THERE are growing calls for the speed limit in Swindon’s residential streets to be cut to 20mph across the board.
Clarisse Grother’s teenage son Dylan suffered near-fatal injuries after being hit by a car going at 35mph as he used a crossing on Hay Lane in West Swindon in 2016.
His broken back, foot and ankle required years of physiotherapy to fix, cut short a promising rugby career and dashed his dream of being an RAF pilot.
Since the accident, his mum has campaigned for the road’s 30mph speed limit to be lowered and succeeded in having extra safety measures like speed bumps and better signage approved for the crossing.
She said: “I see children using that crossing every day and it’s in the worst possible place for visibility. My daughter uses it now to catch a bus, I am worried about it, just waiting for something to happen.
“We will be getting a flashing sign at school times saying 20 but that’s not enough. If there is a possibility of a permanent and enforceable 20mph limit there, I’d be fully supportive of it, that’s why hundreds of people signed my petition.”
Stratton St Margaret parish councillors unanimously supported the idea of a lower limit after hearing a village in Kent with a similar population to their area implemented a blanket 20mph limit and that Reading, Oxford and Bristol are starting to make it the default speed limit on residential roads.
The parish council is currently investigating how feasible it would be to introduce a lower speed limit in Stratton – highlighting problem spots like Grange Drive, Delamere Drive and Ermin Street which are all near schools – as well as asking other parish councils like West Swindon if they would support the suggestion with a view to bringing it to the borough for consideration.
Rat Trap pub landlord Mark Richardson has often highlighted the issue of speeding on Highworth Road and backed the idea of lowering the limit.
He said: “I think it would definitely make a difference. Speeding is dangerous to others as well as yourself. It doesn’t help you reach your destination any quicker, it just gets you to traffic queues faster. Going slower is safer.”
The logic behind the idea is that it could potentially lower the risk of accidents because even if people still speed in a 20 zone, going a few miles over that limit would be better than going a few miles over a 30 limit, and it might encourage more people to walk or cycle.
For a 20 limit to be introduced in more than one street, the area needs to have a history of personal injury accidents, existing average speeds of below 30mph, proof of community support for the change, and high numbersof pedestrians and cyclists.
Parts of Walcot and Old Town’s St Margaret’s Road and Springfield Road already have this limit in place.
Adver readers were sceptical of the idea but agreed that speeding was a big issue around the town.
Kayleigh Curtis said: “People don’t stick to the 30mph what makes you think they will to the 20mph? We need more speed cameras.”
Barry Sexstone said: “Need to enforce the 30mph limit first. It seems more drivers are driving way too fast. I can hear them driving down Cheney Manor Road and you can tell they are way over the 30mph limit.”
Sarah Summers said: “If they just put speed cameras up, people would drive slower. If people can’t drive the speed they’re supposed to, I’m not sure what difference this is going to make.”
Beckie Paddington added: “They need to look at enforcing the current 30mph speed limit on Kingsdown Road before looking to lower it. Several RTCs, some have been fatal.
“A motorbike speeds down there every night as well as articulated lorries that probably shouldn’t even be going down there because of the old railway bridge, Barnes coaches, [and] everyone else. It’s a residential street, it goes from 40 to 30 at the top of the bridge over the A419. Even in the 40 bit, there was a car in the ditch just by the crematorium the other week.”
Stratton Parish Council will give an update on the proposal at a meeting in November before mulling whether to invite borough highway officers to discuss road safety and speed limits at the following meeting in January.