On Saturday (30 September), residents and councillors gathered at a pedestrian crossing on Goldington Road as part of the National Safe Streets Now campaign.
The Bedford event, which took place on the pedestrian crossing near the junction with Caves Lane, was organised by Green councillors Lucy Bywater and Paul Edmonds, simultaneously with action in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Liverpool, Norwich, Bristol, Sheffield, Oxford and London suburbs.
The peaceful protest involved campaigners crossing with the ‘green man’ each time a passing pedestrian or cyclist pressed the button and crossed.
This was accompanied by placards and signs such as ‘Toot if You Too Want Children to Get Safely to School’ and ‘Slow and Aware’ and the group included local residents, parents, school governors, a highways engineer and a town planner.
Cllr Lucy Bywater (Green Party, Castle & Newnham ward) said: “This national campaign event was organised before Rishi Sunak’s recent comments regarding speed limits.
“As councillors, we get so many complaints from frightened and angry residents about extreme speeding and overtaking on Goldington Road. 50mph+ is not unusual.
“The truth is that too many reckless motorists are reducing the freedom of others to walk and wheel safely. There have been reported near-misses with cars and motorcycles jumping the lights where hundreds of children cross each day at the pelican crossing, and even cases of cars crashing into garden walls.
“This is not the only place it’s happening.”
Cllr Bywater said that they want additional police resources to enforce speed violations and council resources for average speed cameras.
“Evidence nationally is that the greater the speed, the more likelihood of road death”.
Those taking part included nearby resident Vicky, a Road Victims Trust counsellor.
She said: “I support victims of road collisions. Every week we contact victims, victims’ families and drivers who are in extreme distress.”
Local resident, Zoe, explained: “We live on this road with our children and our dog. The speed that cars and motorbikes reach is well over the limit and completely unacceptable. It’s anti-social. It’s dangerous. It has to stop.”
Saturday’s activity ended with a coordinated 1-minute silence by the roadside at noon to remember UK road deaths, which numbered 1,711 in 2022 with an additional 28,031 seriously injured.