Further to several recent letters, I am writing to clarify the position regarding the likely effect on buses if the proposed 20 mph limit were to be implemented across Worthing.
Clearly this would slow down the buses and while this would only add three to four minutes to each journey, it would mean reviewing each timetable and probably cutting out some sections of route since we do need to operate an hourly service rather than a bus every 65 minutes! It is true that on many services we do already have a five-minute wait built into the timetable in the town centre but since this is to allow for traffic delays and is often required, we would then need an additional five minutes if the buses are slowed down to 20mph.
I have asked the pro-20 lobby if bus routes could be exempted but they are not willing to consider this and so I do have to query their stated view that they want to support bus services in the town. Already, in both Chichester and in Brighton, bus timetables have had to be altered as a result of 20mph limits so the evidence is already there, however much people may claim otherwise.
I always want to see improvements to road safety but surely the important thing is to maintain the 20mph lower limit near to schools and this differential will disappear if there is a blanket 20mph limit across the town.
Schools will no longer stand out as having a lower speed limit and this will actually make it more dangerous in areas where 20mph really is needed. Since the police have stated that 20mph cannot be enforced, this limit would give a false sense of security and could actually make the town more dangerous since if people want to speed they will still do so regardless of the limit.
In a recent letter, it stated the issue was that a child is less likely to be killed at 20mph than 30mph. However, if we follow that argument why not make it 10mph or ban cars totally from our towns!
As a society, one cannot totally avoid all risks and we have to find a balance.
Worthing has an extremely good record for road safety and there is no real evidence these proposals will do anything to improve it but will instead just cause frustration and more congestion. 30mph has been the default speed limit in built up areas for many years and cars are now safer than ever with better brakes and additional safety features; with the result being evident in falling accident rates over the years.
One final thought – if there really is £350,000 available to spend, then would it not be better using it to replace all the evening and Sunday buses withdrawn over the years?!
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