Change needed

I got news that a friend, who days before I had said that he ought to get back on his bike, was knocked down by an over-taking car.

The car sped off leaving my friend unconscious in the centre of the A259 at Brooklands. Luckily, the following driver saw it and was able to call the emergency services.

So I rode home last night with maximum light power, helmet and fluoro jacket and was frightened. What has this town come to?

There is a discussion to reduce traffic speeds to 20mph in areas where people live. There should be no need for this if British driving culture was not what it is. An alternative, possibly better, option would be to remove all pavements in towns so that all space was shared.

This can be done in a sophisticated way as in many regenerated UK town centres (research shows that with no signage car speeds drop to below 15mph in busy areas), TCI take note. However, it would be prohibitively expensive.

Another solution, which would take many generations, would be to run an education programme from pre-school through to all aspects of adult life to change driver’s attitudes.

All that pedestrians, equestrians, cyclist and any other no motorised users want is for drivers to recognise that they are there and allow adequate room for them, not just adequate room for the car.

It would seem an obvious solution. However, so ingrained in our culture is the absolute priority of the car that possibly the only alternative is to initiate schemes such as the 20mph speed restriction in areas where people live.

For or against, the mere fact that you have read this and that there are vociferous proponents from both sides creates a debate and that very debate is the first step in changing Worthing’s driving culture.

If opponents of 20mph limits create enough fuss and outrage they may well scupper the plan for 20mph limits, but to reverse the inevitable they will have to generate a huge town-wide debate involving the press, radio, town councillors, county councillors, MPs and, top of the list, every dining table, pub and work place all discussing road safety in Worthing.

Simply discussing the road safety issue in our town may be enough to remind drivers that roads are being used by the old, the young and venerable as well as the motorist.

JP Saville

The Heights