Back around the end of October last year, while we were away enjoying ourselves in sunny Portugal, the county council roads department came into Allendale Town and laid down speed bumps that quickly became a cause célèbre.
Apparently the Parish Council had specifically de-requested [some of] the bumps because of possible noise issues, so the matter then became a battle of wills between some irate residents, and the two councils.
Reading a set of minutes provided to the public by the Clerk to the Parish Council, I noticed a while back that at least one complaint was coming in persistently to the PC, which dutifully would pass the matter along to the County Council. On our return to Allendale, coming in past Forster Milburn’s ‘promised land’ vista at Catton, and engaging with the new speed bumps as the 20mph zone slowed us right down, we were barely bemused by the enforced decceleration. “Looks like a great protection for the school and park, doesn’t it?” was, I seem to remember, the salient comment as we renewed our acquaintance with the village’s amenities.
Anyway, to make a short story longer and longer, during my stay in hospital a fortnight ago, the roads department came along one day and removed the double speed bump strip just inside of the Denefields turning. Now it would be a different thing altogether if parents with toddlers and young children could walk along on the Denefields side to school and playgroup, but in fact at that point, emerging from Denefields, they have to cross the road; there’s no pavement on the Denefields side. Maybe there’s another access point at the top of Denefields to the schools, and if so that’s great, but in my school run days not so long ago, I would see children and parents crossing the road at that point.
So my own take on the matter is that a persistent complaint about noise and speed bumps at that point has taken precedence over protecting school children crossing the road morning and afternoon. As one wag had it in Allendale area notices, “Woo-hoo! Now we can take that corner at 80 rather than slowing down to 40!’ . . . a slight exaggeration, of course, to make a relevant point, I thought.
As the SaferRoads campaign describes the situation on speeds and safety:
If you hit a child when driving at:
- 40mph– you will probably kill the child
- 30mph- the child has an 80% chance of survival
- 20mph– the child is likely to survive with minor injuries.
Now I’m not in a position to understand the irritating and random intrusion of what must have been ‘Brrrrup-Brrrrup’ as vehicles crunching over the double speed bumps spoiled the countryside tranquility, but I know where my sympathies lie, in terms of the 20mph zone, at least. In the context of its physical enforcement, I’m delighted that the school and park are still partially protected. Perhaps a different, enlightened sort of reinforcement of the speeding zone might be developed for the Denefields intersection. Meanwhile, long may the speed bumps (the ones that are left, and which are, I venture, amongst the most aesthetically attractive speed bumps I’ve ever seen) remain!