a 2.5 per cent chance of being killed in a road traffic accident, but at 30mph there’s a 20 per cent chance, be you a pedestrian, cyclist or driver.
Three, are we really in so much of a rush nowadays that doing 20mph across town is simply too intolerable to bear?
Four, what if our average speed across town actually INCREASES due to a lower limit as a result of a reduction in stress generally and the removal of traffic lights specifically – which is the eventual idea with 20mph limits?
Five, traveling at 20mph will, or at least could, make our towns and cities quieter and less polluted to live in, and we’ll all burn slightly less fuel into the bargain. Which is surely something to embrace seeing as it won’t cost us anything to achieve, and will provide us with that little bit more fuel to enjoy where it actually matters, out on the open road. The only trouble in Brighton and Hove’s case is that there aren’t enough coffers in the bank to actively enforce a new 20mph limit. Which means that in much of the city the new limit – if it’s applied – will need to be self regulated; common sense and a basic regard for the law will be required to prevail, in other words.
Can you see someone who’s blown £150k on a new 600bhp Lamborghini Urus restricting themselves to 20mph when no-one else is watching? No, neither can I.
And so the merry-go-round will continue to rotate…