Letter: Car menace in country lanes

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The Independent Online
Sir: The RAC spokesman (Letters, 3 September) was not speaking for at least one of his members when he categorised concern about traffic in country lanes as "half-baked scare stories".

As you recently revealed, 80 per cent of pedestrians struck at 40mph are killed.

Yet in measurements I have taken on a single-track winding country lane nearby, 52 per cent of vehicles exceeded 45mph, 50mph to 60mph was not uncommon (20 per cent) and the fastest actually measured was 68mph. Among those at 50mph were 7.5-tonne lorries. In one instance, I watched a mother with a baby in a pushchair, and two children holding on to the handle. Cars passed within 18 inches at up to an estimated 50mph. The slightest misjudgement by driver or child would have caused instant death.

Danger is not the only factor which deters people like me from walking or cycling on country roads. The roar of speeding traffic obliterates the "buzzing of the bees in the hedges", the pollution from exhaust fumes is all the more unpleasant when contrasted with the otherwise cleaner air, and the rapid movement of vehicles, when seen in the peripheral vision of the eye, triggers a stress reaction, raising blood pressure and adrenalin release.

R H J P HARVEY

Frating Abbey,

Essex

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