Villagers use pedal power for 20mph bid

More than 140 residents of Westbourne got on their bikes for a family fun ride, designed to 'reclaim the streets' of the village.
More than 140 residents of Westbourne got on their bikes for a family fun ride, designed to 'reclaim the streets' of the village.
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MORE than 140 people got on their bikes and ‘reclaimed’ the streets of their village in a bid to promote lowering the speed limit to 20mph.

The event in Westbourne was also aimed at highlighting that swapping the car for pedal power can help the environment by lowering carbon emissions.

More than 900 people have signed a petition calling for 20mph limits on all the roads in Westbourne.

The event on Sunday – organised by environmental group and the local 20’s Plenty Campaign – took riders on a tour of the parish.

Villagers could do a long route of about five miles or a short two-mile route, both starting and finishing at Westbourne’s social club.

The afternoon event ended with a barbecue.

Colin Carré, chair of Greening Westbourne, said: ‘This was the first event of its kind we’ve held, and it was brilliant that so many people turned up, of all ages.

‘It was a fun village event, but it was also designed to remind us all that short journeys can be easy by bike, and that our streets need to be safe for all.

‘Greening Westbourne is all about tackling climate change on a local level, which means cutting down on car use if we can.

‘And the 20’s Plenty campaign, for 20mph speed limits through the village, is aimed at making our roads safer for people cycling and walking.’

The ride was an official event for Bike Week, the national celebration of cycling.

Emma Weatherstone, a mum-of-one from Westbourne, said: ‘We want 20mph because it will slow the traffic down and make it safer for the population.

‘We have lots of elderly people and young families. Westbourne is a cut-through from Chichester to Emsworth.

‘Drivers sail in because it’s 60mph and then when they get to Westbourne slam on the brakes. It’s very dangerous.

‘It’s been used in Portsmouth and Chichester and there’s evidence to show people survive if they are hit by a car at 20mph. I see people driving past at 60mph, then slamming on the brakes on and almost ending up in my living room.’

The petition is currently being considered by West Sussex County Council.