Road safety in Cymru

Wales has always been home to me. I was not born there but spent many years living and working there. Never have I felt so relaxed as when staying in Wales. In fact the only reasons I do not live there now are around being here for others.
Today though I am saddened at the realisation that Cymru has been took over by people with such little sense. It seems the Welsh Government has decided all roads that were 30mph should and will now be 20mph. At least according to a article I have read today in the MSM.
Now do not get me wrong, I get the need for the safety for l pedestrians, especially children and those with mobility and health issues that may effect their awareness. I fully support 20mph speed limits when schools are coming out, kids are not armoured and 20mph can and often does mean more pedestrian victims of road traffic accidents will sustain less injury and are more likely to survive the impact. I cannot and will not argue that point.
What I will say though is that I have been a driver for 38yrs. I spent over 10yrs of that driving double decker buses and another year driving delivery vans all over the UK.
My other jobs meant driving all over the country in so many different environments to Courts, hospitals, schools and peoples homes.
My only real hobby makes full use of all roads.
The one lesson i learned throughout that time has been additional rules and restrictions upon a road never increases safety.
That’s a contentious statement I know, and yes there truly is evidence to back it up. If in doubt search out Hans Monderman, he was a Dutch road traffic engineer. He undertook experiments in regard to sinage and restrictions, to the point of removing all pavements, road markings and signs in a community. Guess what, it proved to be safer with a massive reduction in accidents.
When people are placed under pressure to watch a speedo on their car, on their motorbike or in their truck, when they are looking for cameras and signs they are not watching out for other hazards.
Now I have a bee in my bonnet about roads, as many of you know. I hold no faith in the records taken by the police in regard to causes of accidents, why? Well because all the recordings have a major flaw, they never give the investigator the option of recording the accident as being due to the condition and surface of the road.
This is even more of a flaw now that it has ever been given our roads are now akin to a WW2 runway after it was bombed by the luftwaffe!
We have potholes a plenty, failing surfaces and faux repairs undertaken by placing either a blob of inferior tarmac substitute to fill a hole or once outlawed surface dressing to hide all the malrepaired holes.
If you want to improve safety you firstly need to know why accidents happen, and recording all as errors of people whether the driver, the victim or other folk does not provide us with that. Yes, when we take control of any vehicle from push bike to juggernaut we take upon the responsibility for our actions in regard to the control of that machine, but we are not the only factor in an accident.
So reducing the speed limit to 20 from 30 is not a true safety measure, it likely in my unqualified but very experienced opinion is like putting a sticking plaster on a huge shark bite whilst still underwater.
If you hold up people by reducing speed, you end up with some people trying to go faster where they can, so if there is a camera they slow down for that, but then speed up. A 15 minute journey will still take 15 minutes whatever speed you place upon the road.
Now, we get the muppets going on about camera vans…..”if they speed they deserve the fine” brigade….but, people get to know where speed cameras, even mobile ones are, and often the speed trap may entrap odd people taking the mickey and driving like the brainless twonks they are, but mostly it will be folks doing a couple of miles above the limit. Yes they “broke the law” but that does not in my (some will argue feeble) mind make them the ones to blame for the accidents. The camera vans in my extensive experience are often placed in dangerous positions causing higher risk due to their presence, even parking upon the pavements causing disruption and danger to the people they are supposed to be ensuring the safety of. Here in Derbyshire one was photographed this week in someone’s drive, hidden, and that is entrapment, never prevention!
So how should we make roads safer?
Well if you have gone away and read up on Monderman, you may already have some ideas, if not then firstly lower reliance on instruction and demand, by truly giving the driver the responsibility, allow them to decide where speed is safe and where caution is needed. When people drive in a dangerous manner and cause accidents prosecute with true sentencing, not just minimal fines, not just a year for killing folk.
But also investigate the accidents properly, hold councils to account and identify the true cause of the accident, even if the cause was not involved by direct contact or impact.
We need traffic vehicles and police officers (and no, I still ain’t a fan of the police in any way) rather than the pathetic and in my mind dangerous cash cow camera vans.
We need to educate those driving and those others using the roads, but not with the current wishy washy speed prevention course, run by some arrogant pseudo entrepreneur who has decided to make easy money preaching crap to a trapped audience.
We need roads to be wider, especially near schools, and a good infrastructure with safe communities, so folk do not feel the need to drive the 400yrds to drop off or pick up. Sadly many of you won’t remember true communities that Mrs Thatcher destroyed.
We do not need more of the same, speed humps damaging vehicles and making them unsafe, damaged roads, invasive road works due to over use of weakened infrastructure caused by over development of areas, so fat cats can profiteer.
Yes keep lower speed limits where people are vulnerable, such as outside schools, but enforce the removal of obstruction, such as dangerous and rude parking, delivery vehicles at school coming out times, and……well, you by now either get my point or not, I guess.
Thanks for reading.

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Jonesy the Dog of Socialism

I am in my 50's (ok 51), I have life challenges but still continue to be a father, a biker, a socialist and a human being. I fight hate and injustice in any way I can. I am me.

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