Anti-Driver Lobby Thinks There Is A “Car Owner Virus”

The ABD has issued the following press release:

Proposed temporary 20 mph urban or 50 mph national limits would obstruct and persecute key workers.

Despite the fact that the Coronavirus crisis has resulted in the use of all modes of transport being down by at least 60% (See Reference 1 below) and has also substantially reduced demand in NHS Accident and Emergency Departments for non-Covid-19 patients (2), anti-driver groups are trying to exploit the crisis by calling for lower speed limits to “reduce demand on the NHS” (3).

The call for emergency blanket 20 mph urban speed limits ignores the fact that a comprehensive 20 mph study commissioned by the DfT (4) found no tangible benefits from 20 mph limits in terms of reduced collisions or casualties. Furthermore, according to facts and figures from RoSPA, there are more than 3 times the number of accidental deaths in homes than on roads each year as well as many more injuries (5).

ABD Spokesman Paul Biggs said: “During the current crisis Police time should not be wasted enforcing yet more pointless 20 mph speed limits or other temporarily lowered limits. Indeed, the likes of Warwickshire Police are temporarily concentrating on excessive speeding offences rather than low grade offences such as those that merit a speed awareness course or fixed penalty (6). The anti-driver lobby have sunk to the same depths as the related extreme environmental lobby in trying to exploit the coronavirus for their own twisted and factually challenged agenda.”

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It has also been suggested in the Times newspaper that roads in built-up areas may be converted into car-free zones to create extra space for cyclists and joggers during the lock-down. They suggest local authorities are considering plans to close off streets to vehicles to allow local residents to exercise.

Councils in cities including London, Manchester and Brighton are among those believed to be drawing up proposals to convert roads into temporary bike lanes. The idea is being promoted by the organisation called Living Streets which promotes walking. Hackney Council in east London is in the process of creating a shortlist of streets in the borough that will be turned into car-free zones.

Comment: this is just another example of anti-car fanatics using the coronavirus epidemic to justify their agenda. It makes no sense to restrict traffic when it is already much reduced from the epidemic lock-down and the danger is that once such measures are put in place they will never be removed.

Notes for editors:

(1) Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference: 9 April 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/slides-and-datasets-to-accompany-coronavirus-press-conference-9-april-2020

(2) A & E Attendances and Emergency Admissions March 2020 Statistical Commentary:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/04/Statistical-commentary-March-2020-jf8hj.pdf

(3) WHO must push for lower speed limits to ease pressure on virus-impacted hospitals, urge ‘experts’:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/03/28/who-must-push-for-lower-speed-limits-to-ease-pressure-on-virus-impacted-hospitals-urge-experts/#17635e722c7f

(4) DfT 20 mph Study: “There is not enough evidence to conclude that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20 mph limits in residential areas.” :

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads

(5) RoSPA – Facts and figures:

https://www.rospa.com/Home-Safety/Advice/General/Facts-and-Figures

(6) Patterson Law: Covid-19 – Warwickshire Police Dropping Speeding Allegations:

https://www.pattersonlaw.co.uk/covid19-warwickshire-police-dropping-speeding-allegations/?fbclid=IwAR2awuUHaFRYIW_NPiRNFFdWab__OVPuzypcd2e4Adr9WH8SnzmMrE1et60

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