Save our country lanes, argues CPRE

The Campaign for Rural England (patron: HM The Queen) has published a guide on how campaigners can create the right conditions for making country lanes more friendly to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. The 'quiet lanes' idea works well in Jersey, with vulnerable users having priority over motorised traffic. Cars tend to steer clear of Jersey's 15mph lanes, making the lanes more attractive for locals and tourists alike.
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The pleasure of walking, cycling or horse-riding along a country lane without fear from speeding traffic is fast disappearing, warns CPRE in what is becoming an annual press campaign arguing for slower speeds in the countryside.

The CPRE has today garnered a great deal of TV and radio exposure for its plans to restrict speeding motorists on rural roads, although on today's BBC One o'Clock News, a spokeswoman for the Cumbria Tourist Board said restricting traffic speeds was "a regulation too far," and would harm tourism not help it.

Speeding vehicles, rising traffic levels and heavy lorries are making many country lanes unpleasant, unsafe and intimidating for other users - stripping them of their character and shattering their tranquillity, claims CPRE. In 2002, 2061 people lost their lives on rural roads, 60 percent of all road fatalities.

"Quiet Lanes provide the chance for people to enjoy country lanes in greater safety by encouraging drivers to slow down and drive more considerately. They can widen transport choice for local people, create useful links for the community, and play a valuable role in improving people's quality of life," said a statement from the CPRE.

Graham Seed, who plays cycling newbie Nigel Pargetter in Radio 4's The Archers supports the Quiet Lanes campaign:

"It's a splendid idea to try and maintain the ambience and safety of the countryside for its many cyclists, horse riders and walkers."

Seed's character has recently raised the need for Quiet Lanes on The Archers when he took up cycling and was angered by speeding lorries.

CPRE campaigners across England are working to get their local authorities to implement Quiet Lanes. Already, 31 authorities have expressed interest in working with communities to provide Quiet Lanes in their area.

However, three years after supporting legislation for Quiet Lanes in the Transport Act 2000, the government still hasn't published the regulations required to help local authorities designate them.

Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, which measures nine miles by five, has about 300 miles of roads. Since 1994 50+ miles of these have been designated as quiet lanes, with signs displaying a speed limit of 15 mph. Whilst some locals tore these signs down at the beginning of the scheme, the quiet roads idea is now a fixture in Jersey and is one of the reasons for an increase in cycle tourism on the island.

CPRE's Quiet Lanes publication is available, as a PDF, from:

http://www.cpre.org.uk/.../quiet-lanes.pdf

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