I take issue with Andy’s car comments

Andy Thomas might like to know that it wasn’t only his mum that missed his articles, but while his mum might not pick holes in them I will.

Firstly, Andy states that most ‘accidents’ have a cause ‘and 95 per cent of the time it is caused by a driver’. Well lots of ‘accidents’ are caused by cyclists and pedestrians, with Andy himself even complaining about ‘idiot pedestrians’ in the past. Had Andy written ‘95 per cent of the time it is caused by a road user’ I might have agreed, because all road users, whether on legs or wheels, need to think about what they’re doing and what’s happening around them.

Regarding the recent fatal crash following road resurfacing, as Andy points out, while there were no white lines the signs were still in place. However, signs can be obscured by parked vehicles. That’s why road markings should be repainted as soon as possible. Having roads turned into slippery, unmarked gravel tracks for days (or weeks) reduces road safety.

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Andy cites a previous letter regarding the accident in Franklin Road as evidence of ‘road users not taking responsibility for their actions’. And once again Andy has ‘drivers’ and ‘road users’ confused, because while it’s certainly the responsibility of drivers to watch out for pedestrians and drive at a speed appropriate for the road conditions, it’s also the responsibility of pedestrians not to step out in front of oncoming traffic. I fully agree that narrow roads can require driving below the speed limit, but does Andy honestly think he could ‘stop safely’ even at 20mph if someone ran out just six feet in front of him? And speed humps wouldn’t stop that happening would they Andy?

Regarding the death of a motorcyclist possibly braking hard because of a speed camera, Andy says that whether the speed limit is appropriate is neither here nor there – but he’s wrong. Studies years ago showed that traffic tends to find its own ‘safe speed’ for the road and that the safest, most effective speed limits are those based on the speed at which 85 per cent of traffic freely travels (known as the 85 percentile rule). The same research also concluded that setting artificially low limits (as councils have now been doing for years) does nothing to improve road safety, it just increases speeding convictions.

A fast, alert, thinking driver can be far safer than someone dawdling along with their brain in neutral (and a half mile tailback behind them), though only the former is likely to fall foul of the law.

Yes, lack of thinking causes accidents. It also causes bad road safety policy. - Graham Bell, Leamington Spa (full address supplied).