THE ROAD SAFETY PROBLEM
[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]
SIR,—As a motorist of a number of years I have read with interests your paragraph in " News of the Week " under the above heading. Naturally everybody deplores the terrible statistics of road fatalities published from week to week, but it seems to me that the motorist is getting more than his proper share of the blame. According to the figures quoted for the district in question pedestrians were respon- sible for 10 fatal accidents out of 34, while cyclists accounted for 8—nearly half the total numbers between these two sections of road users. Our side walks are rapidly becoming
forests of signs and signals which the poor motorist has to obey. But the pedestrian and cyclist can take up as much of the road as they like without comment. Now we are to have a 30-mile limit in built-up areas. With the develop- ment of ribbon-like extensions of our towns along main roads, it will not be long before nearly all main roads are subject to this restriction, which one is ready to admit is necessary in towns.
The cyclists, I see, have had a meeting in London to denounce Mr. Hore-Belisha for providing special tracks to enable them to ride in safety. They also will not agree to carry rear lamps. Why ? Surely, Sir, those who pay the piper have a right to call the tune. The motorist contributes by Road Tax and petrol duties to the road upkeep and is now being blamed because those who do not contribute at all will not agree to reforms suggested for their safety. A careful analysis of the fatal accidents throughout the- country should be made and reforms made to deal with the class that shows the greatest responsibility for accidents. It should be made an offence for pedestrians to walk in the road where a side walk is provided—and rear lights should be made compulsory for cyclists, while road crossings should be made only where marked. Let all road users co-operate for the good of all. At present the motorist is suffering from responsibility for accidents for which as is shown by the figures quoted he is not responsible.—Yours faithfully,
W. G. RETTERIDGE.
51 Oxford Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.