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Friday, 14th Nov 2014 by Charlie Bolton

Letter to the editor: 20mph zones

I'd just like to register my consternation at the way in which the Bristol Labour Party, in cahoots with the local Tories have got together to try and derail 20mph zones at the recent council meeting.

The 20mph debate is riven with misinformation by the car lobby. It ranges from claims (as put by local Tories) that accident levels have gone up in the original 20mph zone in Portsmouth to claims that there has been a national increase. (In Portsmouth, if you speak to their Road Safety Team - you will see that there has been a substantial reduction in accidents. Nationally, figures for accidents in 20mph zones went up, but only because the numbers of zones also increased substantially. Academic research tells us that there is ‘convincing evidence that these (20mph) measures are effective in reducing accidents and injuries, traffic speed and volume’

I have no expectations of the Tories when it comes to having a decent environment for our children, for pedestrians, for cyclists, or for pensioners. They talk the ‘green’ talk from time to time, but you can tell, in their heart of hearts, they simply don’t believe it.

But Labour?

They have called for a stop to the 20mph rollout for an unspecified period of time, and any future measures will be at an unspecified cost. Why couldn’t they have allowed it to go ahead while finding imaginative ways to make sure it really works for everyone. Traffic management may help, but at heart this needs a cultural shift in the way drivers use the city's roads.

20mph is part of package which also involves promoting cycling and walking and public transport.  If we are to develop into a truly green city, we need to make profound changes to our travel patterns, and this is just one part of the solution.

Councillor Charlie Bolton
Bristol Green Party

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