Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Road resurfacing is an annoying but effective way to slow drivers down

IT WAS the ping-ping of my Mazda’s paintwork being repeatedly bombarded which made me realise it. Sefton’s powers-that-be have inadvertently won the war on speed!

I can’t have been the only motorist left last week in the peculiar position of struggling to keep within a 20mph speed limit but unwilling to venture above the pace of any half-decent cyclist on the Formby Bypass. A strategy of having every major road resurfaced almost simultaneously turned seeing friends and family into a game of rat-running roadworks and crawling along temporary surfaces, listening to the crackle of my MX-5’s surfaces being chinked and chipped away by the stones being chucked up.

It is, of course, better than the alternative – a North West criss-crossed with roads so badly potholed they’re suitable only for the Lunar Rovers last deployed on NASA’s Moon missions. However, I still pondered which clot had signed off resurfacing the Coastal Road in Ainsdale, stretches of the Formby Bypass, Altcar Road in Formby, and several of Southport’s more important thoroughfares almost simultaneously. Surely redoing ALL of them wasn’t a particularly bright idea?

Then it hit me. The combined threat of destroying the paintwork on your pride and joy and skidding to a fiery death if you drove one of these resurfaced roads at speed had succeeded in reducing the average pace – even on a dual carriageway – to the sort of speeds I normally do on my mountain bike. The roadworks have succeeded where that favourite strategy of the Speed Kills lobby – 20mph speed limits – failed.

Not convinced? Well, nationwide research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists into the effects of dropping 30mph limits by a third showed that the number of accidents actually went up by over a quarter, with less severe accidents increasing by 17%. Logically, you’d reason that the nation’s go-faster drivers are utterly unmoved by a lower speed limit, but I bet they’d think twice about ruining the optional metallic paint on their Audi A4s.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person a bit peeved with the policy of redoing roads with noisy, slow, paint-removing substances en-masse, but you can’t deny it got even the most ardent of speed freaks to back off for a change.

The conclusion’s a simple one. A rubbish road is a safe one.

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