Traffic calming? - Alwyn
Following an accident in a local village when a youth crossed in front of a car on a skate board, locals who did not see the accident called for an immediate lowering of the speed limit.

As a local councillor (small council) I attended a site meeting to discuss ways of improving road safety. Oddly, I was the only one who said the youth should not have crossed a main road on a skateboard and to blame the driver was simply ridiculous. The usual cry went up, "If he had been going more slowly, he could have stopped"

Without actually seeing the accident, they could not know that. Perhaps the idiot gave the driver no chance. Bridget Driscoll was the first pedestrian to walk in front of a car and be killed. This happened on August 17th 1896 and the car was travelling at 4 mph.

However the point of this post is that when the County Highways engineer said the limit could not be lowered as it was a 40 mph road - with which I agreed, having seen the criteria - he suggested that he could provide red tarmac
(UGH) along the centre line to narrow the lanes and perhaps slow drivers.
(politics, not safety)

When I suggested that this would push cars nearer to pedestrians he replied, "Yes, it frightens them"

Jeepers!!!!!!

Needless to say, when this came up at last nights meeting, it was thrown out.
Re: Traffic calming? - Dave
Alwyn wrote:
>
> Following an accident in a local village when a youth crossed
> in front of a car on a skate board, locals who did not see
> the accident called for an immediate lowering of the speed
> limit.

I can't see why lads on Skateboards would stop jumping under cars if the cars we're going slower.
Re: Traffic calming? - Andy Paul
Nobody in authority has any clue about real life. When are people going to realize that the roads are for cars.

As a child I was taught how to cross a road and to keep way from all moving traffic.

Surely if someone walks out in front of a car they deserve whats coming. At least it may knock some sense into them and they MAY think twice about doing it again. Instead we blame the driver who was travelling within the speed limit and was alert.

This world becomes a worse place every single day thanks to these sort of people wasting taxpayers money on s*** like this.

Traffic calming my A*** it certainly doesn't make me calm.


Bloody furious

Andy
Re: Traffic calming? - Andrew Tarr
Don't go too far on this one - the roads are for everyone, not just cars. What about bikes, etc.? However it is pretty clear that it is asking for trouble to cross a road on a skateboard, not much different from shooting a traffic light on red.
Re: Traffic calming? - Brill
Along a stretch of road into/out of town here, we have a road long quite straight road with narrow pavements. The road has a (roughly) 3 feet wide hatched marking right down the length of it. This pushes the cars quite close to the pavement, and is particularly bad with fast moving lorries.

Can anyone enlighten me as to the purpose of this, surely a good old white line down the middle would suffice?

From experience, is it worth writing to the council?

The limit is 30 and would be safe at that rate, but actual traffic speed is never below 40 when I use it, when I go at 30 it seems to wind people up a great deal. I feel like waving a huge *30* sign out of the window to show them why I'm travelling at said speed. They either don't know the posted limit or don't care.

Rambling, sorry, I'll go and lie down.

S.
Re: Traffic calming? - Alwyn
If the traffic speed is 40 then, according to the 85th percentile rule, the 30 limit is too low.

This from the ABD

A 1992 consultation by the DETR on speed limit criteria includes the following significant statement on the purpose of speed limits:

"While the speed limit may apply some downward pressure on the speed of the fastest drivers, speed limits on their own do not reduce speeds significantly if they are set at a level substantially below that at which drivers would choose to drive in the absence of a limit."

This statement reflects the findings of many studies in the UK and around the world, which show that unrealistically low speed limits, far from reducing speeds, can actually have the reverse effect, as drivers treat them with the contempt they deserve. To back up its statement, the DoT recommends that speed limits should be set in relation to the 85th percentile speed of traffic, i.e. the speed at or below which 85% of traffic travels. If the 85th percentile figure is more than 7 mph or 20% (whichever is the greater) above the proposed speed limit, then a higher limit should be chosen or physical measures introduced to reduce speeds. A highway authority should be able to demonstrate, therefore, that it has measured speeds on the road in question and taken the DoT's criteria into account.
Re: Traffic calming? - Andrew Tarr
.. .. ..trouble is, there are a few drivers who go as fast as possible without actually leaving the road, especially if they think no-one is looking. Every road should have some speed limit (posted or implied) so that drivers and others have a reasonable chance of avoiding the unexpected.
Re: Traffic calming? - dan
Quote ".. .. ..trouble is, there are a few drivers who go as fast as possible without actually leaving the road, especially if they think no-one is looking. "
-Andrew.

So what use would speed limits have? Regardless of whether they read 70mph or 10mph...

dan
Re: Traffic calming? - Independent Observer
Alwyn

Do you know, or can you find out, what is the cost of the "red tarmac" you refered to per square metre laid (preferably in volume)?

And is it the same cosmetic surfacing as found on bus lanes and bus stops?
Re: Traffic calming? - Alwyn
I don't know the cost of the ugly red tarmac which is polluting lovely villages nationwide, though we were quoted £9000 for a strip perhaps 2 feet wide by approx 300 yards long to include white lines etc.

Perhaps your local quarry or highways engineer can give you a price.
Re: Traffic calming? - Dan J
Ridiculous isn't it Alwyn? Same as the MG adverts, it seems the anti-car fraternity always get the loudest vote on anything. So easy to blame the motorist as a non-entity for them isn't it? If I was going at any speed between 15mph and 115mph down a road with cars parked tightly together on either side and someone ran out directly in front of me, regardless of speed/car/quality of brakes/ABS chances are they'd be killed. Rather than have jay-walking as an offence (as it is in the US and Germany) people can pretty much behave how they like on foot over here and the finger of blame will always point towards the motorist.

Why aren't these cardi-wearers looking at ways of improving perhaps the street lighting? Or maybe educating people on better road sense? It'd be nice for once for people to stand up and say what a shame the boy died but what a bl**dy idiot for his actions, what can we (sensibly) learn from this? What about the poor driver as well? He'll have that on his conscience for the rest of his life - He may have been driving recklessly but he just as likely may have been driving at 30mph anyway and will be "blamed" or what happened.

Interesting skate-boarding is mentioned - Another point you might like to raise with your own council- Councils in London that I am familiar with seem to like barring skating/ball games and virtually any other activity kids might try and enjoy from everywhere they can think of. Where does this leave for them to undertake the same activities? Town centres and roads! Of course as soon as an accident happens, as above, easier to point the finger elsewhere and the motorist is such an easy target...

Be interested to hear what the outcome of this is Alwyn - keep us posted?

Dan J
Re: Traffic calming? - Dan J
Another thing while I think about it, something along similar lines happened in an accident prone area which was a 30 zone in Nantwich (I think!!), after much argument that it was all down to motorists' speed (well, why would it be the fault of the road layout etc/anything the council/gov't could be blamed for?) the limit was reduced to 20mph - one of the first areas this happened to I believe.

Outcome? Zero reduction in the number of accidents per year on the road, or the seriousness of them plus various claims against the council for loss of many cars exhaust systems/low bumpers on sports cars on the stupidly designed calming bumps...

This country is going mad!
Re: Traffic calming? - Alwyn
Same thing happened in Market Drayton. 20 limit is now being scrapped.
Re: Traffic calming? - ChrisR
I'm not sure it's terribly useful to talk about an "anti-car fraternity". I'll bet most of the people calling for lowered speed limits, traffic calming etc. are also drivers at least occasionally. Fifty years ago it was probably possible to divide the nation into motorists and non-motorists. These days it's not so easy.

Road safety is an important issue. Turning it into a "them and us" argument along the same lines as "they" keep putting more tax on fuel doesn't help because it isn't the same argument. It just makes people (on both sides) more stubborn and less likely to listen. Until the road lobby drops this confrontational approach, there will be no popular support. People want quieter streets where their kids can play safely. They want to be able to walk along the pavement and feel safe. And they want to be able to go about their lives without the constant rumble of speeding traffic. There are places where that's just not going to be possible of course, but the idea surely is to make our towns, villages and roads safer and more pleasant for everyone. We all pay for them, so why should one group (if it wants to call itself a separate group) get its own way all the time, as the motoring groups mostly have for the best part of a century?

Cars are great in many ways. But the vast numbers of them on the roads today need to be handled differently from the smaller numbers of the 1950s. I appreciate that this thread is discussing what can be done, and good suggestions have been made. But it's foolish to pretend that drivers will not have to accept fewer freedoms in order to protect freedom of movement in general. Mistakes are being made in how these things are being done. But by setting itself up in automatic opposition, and hurling abuse ("cardi-wearers"?), the road lobby is denying itself a place in the debate.

Chris
Re: Traffic calming? - Dan J
Chris

To be honest, I was sounding off a little in my initial post. You are completely correct in what you say regarding a 'them and us' situation. The reason that I was antagonised by Alwyn's the post is not that I do not also want "quiet streets where kids can play safely" nor that I believe motorists need to change their ways these days but the "blame" factor.

Road safety is an extremely important issue. If it is appropriate the road have it's speed limit lowered then so be it. But as it stands, people are very quick to jump up and blame the speed at which the car was travelling and demand lower limits. All I was saying is that it is nonsense to simply concentrate on this one small aspect. In the US, in residential areas the speed limit is 15mph, it is also much lower (35mph) on roads we'd drive 50mph on but the US has one of the worst accident record rates in the developed world. It is NOT the answer merely to having everyone drive round at a slower pace which various government campaigns/opinions seem to indicate but a problem that has to be addressed from all sides (hence my comments as to have these kids re Alwyn's post got anywhere to skate anyway).

Correct it should not be a "then and us" but I don't think the road lobby has much of a place in the debate these days anyway and it is not just the responsibility of the motorist to ensure that anyone near the road, motorist or otherwise is safe.

Dan
Re: Traffic calming? - Brian
Funny this should come up today, as on Monday night I turned into our road, which is a Close 10 houses long, to be confronted by a skateboard jump consisting of a plank of wood between the kerb and a brick in the middle of the road. the kids concerned were 30+ yards away.
As I was going at a sensible speed I stopped when it came into view in the headlights, but if I hadn't who would have paid for the damage to the car?
Correct!
Re: Traffic calming? - Ian Cook
A propos of no particular contributor to this thread.

I think it's about time people started taking responsibility for their own actions, rather than look for someone else to blame (and sue).

When I was working in the offshore industry one piece of advice given in our offshore survival training was: Don't become the next casualty.

It's stuck in my mind ever since. Whatever you are doing, or about to do - think about it, and think how YOU can minimise the risk to YOURSELF.

If we all did this perhaps A&E departments would not be quite so full of people who fell off ladders at Bank Holiday DIY time, or rode a skateboard (without lights) across a dual carriageway, or whatever.

Ian
Re: Traffic calming? - Brian
The cheapie version of this is a thick coating of red paint, rather than anti-skid.

A favourite at traffic lights to mark out pedestrian or cyclists areas (also seen in green) it has a reduced friction qualities, as evidenced by the skid marks all over them.
Re: Traffic calming? - Independent Observer
"I'm not sure it's terribly useful to talk about an "anti-car fraternity". I'll bet most of the people calling for lowered speed limits, traffic calming etc. are also drivers at least occasionally. Fifty years ago it was probably possible to divide the nation into motorists and non-motorists. These days it's not so easy."


Well, purely as an academic excercise, lets try.


Drivers have received training, and passed a test and received a licence, to demonstrate at least some awareness of how to control a car and how to use it on the road. (Most of them manage to drive around NOT having accidents all day. In fact I think the figure is something ridiculous like the average motorist kills sombody once. Every 400 MILLLION miles. But then that's only because they lump in the homicidal drivers and the suicidal pedestrians with the average motorists. )

The chancellor, and the transport minister, I believe, have not.


Drivers......................

Some people (some quite genuine) believe that cars are destroying the planet and wouldn't even accept a lift in one, and so probably haven't even had lessons. (Some paranoid conspiracy theorists still foolishly believe that there is a lone fifth man out there, a mole infiltrated into western society by the communists in the days of the cold war, "tasked" with undermining capitalism, but that is plainly incredible).


Drivers......................

Some hypocrites eg campaign for reduced speed limits and speed cameras, and are then the first people caught by same when they get their way.

Other hypocrites pontificate about the evils of motoring, and run two old jags!


Motorists want to cruise down a 30mph road at 30mph when it is safe to do so.

Certain people want them slam their brakes on every few yards, bump and bounce around over speed bumps, scrape their exhausts or worse, rev away, repeat the process, all in first gear.................to reduce the noise and pollution from traffic. Naturally.


Motorists want to cruise down a 30mph road at 30mph when it is safe to do so.

Certain people want them to concentrate on traffic "calming" measures: swerving up against the pavement to avoid central hatching, swerving back out again, to avoid pavement projections "guarded" by matt black stealth bollards, swerving back onto the pavement to avoid a car that has been forced out by a projection on the other side, as he swings away onto the pavement - in the interests of pedestrian "safety". Obviously.


Motorists want children to be taught that if they run out in front of a car within it's stopping distance it will hit them.

Certain people want children to be taught to reclaim the streets as play areas, emulate kids in "Speed Kills" ads and loiter and jaywalk on the road, and that they have the "right" of way, and a car "MUST" stop if they step out in front of it. All in the interests of child safety. Of COURSE!


Motorists want to be able to use a main radial route for getting to and from wherever it goes.

Certain people want to "relieve" congestion by halving the capacity of all main roads with bus lanes. 24 hours a day (where are the 24 hour buses?:-( Which means that capacity is further reduced (to zero?) because at every junction cars wanting to turn left have to stop in the right hand lane and negotiate a bus lane which usually runs right up to the junction. So logical when you think about it.


Certain people want to reduce road casualties by introducing a proliferation of speed cameras on fast straight stretches of roads, never by schools or in residential areas. Because they CARE about people, especially children, not because they have anything against cars.


Certain people want to ban the advertisement of cars. Not all cars, of course. And not all adverts. Just any not taken with an ultra high speed camera that can capture a shot of a moving car without any trace of blur in the wheels or background. As any implication that a car can actually move would be to encourage death from the fatal disease speed, recently rediscovered by the medical profession, after lying dormant since the early pioneering days of the railway age. That doesn't mean that they don't care about the national car industry, or even local employment prospects. And it certainly doesn't mean that they are anti car. Just pro life.


Clearly ALL of the above, motorists, hypocrites, and non-motorists alike, logically, are, of COURSE, all obviously totally PRO-motorist, naturally.

They aren't being confrontational. It's just that being intelligent and caring individuals they ask why should one group (if it wants to call itself a separate group) get its own way all the time when we all pay for the roads. They want quieter streets where their kids can play safely. They want to be able to walk along the pavement and feel safe. And they want to be able to go about their lives without the constant rumble of speeding traffic.

And THAT is why they campaign for all these speed bumps (what did the governments own Transport Research Lab say about them?), traffic "calming" measures, and diversions (sorry, speed cameras, traffic "calming" and bus lanes - and what did the governments own Transport Research Lab say about them?).


And therefore it is impossible to seperate out one group and label it as an "anti-car fraternity".
Re: Traffic calming? - Rebecca
soapbox at the ready...

Won't anyone take responsibility for teaching children about road safety? (Should be parents first IMHO)

Of course there will always be accidents, but more respect for the road wouldn't go amiss.

I have young children and I'm not aware of any road safety initiatives that are on at the moment (a modern equivalent of Tufty Club, Green Cross Man, Kevin Keegan) etc Bet these are more cost effective than red roads.

Over to you David Beckham.
Re: Traffic calming? - Sue
Rebecca wrote:

> Won't anyone take responsibility for teaching children about
> road safety? (Should be parents first IMHO)

Couldn't agree more: though help from playgroups and schools does not go amiss. Surrey County Council used to give out an excellent little pamphlet which actually gave the ages below which a child was certainly too young to be safe ... crossing the road alone, riding a bike on the road etc. Also gave suggestions for how to train 'em, help them be independent etc.

> I have young children and I'm not aware of any road safety
> initiatives that are on at the moment (a modern equivalent of
> Tufty Club, Green Cross Man, Kevin Keegan) etc

Tufty Club! you're showing your age ...

But no, apart from those daft hedgehogs I've not been aware of anything useful apart from that Surrey booklet!

The trouble is, too many children are not walked anywhere, just loaded in and out of cars. But you'll have me on my soapbox before long.
Re: Traffic calming? - me
people continue to point at speed as the main issue beacuse that is the vocabulary they are taught by government advertising

when my mother complains about the local idiots buring rubber down the street she complains about "speeding", but she is not complaining about a normal driver doing 35-40 in a 30 limit

as for the mandarins in local authorities and the engineers they (expensively) to thin down road, add humps etc, they are all victims of their own unscientific fashion (tower blocks in the 60s, and speed cameras and humps today)

have a look at reading, the council is thinning down roads everywhere, how does this make it safer for anyone - it doesnt!
Re: Traffic calming? - John
Red Tarmac £12-15 /m2. The Anti skid surfacing in colours around £16/m2. Varies very much on quantity, ease of access etc.
Re: Traffic calming? - Independent Observer
Thanks for the figures Alwyn and John.
Re: Traffic calming? - Andrew Hamilton
Colchester council restricted the town centre road to a single lane to benefit the environment. Unfortunately its idea of restricting cars is too ensure the traffic lights stay on red much longer. Consequently the buses are equally held up by the queue of cars and much pollution is released by idling vehicles. Much to my annoyance the scheme was fantastically expensive, the street furniture reminiscent of stalinist Russia and the cobbled parts unfriendly to disabled wheelchair users.
Re: Traffic calming? - Cockle
Earlier on in the thread the accident with the young skateboarder was mentioned, a similar thing happened here and I'm still trying to get my head around the logic of the consequences.
A young boy, I believe about 2 years old, got away from his parents as they were unloading the car by the beach for a day out and ran into the road between the parked cars. The lad was hit by a car doing 30 in a 30 limit, he wasn't killed but suffered some terrible injuries, brain damage etc. The police investigated and totally exonerated the driver, concluded he could have done nothing to avoid the collision. The parents, on behalf of the boy, sued the driver. At the recent court hearing the boy was awarded damages, if I remember correctly, in the order of £2 million.
The local press also asked the driver the classic question of 'How do you feel about it?' How the hell do they think he felt? Regardless of the court case, I'll bet he lives that moment every day of his life.
The thing that I can't understand is the logic that if you are deemed to be blameless how you can then be sued for that level of damages.

Incidentally, that stretch of road has now been made even narrower by the addition of a kerbed cycle path pushing the traffic even closer to the parked vehicles. Just a questiobn of time before it happens again I hate to say.
Re: Traffic calming? - ChrisR
In the case of a serious injury, damages are opaid to look after that person for the duration of their life. It's nothing to do with blame. They come partly from government and partly from a fund provided by the insurance companies I believe.

And Bogush. What?

Chris
Re: Traffic calming? - Stuart B
The thing I don't get about traffic calming and speed limits is the selective vision.

Posted this on another site but it fell on stoney ground, Alwyn you will have seen it already methinks.

I can think of two roads, one dual one single both with the NSL reduced to 50. Don't know enough about the history of the roads to comment much about why except that councils don't spend that amount of money on signs and white paint for no reason, and that on the dual 50 feels a shade on the slow side and on the single its about right.

Now each of these roads has a number of junctions with minor roads, and we get the incongruous sight of speed limit signs on the end of ALL these minor roads telling us we are going from a 50 to a NSL ie 60. Yet a lot of these roads are single track, poor sight lines, hedges, banks muddy and so on.

My point is that if we can be trusted to drive down these minor roads at an appropriate speed, why not on the wider more major roads. I presume because of the cost of all this enough people have proved they cannot be trusted to drive responsibly, and some worthy has decided getting everyone to drive slower is the solution. Maybe it is in these cases, but we can all think of instances where its not the answer.

I have said it before and I will say it again I think Rebecca is totally right, its an education thing. People should be educated to use the roads, as pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, horse riders, car / bus / lorry drivers and so on. Its a lifetime thing, and I believe it should either be compulsory or significant financial penalties if you fail to take the education. eg higher insurance. I know it, the ongoing education, will cost but I consider its worth it.
Re: Traffic calming? - Andy
Last night I was waiting at a set of recently improved traffic lights. They now have better pedestrian safety, central reservations etc.
As I waited, a young cyclist hops off the pavement onto the wrong side of the road. He then cycles against the oncoming traffic and crosses the junction (now on green) still wrong-sided and disappears off into the night. All without lights.
If I had done that in my car I would rightly be up before a firing squad.....
Re: Traffic calming? - ChrisR
Andy

There's no accounting for eejits on foot, on bikes or in cars. Bicycles are much more manoevrable than cars so it can be frustrating waiting at lights when you *know* you can just nip across... And there can be few car drivers who have never driven their car on the pavement at one time or another. I know I have. But this comment worries me most:

>If I had done that in my car I would rightly be up before a firing squad.....

Are you saying you would do it if you didn't think you'd be punished? ;-)

Chris
Re: Traffic calming? - The Real Bogush
And ChrisR

What!
Re: Traffic calming? - Andy
Chris - I can't believe you said that! He didn't just 'nip across', he wilfully cycled against the traffic flow! Without lights!
And I would never dream of doing anything like this, with or without the threat of prosecution.
Re: Traffic calming? - ChrisR
Andy
Re: Traffic calming? - ChrisR
Andy wrote:

>I can't believe you said that! He didn't just 'nip across', he wilfully cycled >against the traffic flow! Without lights!
>And I would never dream of doing anything like this, with or without the >threat of prosecution.

Surely you noticed my stars for emphasis, the trailing off dots after "nip across..." and the smiley. I wasn't saying I condoned Darwin award behaviour, or accusing you.

Cheers
Chris
Re: Traffic calming? - Brill
Sue, Rebecca,

I'd agree that training starts at home, and it's something I hope I've been quite hot on. The local (Surrey) police did visit our kids' school for a chat/exhibition, which helps drive it home, (as it were).

S.
 

Value my car