What is the issue that most troubles many rural communities in Sussex? You are expecting me to say housing or access to services, perhaps even the recession. All of these are true, but one of the things that most affects people’s quality of life is speeding traffic. Not just those breaking the speed limit, but the cumulative effect of the volume, speed and apparent carelessness of traffic through villages. And, yes, often those who speed the most through villages are those who live nearby and are complacent about their knowledge of the roads. The overall effect of traffic is to restrict people’s willingness to move around on foot and certainly their willingness to let their children out, unaccompanied, on foot or by bike. As a result the quality of life for many has decreased and children are seldom free from their caring parent’s watchful eye.
In effect what we have done over recent years is to transfer all the sense of risk caused by cars away from their occupants and to others on the roads and pavements around them. Cars are modern, quick and comfortable; they feel disconnected from the rest of the world. They are also safe, fully replete with airbags, seatbelts and radar trap detectors. Good, you say! Perhaps, however, the solution to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured (KSI) on our roads is to put the risk back into the car. A first step might be to ban seatbelts from the driver’s seat and put a large spike in the middle of the steering wheel. Perhaps those driving under these conditions would drive with a little more care and our KSI numbers would start to drop.