The speed limit on a busy Fleet road has been cut from 40mph to 30mph following a number of accidents.
Hampshire County Council has lowered the limit on Reading Road North as a result of Hart councillor Steve Forster working with Fleet county councillor Sharyn Wheale along with input from Hampshire Constabulary.
Cllr Forster, Hart’s cabinet member for environment and technical services, said he was ‘really pleased’ the limit has been lowered.
“The road has typically had two to three collisions every year with personal injury, and many more fender benders,” he said.
“Lowering speeds, according to police, should reduce the number of accidents and, importantly, lessen their severity.
“A reduction in average speed of 10mph, from 40 down to 30, causes a huge drop in the likelihood of someone sustaining a severe injury.
“With the increased number of schoolchildren crossing the road to and from Tavistock and Calthorpe schools, and more pedestrians and cyclists – and generally more traffic – there was a need for the limit to be reduced for safety.”
Cllr Forster added that some motorists are still not aware of the change in speed limit, despite all the 40mph signs being removed.
“We therefore installed the electronic Speed Indicator Device (SID) boards for a couple of weeks to remind people of their speed.
“The SIDs log traffic flow and we’ve seen average speeds reduce by seven to eight miles per hour since the start of monitoring.
“I’m pleased to say that, after a number of requests on Fleet social media forums, Cllr Wheale and I have arranged for Hampshire County Council to install new temporary signs alerting people to the new 30mph limit.”
Cllr Forster said the SpeedWatch initiative, which monitors vehicle speeds on roads of concern, does not yet operate on Reading Road North but the police is arranging for it, and he believes they are likely to start taking enforcement action soon.
“Speedwatch has helped raise awareness of speeding, which is one of the most complained about issues in Fleet,” he added.
“This new limit means almost all of Fleet, except the main road through Ancells Farm, is now a 30mph or 20mph area, and we expect the number of serious accidents to therefore reduce.”
Cllr Forster said there are a small number of motorists in the area who show a ‘callous disregard’ for the limits.
“I hope that these dangerous drivers realise the risk they are causing to other road users and pedestrians, and they slow down – otherwise their licences are likely to receive penalty points and their wallets will be lightened.”
The councillor said SpeedWatch aims to improve the quality of life in communities by raising awareness of speeding.
The Fleet group is managed by the local police Safer Neighbourhood team and it uses SIDs placed at the side of the road that displays, in large numbers, the speed of passing vehicles together with a happy or a sad face.
“Fleet Town Council support the scheme and provided the initial funding,” said Cllr Forster.
“Vehicles travelling above a certain speed, depending on the road, are recorded and their details passed to the police who contact the registered keeper.
“Further action may be taken in the case of repeat offenders.”
Anyone interested in joining the Fleet SpeedWatch group can request an application form by emailing the.