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.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.