For those of you who missed the coverage on the BBC on Monday please see the videos below. There was also an interview with Mrs B and one of our parents on BBC Somerset.
Please also read below to see the latest developments with the campaign.
Points West – Lunchtime 26/03/2012
Points West – Evening 26/03/2012
BBC Somerset Interview
Click here to hear the BBC Somerset Interview
To update you the latest developments
The council have done a speed test in Berkley. Unfortunately the location of the test was taken at the start of the long straight to the north of the school, which is notoriously fast. We had asked them to do it directly outside the school, so we are not sure why this happened. This has obviously resulted in average mean speeds being too high and they have said that a signs only 30mph limit would not improve things as people would not adhere to the limit and possibly make things worse as it would lull people into a false sense of security (average mean speeds need to be 34 and below to achieve signs only 30mph).
To quote the government guidelines (and those quoted in the BBC Points West coverage by the council):
“Speed limits should be evidence led, self explaining and encourage self compliance. Indeed, if a speed limit is set in isolation, or is unrealistically low, it is likely to be ineffective and lead to disrespect for the speed limit.”
This argument simply does not wash! The simple fact is there is primary school in this location and normal rules should not and do not apply. Government guidelines for setting local speed limits also state that:
“…trafﬁc authorities should make extra allowance for any other key buildings, such as a church, shop or school.“
However, conveniently, the council did not put this point across when giving their statement to the BBC. Very convenient!
If the speed limit needs to be “evidence led”, “self explaining” and “self compliant” then the council need to put in extra engineering measures to make it so. Berkley is in a unique situation and blanket policies should not apply.
Everyone that is campaigning for this has agreed that extra measures need to be put in place to ensure people obey the limit. We completely agree that a signs only 30mph scheme would not work.
The possible engineering measures could include:
- Traffic calming
- Carriageway narrowing
- Vehicle Activated Signs (that flash if you are going to fast – these are very effective)
- Roundels and red warnings on the road
- Gateway signage
There are many more things the council have in their power to do and it is their job to come up with a scheme that works. Currently the markings on the road outside the school could be seen as confusing to both parents at the school and drivers passing the school as they have been added and then added some more to and to be honest are a bit of a mess. Ultimately they have been put in place as a compromise to a speed limit (at little cost to the council).
If a 30mph limit supported by extra engineering measures was put in place this would:
1. Slow cars sufficiently to ensure the safety of the children, parents and teachers;
2. Discourage impatient drivers using the road as a rat run to avoid the bypass.
The problem is that this will cost them more money (roughly 25k as opposed to 5k for signs only). Here in the problem lies. However this is nothing compared to the cost of a child’s life!