This speech was prepared for the eThekwini Council meeting on 27 September, 2011. The motion was passed by the full council with only the Minority Front abstaining.
Why I now favour speed humps for road safety
As ward councillors we receive many requests for speed humps to be installed by residents worried about their safety and the safety of their families.
One of the requests I submitted recently was for a section of Clark Rd and I explained that between Manning and Bulwer, there is a Childrens Home, Student Residence and two Churches. As many ward councillors will know, the typical response goes something like this:
“Current Council Policy precludes the installation of speed humps on higher order roads” and “the accident record on this road is insufficient to meet the policy requirements”.
On the one hand there is merit to not adjusting the engineering of a road unless there is evidence that there are problems with it, the accident record. Instead, we should be able to rely on regular speed enforcement on our roads as a deterrent.
On the other hand, we know and need to accept at least for now, that our Metro Police are incapable are enforcing speeds on our roads. As I showed last year, Metro Police only have 50% of the staff they need, and I have confirmed that they only have 1 speed timing device for the entire Metro. So, as many have asked, must we always wait until people die before we change the engineering?
I remind council of the protests which took place last year in KwaMashu K-Section because residents were fed up with their children being killed and injured on Nkonjane Road while council stood by and threw the rule book at them.
I used to be firmly of the opinion that we must only change the engineering of our roads where there is a known problem shown in accident statistics, despite the efforts of our Metro police to enforce the rules of the road. Of late, however, I have grown weary of trying to inspire improved performance out of the Metro Police.
If we are honest with one another, we will accept that Metro Police are extremely efficient at issuing parking tickets and staging road blocks. However, active enforcement activities like speed enforcement, interception of wreckless drivers and drivers jumping lights or stops has all but ceased.
I am thus now firmly of the opinion that we need to take practical engineering measures to improve the safety of our residential roads on more roads than we have before. This means both more money and a change in policy.
I understand that a policy review has already been called for, and it is thus against this backdrop that I have tabled this Notice of Motion asking our officials to review the World Health Organisation’s “World report on road traffic injury prevention” and consider the recommendations while undertaking our policy review. Further, acknowledging that we need more engineering interventions, I have asked that the budget for traffic calming measures be doubled for the next financial year.
Thus, considering what I have put before you, I humbly ask for your support in this matter which affects each and every one of us.
Cllr Warwick Chapman | 083 7797 094