Mum’s call for 20mph limit

Campaign for 20mph limits in Dunbar streets''LtoR Bernadette Daff with her children Ewan (5),Rowan (9), Caitlin (11) and Morag Haddow
Campaign for 20mph limits in Dunbar streets''LtoR Bernadette Daff with her children Ewan (5),Rowan (9), Caitlin (11) and Morag Haddow

A MUM of three from Dunbar is urging communities in East Lothian to join a campaign for 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

Morag Haddow of Kellie Place is worried that children are “imprisoned” in their homes for fear of being allowed out to play because the streets aren’t safe.

She is promoting the ‘20’s Plenty’ initiative, highlighting the danger of vehicles mixing with pedestrians and cyclists.

Ms Haddow (36), who has sons aged 12, 10 and six, is calling for ‘Total 20’ – a mandatory 20mph limit for residential areas, which could be enforced by the police.

She said: “As a parent, it makes a lot of sense. My children are getting bigger and going out on their bikes on their own. I am keen to make sure they are safe and it is a nice place for them to grow up in, and it is, Dunbar is good.

“If cars were going slower, there would be much more of a level playing field with pedestrians and cyclists. In Dunbar, we have hundreds of children cycling to school.

“A lot of these children are on shared paths – the bikes, scooters, prams and toddlers are all sharing the same narrow pavement. It would be a lot safer for everyone if some of the older cyclists could get on to the roads, if the roads were that bit safer and it would make more space on the paths for younger pedestrians.

“There are cul-de-sacs in new housing where traffic is much slower – it’s the through roads, the distributory roads, like Kellie Road, Brodie Road, Belhaven Road and Spott Road. The point of the argument is to turn it around – instead of communities having to argue for lower speeds in their particular streets, it is about other people having to make the case for higher speeds. It should be 20mph by default and if there is a case for higher speeds on particular roads, then other people will have to make that case.”

As a member of the Sustaining Dunbar group, Ms Haddow said her role was to get people out on their bikes and walking more.

She explained: “It’s not just from a safety point of view, but from a community point of view, it’s nice to get people out on their bikes and talking to each other. It all strengthens links within the community and helps us to look out for people who might be isolated in their houses. Roads can be very isolated, they can cut people off.

“But we don’t have huge problem roads in Dunbar. It’s just to do with people’s attitudes that pedestrians also have a right to be out on the streets and feel safe. Twenty miles per hour is a safe limit for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to mix.

“I would like to see people in the communities themselves set the speed limits and say ‘I’m going to drive at 20mph because it’s a safe speed to drive and I live here, and it is my friends and neighbours that will be affected by my speeding’.

“I am not at all in favour of speed bumps which are I think are bad for everyone. They are just ugly and expensive. It is like drink/driving campaigns, it is about changing people’s attitudes, so that you don’t think ‘this is a road and I can go at 30mph, rather this is a street where people live and I am to respect those who live and play here’.”

Another concerned parent, Bernadette Daff of Muirfield Road, said there were routes where 30mph was fine, but 20mph would be better where there were children and in housing estates.

She added: “The children all go on bikes around Dunbar and travel to school every day on bikes. If cars were going slower, it would be better and I would feel happier knowing that.”

A spokesman for ‘20’s Plenty’ said: “Surveys across the UK consistently show strong support for 20mph limits without humps. This popular policy wins votes – 20mph limits make real, quantifiable differences to people’s quality of life.”