Pall Mall traffic calming in the news

Jon Fuller

After its disastrous attack in November 08 upon road safety measures in residential areas The Leigh Times has again ventured into this territory. The paper was roundly condemned for its “Voice of Leigh” item just over a year ago for callously attacking speed cameras and traffic calming, despite the fact that these have saved the lives of many thousands of people, including over 500 children. Now they bemoan the introduction of speed bumps in Pall Mall, seeking to have them engineered to make them lower. Why? This was a notorious rat-run, immediately next to Leigh North Street Junior School. The only thing shocking about the speed bumps in Pall Mall is that the residents and school staff had to wait so long to see them installed.

There is nothing wrong with the height of the bumps, unless you are driving a formula 1 racing car! The height is no different to those throughout most of Westborough Ward, and is totally appropriate to an area where children are especially vulnerable.

To those drivers who have complained about the new bumps I ask them this: Do you really want to go back to the days when speeding drivers killed 110 children every year, do you want to stick at around 30 children killed a year (5 or 6 times more than the paedophiles kill every year) or do you support road safety campaigners in seeking to make yet more progress – driving down average speeds in residential and rural areas? Just how many children do you want to see die for your convenience?

But there are wider issues of concern. There is the obesity epidemic affecting society and of particular concern is childhood obesity. If we continue to reduce driver speeds around town and make the streets sufficiently safe for children to walk and cycle to school we will get lower childhood obesity levels, such as those experienced in the Netherlands – the home of pedestrian and cyclist safety. Do the anti-child, anti road safety, brigade really want to see children trapped in a toxic childhood; never being allowed to play outside, stifled indoors, playing often violent computer games? That may be what the (usually right wing) louts are willing to accept as a price for their bit of fun or convenience, but I genuinely do not believe that is what most people want for our young and our society at large.

Indeed I would go further and say that around 85% of people support road safety measures designed to protect children. The only group in society that appear to consistently campaign against such measures are journalists. Why is it that this profession should so often stand shoulder to shoulder with the paedophiles – those willing to harm children for their fun or convenience? Over the years I have given it a good deal of thought. I have asked myself why the average journalist has such vastly different attitudes to the average nurse or teacher. Perhaps it is because the nurse sees the brutal reality of driving too fast and the teacher understands the wider social implications. The journalist on the other hand only sees the need to get that item of news and pictures back to the news-desk in time for the next tight deadline – and speed reduction measures can only ever get in the way of that.

So the next time you see an item relating to speed in the press or hear an item on the radio ask yourself what is going on in the mind of the reporter? Is s/he tearing at the heart of our humanity and decency? And, more importantly, ask yourself if you are sufficiently independent of mind to reject what the press are trying to sell. If you can think for yourself, and you don’t accept child abuse, even when journalists suggest it is fine, what are you going to do about it?

If you don’t want another 30 children to be killed by speeding drivers this year then join us – join one of the many road safety campaign groups (Roadpeace, Brake, etc) or join an environmental campaign group. Together we can stop the nation’s journalists. Yes you can!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply