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Cape limits: No to congestion

2012-09-20 10:34

NEXT STOP: CONGESTION CHARGE? One Wheels24 reader is convinced the proposed blanket speed reductions in the Western Cape will lead to congested roads.


With all due respect, your (Robin Carlisle) argument for a blanket reduction in speed limits is not welcome.
What happened to identifying and policing the areas where the carnage takes place?
The No.1 cause of accidents is a lack of concentration. Now there are numerous reasons for a driver, cyclist or pedestrian to lose concentration for a second or two. That second or two is just enough to cause an accident. It could be fatigue, medication, distractions, potholes or obstacles in the road, but ultimately it boils down to a person’s ability to concentrate or - to put it bluntly - their mental capacity.
Now reducing the speed limits is not going to address that problem. Reduced speed limits will actually increase the time drivers spend on the road and could, in some areas, actually lead to more accidents.


Congestion will increase in the way that it takes far longer to evacuate a number of 80-year-olds from a room than six-year-olds. So what I am trying to say is that where there is congestion, a reduction in speed limit will have the undesirable effect of actually increasing congestion.
In Portugal I witnessed that during peak hours the authorities ignore traffic lights and speed limits in order to regulate traffic manually. Traffic police actually come out in force and do real work.
Most fatal accidents happen outside of the urban area and many are caused by reckless or negligent drivers. Since excessive speed is associated with reckless or negligent drivers it is often assumed that reducing the speed limit is the magic bullet. Reducing the speed limit will not curb reckless or negligent driving and will therefore have zero effect on the number of fatal accidents.
There is a current speed limit of 120km/h and some drivers are caught doing about 200km/h. What makes you think that the small percentage of speeding drivers, that have not yet been caught, are now going to adhere to 110km/hour?
Reducing the speed limit in urban areas will also increase pollution and frustration around the city. You are aware of the smog that hangs over Cape Town. If you go to Bangkok you can have a first-hand look at traffic jams and the smog they create.


I really challenge the slogan “speed kills”. Of course speeding increases the probability of an accident but this goes back to mental capacity. When you are speeding you cover more ground and any lack of concentration can lead to disastrous results. We are all aware that speed racing is a sport, but those drivers are concentrating while driving at those ridiculous speeds and therefore accidents are minimised. I rest my case.
You should note that in the USA I found that drivers avoid the roads where there is a ban on overtaking school buses.
I also find the suggestion of forcing a powered vehicle to be 1.5m from a cyclist problematic. Such a law should only be passed if it also states that cyclists ride in single file and within a certain distance from the kerb. What happens when a cyclist is going down Main Road in Claremont or Wynberg? A cyclist could be mistaken for a hearse!
I suggest you implement a speed limit for inclement weather. It is ridiculous to have the same speed limit for wet and dry weather. You will have to erect electronic speed limit signs at strategic places on the roads marked by “M” and “N”.
There are a lot of people who do not understand the “etiquette” of a pedestrian crossing. We have pedestrians approaching zebra crossings without looking whether there is oncoming traffic. Some pedestrians think they have an automatic right of way. Some drivers stop when they see a pedestrian approaching a crossing.

I think that it is about time that some education about the rules of the road is introduced by the time children are nine or 10 years old.
During the 1980s the traffic department had a speed trap outside Gallows Hill. Suffice to say every traffic officer that reported for work was caught in the trap.  
A blanket speed limit reduction is not a good idea and one cannot but come to the conclusion that our fat cat politicians are looking for more money.

Share your views on the proposed bill in our Readers' Comments below or e-mail us and you could have your thoughts published on Wheels24.
Read more on:    robin carlisle  |  western cape

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