… of sunny skies and glorious weather (high of 65°F today and counting) to bring you news of home. It turns out that our very own Papershop Village was considered and then rejected for a trial of 20mph speed limits on trunk roads. This is good news for the Muckle Toon, which is included and desperately needs it, but a bit of a blow for Papershop Village which equally needs a bit of a break. It’s bisected by Big A Road and although there’s a 30mph speed limit through the village (by no means a given around here) the traffic through it is heavy and somewhat reluctant to actually slow down.
So why hasn’t it been included? Well, Transport Scotland’s explanation is:
“…for the period of the assessment, there were no recorded vulnerable road user accidents. In addition, the nature of the carriageway does not support the use of a self-enforcing 20mph speed limit. The key objective of the proposed 20 mph limits is to improve safety for vulnerable road users and, in this instance, there is no case for reducing the speed limit.”
Hmm. Quite apart from the whole morality of basing your road designs on the body count – rather than, say, making the roads safer before somebody’s parent, child, sibling or partner has been harmed – it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. The only person I’ve ever seen crossing the road at Papershop Village is the postman, and he does it at a sprint. Hell, even I don’t cross the road at Papershop village, even though this means breaking the law (yes indeed I am one of those scofflaw cyclists you love to hate). I’m not sure how those inhabitants who live on the wrong side of Big A Road actually get to the shop – they might be better off just getting into their cars and driving there – but it’s not surprising that very few ‘vulnerable road users’ (that’s ‘people’ to you and me, by the way) have been injured because it’s not a road you’d use lightly unless you were safely in your car.
As for the ‘self-enforcing’ thing, that appears to mean ‘we’re only going to put 20mph speed limits on roads where you’d be hard pressed to do more anyway’, which makes you wonder why they bother. And besides, as I’ve said before, it would be perfectly simple to narrow the carriageway and slow the road by encouraging everyone to park in it instead of on the pavement as they do now. Traffic slows down, pavements are free to walk on, I’d be able to cycle safely on the road – everyone wins except those people who object to getting to the ferry all of 45 seconds later than they would have otherwise. Why I’ve not been put in charge of Transport Scotland by now, I will never know.
Anyway, back to sunshine and cycling and general gadding about tomorrow…