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.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.