“I decided to do something about it, rather than just moan about the nuisance”
Steve, a retired recruitment consultant from Dedham, reflects on Volunteers Week about why he chose to volunteer with Community Speed Watch (CSW) over two years ago.
Steve and his wife have lived in Dedham for over 30 years and in that time has seen the volume of traffic on the roads increase substantially, as has the incidence of dangerous speeding.
Steve said: “After the first lockdown, speeding became a serious problem, as the number of visitors to the village increased significantly due to the international travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic, and many drivers seemed to lose awareness of the dangers of speeding on country roads for pedestrians, walkers, horse riders and other road users.
“We personally experienced several “near misses” and after talking to other neighbours about their concerns for their children, I decided to do something about it, rather than just moan about the nuisance.”
Steve enjoys the sense of community the scheme brings and feels supported by villagers who stop for a chat, offer cups of coffee, or give the thumbs-up as they drive past. What he enjoys the least is the aggression from some drivers who don’t understand the dangers of speeding.
“Speeding is a major cause of collisions, deaths and serious injuries – with each one of those there is a family who are either grieving or dealing with the sudden impact of injuries. This is all avoidable if drivers take personal responsibility and drive safely within the speed limits.”
Affected by road traffic collisions himself, Steve is determined to spread the Vision Zero messaging in the hope that no one else experiences such loss.
In 1973, four 6th form school mates were killed after their car collided with a speeding driver who lost control at a roundabout. At the time, many of Steve’s classmates were learning to drive so the tragedy really struck a chord.
Steve’s neighbour was also knocked down while standing outside his house by an impatient driver and ended up in hospital with a broken arm.
Steve added: “One of my wife’s friends’ brother was killed in an accident on the A140 on the way to work last year and I know the impact that had on his wife and kids and other family.
“If I could say anything to someone who thought it was ok to speed, I’d say, surely it is better to arrive two minutes late than not arrive at all or destroy someone else’s life or family. You might think it won’t happen to you, but it does happen, and we all have a part to play in reducing the tragedy caused by road traffic collisions.”
Nicola Foster, Chairman of SERP, said: “Volunteers Week gives us an opportunity to thank our Community Speed Watch volunteers for the incredibly valuable and selfless work they do within their local communities.
“Life is busy and many of our volunteers have full time jobs and families to juggle, but still make time to spread our important Vision Zero messaging about saving lives.”
06 June 2022