Your parish committee have long been campaigning for a reduction in the speed limit between Rose Hill and the Little Horsted roundabout in order to address the poor visibility for driveways and the junction at Bradford Lane/A26/Horsted Lane.
Michael Higgs the Senior Road Safety Officer recently sent us this response:
It is recognised nationally that the majority of drivers travel at the speed they consider to be safe for the conditions of the road. The national guidance therefore recommends that local highway authorities aim to align the speed limit so the average speed of the drivers is at, or just below the posted speed limit. This is because the average speed of the drivers reflects the speed that most drivers consider to be safe to travel for the character and appearance of the road.
The speed limit on this part of the A26 has been carefully considered in the past. At his meeting on 23 February 2015 the Lead Member for Transport and Environment carefully considered a petition for a lower speed limit on this part of the A26. At the meeting it was agreed that the existing 50mph speed limit was the most appropriate for this part of the A26. The speed surveys that were carried out on this part of the A26 indicated the average speed of the drivers to be 44.0mph southbound and 42.4mph northbound with 85th percentile (the speed that 85 percent of drivers are travelling below) of 49.8mph southbound and 49.0mph northbound. The results of the speed surveys that were carried out indicate that the existing 50mph speed limit is the most appropriate for this part of the A26. As a result it was agreed that the existing 50mph speed limit is the most appropriate for the road.
If we were to post a 40mph speed limit on this part of the A26 it would be below the average speed of the drivers. It is our experience, and the experience of other local highway authorities nationally that posting a speed limit below the average speed of the drivers does not produce the corresponding reduction in traffic speeds leading to a poorly complied with speed limit with most of the drivers travelling in excess of the speed limit.
A lower speed limit may also encourage more overtaking as the faster drivers may choose to take a risk to overtake any of the slower drivers that were respecting the lower speed limit.
I hope this helps to clarify why the existing 50mph speed limit is considered to be the most appropriate for this part of the A26.
We do not accept this decision and will continue to campaign for a speed reduction to 40mph. One of our councillors, Wendy Sim, has been instrumental in highlighting the dangers present along the A26 in Little Horsted to highways and the local council and has asked for any parishioners to email in incident details to the website.
For those interested, this is a link to a sussex collision data page which goes back five years: