Brighton traffic wars: crashes down overall, but more cyclist & pedestrian incidents after 20mph limit comes in
Latest in ongoing row of business vs Greens over 20mph zones
The ongoing stoush between Brighton’s business and motoring groups, and the Green-run council has a new battleground as the two sides argue about the effect of 20mph speed limits on the incidence of crashes in the seaside town.
A report in The Argus says that the number of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists on city centre roads has gone up since 20mph restrictions were introduced, although overall crashes have been reduced.
In the first six months of the 20mph zone this year there were 129 crashes compared to 145 for the same period in 2012 and 168 in 2011.
Cyclists were involved in 48 crashes in the six months after the 20mph zones were introduced on April 8, and 44 in the same period last year, and crashes involved pedestrians increased from 35 to 40.
Councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport, said: “It is impossible to know what would have happened if we hadn’t done anything.
“But we do know that measures have been taken over the last few years including lower speed limits and that the number of people killed and injured on roads in the city are going down.
“It’s not realistic for the rate of col¬lisions to continue declining at an increasing pace.
“20mph is not an idea peculiar to Brighton and Hove, one in six UK residents live in a 20mph street.”
Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said: “The argument for these zones was that it would protect people, but these figures show it doesn’t seem to have done that.”
He added: “It seems these figures cannot justify the amount of money spent on introducing the scheme.
“The council should consider not bringing in the other phases because on this evidence it will achieve very little if anything at all.”
The new speed limits have been unpopular with some businesses in Brighton. In September a lobby group of tourism businesses and cab firms took ads in the Argus accusing the council of launching a ‘war on motorists’.
Campaign group 20's Plenty says that reduced speed limits help make tourist towns friendlier for visitors and are a proven means to improve road safety and increase street amenity.