Vital statistics

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Your letters

I have so far refrained from responding to the plethora of letters against the introduction of 20mph limits on Worthing’s residential roads.

But I must take issue with Duncan Barkes in his column (Worthing Herald April 17) which is far from telling it straight.

He says: ‘The real drive behind this scheme has little to do with road safety and everything to do with the green agenda’.

Nonsense – the conception of the idea came explicitly from residents in Broadwater who were concerned with rat-running speeding cars in their roads. As the local county councillor at the time, I raised the possibility of 20mph limits at a Broadwater Police Neighbourhood Panel.

The panel knocked on doors with a petition and the response was overwhelmingly in favour.

None of us was aware of the 20’s Plenty campaign until a later date.

There was no ‘green agenda’ – even so, I fail to see what is wrong with a green agenda in view of the climate change floods and other disasters we have suffered of late.

Subsequently, a cross-party motion was put to Worthing Borough Council by Lib Dem Michael Donin and Conservative Tom Wye supporting 20mph limits in Worthing – it passed if not unanimously as near as possible.

A similar motion was passed in West Sussex County Council – again with little dissent. The motion was the foundation of the trial of 20mph limits in Worthing – some councillors wanted it to be county-wide. Again hardly a green agenda.

In my eight years as a councillor, one of the questions I am often asked is: ’Does someone have to be killed before something is done about this road?”

Unfortunately, the answer is often ‘Yes’ or at least seriously injured – featuring in the dreaded killed-or-seriously-injured statistics (KSI).

20’s Pointless uses the same argument – low KSI statistics show 20mph limits are not necessary.

The only statistic that matters as far as I am concerned is a child is more likely to be killed, or seriously injured, at 30mph than at 20mph and any measure taken that makes that less likely to happen can only be good.

Cost is also brought up as an argument against 20mph limits – although surely a child’s life is priceless. In any event, the cost of 20mph limits is estimated at around £350k, whereas the Department for Transport in June, 2008, estimated the cost of a fatal accident as £1,683,810. Seems a good deal.

As regards bus timetables and taxis – London, Bristol and Portsmouth, to name just three, seem to cope – why is Worthing different?

The Compass 7 bus service even has a timetabled stop period in the town centre for five minutes – there does appear to be room for adjustment.

Please do not waste this opportunity to accept West Sussex County Council’s offer to spend money on road safety measures without awaiting a fatal or serious accident. It is a very rare occasion.

Alan Rice

Woodlea Road


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