Since the summer of 2018, East Garston Parish Council’s Speedwatch volunteers have been monitoring speeding along the 30 mph stretch of the Newbury Road between the Queens Arms and Rogers Lane. You may well have seen them out with SID, the Speed Indicator Device.
35% of the 2,071 vehicles caught in the surveys in the summer of 2018 were exceeding 35 mph and 15% were exceeding 46 mph. The highest speeds recorded were between 50 and 60 mph.
The survey showed that there were three times more vehicles travelling in excess of 45 mph towards Lambourn than those travelling towards Newbury; also that drivers were going faster outside of the morning and evening peak periods.
Some close calls were witnessed. The worst of these involved two hikers walking on the highway where there is no verge on the downhill bend: they were very narrowly missed by a speeding lorry coming up behind them which could not pull out because of a speeding van coming in the opposite direction. Had they not managed to jump up onto the bank, it would have been a major incident. Fortunately they were young and able-bodied but not all walkers would have such agility. Had the vehicles been travelling within the speed limit, they would have been able to safely adjust their speeds and take appropriate evasive action.
Summer 2019 Update
The exercise has repeated several times since, most recently between 16 and 23 July 2019. This produced very similar results. 819 vehicles were recorded during the 18 hours of the survey with over a third exceeding the prosecution threshold of 35mph. Similar figures could doubtless have been recorded in Eastbury (where the problem is also the proximity of front doors to the road), where the residents have been campaigning for a reduction to 20mph. Police enforcement actions are also being carried out so please be careful.
West Berks Council has installed white gates at the village boundaries. Thames Valley Police will also be doing more enforcement work.
Please observe the speed limit at all times and to adjust this to reflect weather conditions. Remember that there may be walkers, horses, tractors or roadworks on the road ahead. The junction by the Queens, where four side roads or driveways lead onto the bottom road, is particularly dangerous. Please ensure you can stop safely and and avoid the risk of serious injury to other road users and yourselves.
For more information please contact [email protected]
Many thanks to David Ruse, Vice Chairman of East Garston Parish Council for supplying this information.