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Rural Speed Restrictions

New speed restrictions on Hertfordshire’s lanes and rural roads could be introduced if transport campaigners get their way.

A coalition of pressure groups has put forward a 'Charter for Country Lanes' calling for lower speed limits, better public transport and a new category of road where walkers, cyclists and riders have priority.

They are calling for speed limits to be cut to a maximum of 40mph on most rural roads and 20mph in villages.

Council for the Protection of Rural
and the Ramblers' Association says lanes are under siege from the increasing numbers of cars and lorries, speeding traffic and so-called transport improvements.

They say that in the last decade, traffic on country lanes has increased twice as fast as in towns and cities, and is forecast to increase by 50% or more over the next 25 years.

The group argues that the opportunities for people to walk, cycle and ride on country lanes are being lost and the character of these routes are being damaged forever.

The CPRE and the Ramblers say 70% of fatal motor accidents take place on country roads, with speed often blamed. Nearly half of all cyclists killed in accidents die on rural roads and there are roughly eight traffic accidents every week involving horses.

They also want to stop the spread of new developments which increase traffic and says road changes like new signs and the removal of hedges and walls are changing the character of the countryside.

Norfolk county council has been carrying out an experiment in the village of Starston in an effort to calm rural traffic.

They removed the central white dividing line in the village, took out the road warning signs and resurfaced the road with a brown grit. The result was reduced speeds, dropping from 41mph to 29.5 mph.

Should such measures be introduced in the lanes around Brookmans Park?  Do people drive too fast in the village?  What do you think.

Have Your Say on the issue and the findings will be forwarded to the County Council.

Sept 2, 1998

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