A Pembrokeshire village resident has urged speed limit protesters to write to the press instead of defacing 20mph signs.

Mary Sinclair, of Martletwy, has written to the Observer, addressing her views to the anonymous people who vandalised the 20mph signs at the entrances to the village - and elsewhere - by obscuring the figure with paint. 

“In Martletwy Village we have  blind corners, a very steep hill,  homes close to the road and, in places, a road narrow enough to require passing cars to pull in. And yet those who painted over our 20mph signs obviously believe they should be allowed to drive at above that  limit through our village,“ she writes. 

Two Martletwy residents Michael Carpenter and Geoffrey Sinclair cleaning a pair of the vandalised signs so that the figure 20 remains visible to oncoming traffic.
Two Martletwy residents Michael Carpenter and Geoffrey Sinclair cleaning a pair of the vandalised signs so that the figure 20 remains visible to oncoming traffic. (Mary Sinclair)

“I believe that we need the 20mph restriction as motorised vehicles are not sole road users. Cars share road space with pedestrians, walkers, hikers, pet walkers, runners, joggers, horse riders, cyclists, motorcyclists, moped and scooter riders, plus large vehicles which can take up most of the road width,” she continues.

“We also have a children’s playground and village green close to the road.  People need to be able to drive in and out of concealed entrances safely.”

“In the UK there are roughly 6,500 pedestrian casualties each year, of which 30% are children under 15 years of age. Children stand a better chance of surviving if hit by a car travelling at 20 mph  than one at 30 mph.  It is also apparently easier for children to spot oncoming vehicles travelling at 20mph rather than 30mph.

“I am a driver and understand that it is difficult to drive at 20mph when we are used to 30mph.  It requires driving in a low gear,  in our high geared cars.  But if it saves the life and future of even one child in Wales, it is surely worth it.

“It isn’t as if this is novel. A friend couldn’t understand  the fuss being made about introducing the 20mph limits in urban areas in Wales. She had driven through village Oxfordshire and most had speed limits of 20mph already in place.”  

Addressing those who vandalised the signs, she says: “You may not agree with the 20mph restriction, but please write to the press to explain your reasons for needing to drive at a higher speed through built up areas, instead of vandalising community property.”

Pembrokeshire County Council recently issued a statement that points out that defacing signs is not helping at all: “Council teams are currently working their way around the County to ensure all signs are correct and those that are no longer required are removed.

“This was always going to be a significant task and it has been further impacted by having to revisit and repair or replace signs that have been deliberately damaged or defaced. This also has a cost implication for the Council.

“The public’s patience while this work is completed is appreciated.

Mrs Sinclair adds: I ask you to consider that the age when the needs of drivers came before those of all other road users, and when the movement of traffic was considered more important than the environment, is ending.  The balance is being re drawn.

“Suddenly we are waking up to the fact that people are far more important than vehicles.”