I must congratulate the local CAMRA group on another successful beer festival last month, their 42nd event. It has grown from a small event at the rugby club to be the biggest and brightest open air event of its kind, writes Liberal Party city councillor Chris Ash in this week’s Speaker’s Corner column.
It is a tribute to those that organise it and the money raised for the RNLI is a tribute to those that attend. I am guessing the attraction is that it is an event that has, thanks to the venue, been able to widen its scope to include a lot more than a choice of a few ales. It shows that freely available alcohol does not mean there is by default unruly and violent behaviour.
There is one thing that always gets me about Peterborough and that seems that far too many people have a somewhat relaxed approach to road safety. Now that September is with us, it is now noticeably darker in early evening. Also with the schools back it might be a good time get people to think about road safety. All of us on foot, mobile scooters, bikes or cars, all have a part to play in ensuring our own safety and the safety of others.
All too often people seem oblivious to the dangers around them, or the dangers they might cause, perhaps they are too focused on their own needs which puts all other considerations out of mind.
I wonder, for example, if people realise that St Peters Road (behind the town hall) does have a fair amount of traffic. I notice all too often people, even with youngsters, stroll down the centre or cross at the Bishops Road without watching for vehicles turning. I also notice that even though there are barriers on some sections and several safe crossing places on Bourges Boulevard, people attempt to cross anywhere.
As a councillor I pick up many complaints from folk and see many transgressions. What does get a lot of people annoyed is pavement parking. Now in certain parts of Dogsthorpe you can get fined. I did read that Parliament is down to discuss the matter of pavement parking (when they are there!).
However, generally speaking, outside of restrictions it is quite legal to park partly (not totally) on the pavement, unless in rare cases the powers that be deem there is an obstruction. It may surprise some to know that includes parking on double yellow lines. What can and often happens, is the footpath is blocked and is then a danger to those on the pathway who have to walk round.
Cyclists often feel they are falsely targeted and are vulnerable through others’ carelessness. There is no denying that is sadly often the case. Those that cause a nuisance will be the ones remembered, not those that ride with care and consideration. Far too many do sadly seem to have an arrogant disregard for others, and I am sure many councillors hear of complaints about those that ride on pavements and often at speed, or with no lights .
Another issue for many is parking by schools, here again far too many seem to disregard or forget about the safety of others and particularly the very group they say are at most risk from careless road users and bad parking - that of course is children .
My own personal gripe is road design - some areas seem to make things worse not better. I find that the central mounds on roundabouts impair visibility, particular if a small vehicle is close to the centre and turning right. We also seem to get traffic lights that cause tail backs onto roundabouts and junctions, blocking things up good and proper. It would be interesting to know if readers find the same at various locations around the city.
Oh, and talking of turning right, do you find that far too many people cut corners when making right hand turns and then they are on the wrong side of the road and likely to hit something head on? Standing at bus stops one has time to watch these things. Whatever happened to MSM - mirror, signal, manoeuvre? Now, all too often it seems to be just manoeuvre and blow everyone else. I am sure most do take care, but a plea to everyone out on the road or footpath - do think of your own personal safety, and just as importantly consider others.
So, from that, people will wonder why I am not a strong supporter of speed bumps or blanket 20mph restrictions on inner city roads. While I think such measures may be appropriate in some specific areas they are in my view not a panacea for all ills. Such measures do not make people more careful.
Before I forget, a quick plug for the British Heart Foundation event – Peterborough Beats Together at Ferry Meadows Saturday, September 28 in the morning till 12. There will be various things going on so do drop by.