|London, 28 August 1998.
For immediate release.
The campaign for the countryside has been hijacked by various minority road user pressure groups, who are claiming that rural traffic constitutes "tyranny" and are suggesting that absurd restrictions are therefore placed on the majority of country people who happen to drive cars.
These include restricting access, giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders and, of course, the inevitable calls for 40mph speed limits on country roads, 20mph limits in villages and extensive "traffic calming".
The ABD utterly rejects the notion that rural motor traffic constitutes tyranny. If tyranny is to be found anywhere it is in these oppressive proposals - they will turn rural motoring into a miserable and fearful experience for every country dweller who drives.
An ABD spokesman commented:
"Many of our members live in rural areas; they are pedestrians and often cyclists as well as drivers. In our experience, the only people who actively believe in "traffic tyranny" are members and supporters of certain groups who have an anti car focus. Ordinary people want to be free to use their cars without guilt and fear, but have been brainwashed into accepting many ill considered restrictions that erode this freedom."
These latest proposals make no sense, even from the point of view of those putting them forward, unless one assumes that their purpose is to make all motoring unpleasant and untenable, and to whip up hatred against car users amongst country people.
All the dangerous things detailed above are likely to happen more often if the driving population is deskilled by absurd 40mph & 20mph blanket limits that rob them of attentiveness and judgement, leaving only frustration and a bloody minded attitude towards other road users.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory is appalled by these proposals, particularly by the way these groups are ganging up to whip up hatred and hysteria instead of working together with drivers' road safety groups like the ABD to help all road users take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others:
The fact is that most rural roads are lightly trafficked, and will remain so. Many residents do object to very heavy traffic past their doors in certain locations - if this coalition of groups wanted to help them and improve safety at the same time they could try urging the government to reinstate its decimated bypass programme and upgrade more trunk roads to a proper standard. They could get some good cycling and bridleway facilities at the same time if they played their cards right.
The examples used in reports on this issue focused on trucks - these, of course, are subjected to a 40mph limit anyway on single carriageway roads and so would not be affected at all by a limit reduction for cars. This only goes to show how difficult it is to find real people who want draconian restrictions on cars and how poorly this whole campaign has been thought through.