John Knight's April 2020 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express

20 April 2020

I hope you and yours are keeping well during this pandemic crisis.

Among great tragedy, distress, economic and social disruption and uncertainty, there are glimmers of hope for the future.  We have seen a huge outpouring of respect and support for our dedicated health and care services - never again should our beleaguered NHS have to fight for resources.  Much-reduced road- and air-traffic has seen significantly lower levels of air pollution in towns and cities worldwide.

Do you want less congestion, safer streets, healthier kids, calmer neighbourhoods

and reduced stress?  Then please support “Twenty is Plenty for Cheshire East”.  Ask your local councillor(s) to support a resolution due to be put to Cheshire East Council on 13th May, calling for the default speed limit on urban roads to be reduced to 20mph (find them here). 

20mph (especially on side roads) doesn’t significantly alter trip times or inconvenience drivers - jams & stops do.  A constant 30mph speed is rare due to bends, junctions etc.  Going fast between obstructions just leads to extra waiting at the next stop.

20mph zones around schools are insufficient; 80% of child casualties happen on non-school trips. Families need wide area limits for child protection from road injury – their top risk.  Older people are at even greater risk – 20mph is ten times safer than 30mph for over-60s and seven times safer for others.

Although it is true that many drivers routinely ignore speed limits, nevertheless reduced limits see average speeds decrease; for example, Portsmouth has seen traffic speeds reduce by 6-7 mph.  Every 1mph less reduces deaths and severe injuries by 6%.

Modern vehicles are efficient at 20mph - a lower gear isn’t always needed.  Fuel use and pollution fall due to smoother driving.

Stay safe, stay well.

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