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Sunday, 16 January 2011

How to Survive in a 20mph Zone

It is my opinion that the 20 miles per hour zone is one of the most dangerous driving speeds that there can possibly be.

This is true for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists - all road users.

In living in an area for over ten years, I never before heard of a single accident nearby. But within 6 months of a 20mph zone being introduced there have been three actual accidents, one where the whole road had to be closed and the traffic diverted, countless collisions and many near misses.

A lot of drivers don't even notice the 20 sign and just drive right on through. The people who live in the area drive more slowly.

The trouble is that for pedestrians, the traffic is going slowly enough to be able to walk between cars if there is enough distance between them. This means that the poor driver constantly has little old ladies appearing the in the road in front of them with a determined look on their faces and the setting on their zimmer frame set to 'speed' as they slowly wander across the road.

What this really means for the driver is that you have to be extra careful and not take your eyes off the road for a second.

Kids, delivery van drivers, gentlemen in suits, it doesn't matter who they are, they will see a space and wander across the road. This also applies to cars turning into the road. They assume that you are going more slowly than usual so they happily cut in front.

What prompted me to write this today was this: I have just driven home through such a zone at 5.30pm - quite dark at this time of year. A young lady, with black hair, dressed in black clothes and shoes and carrying a black bag was walking along texting on her black phone.

She was completely oblivious to the world around her - and completely invisible to me, until she suddenly appeared in the headlights of my car.

I slammed on the brakes, she looked up for a second, no change of expression to her face, then looked back down and continued on her bovine way.

My message to help you survive:

Drivers: be extra careful in these dangerous road conditions! It is not only within the 20mph zone. It is for a good few feet either side too as people only assume that you are going to slow down ready to enter the slow zone.

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