Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Christmas road safety message from Mark Shaw

County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, has issued a Christmas message via Facebook:

"As we all wind down for Christmas and the bank holidays, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, safe end to 2016. I expect many of you will be packing up your cars and heading off to be with friends and family over the next few days. Whether you are making long journeys or just going round the corner, check the forecast before you set off and bear the gritters in mind! If you’re on Twitter, follow @TfBalerts to see the daily gritting decision, usually released around lunchtime, which will help you gauge whether you might be facing icy roads. That info will also be on the County Council transport page, here -

The most likely adverse weather we’re likely to see this week, however, is high wind (and that’s not a reference to the sprouts). If we do experience windy or stormy conditions in the next week, take extra care on the roads and give high sided vehicles a wide berth. With high winds there is also a risk of fallen trees on the road – please, please remember to phone in to report these, don’t rely on TfB seeing any messages on Twitter or Facebook. Despite the bank holiday, our teams will still be on duty and – as always – the emergency contact number (01296 486630) will be monitored out-of-hours and on the bank holiday Monday and Tuesday.

But all in all, we are hoping for a mild, ice-free Christmas. While a snowy white Christmas day would have been lovely, the absence of any extreme weather will mean our hardworking teams can spend Christmas at home with their families, rather than in the depots or out on the roads in gritters and snow ploughs. I’d like to thank everyone who has been working hard in the last few weeks to keep the roads safe as the temperature has dropped.

Lastly, if you’re planning a bit of a knees-up, have a great time! Drink responsibly and, in the words of the great Helen Mirren, ‘don’t be a pillock’ – drink driving could cost you, at best, your licence and, at worst, your life or that of someone else. Bear in mind that the morning after a good night you may still be over the legal limit, so before driving home on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day consider whether you really are safe to get behind the wheel. Using the ‘Morning After App’ is a helpful gadget to estimate – and I emphasise the ‘estimate’ there – how long it roughly takes for alcohol to leave your system. Just take care out there, have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy and safe new year."

TfB and TVP working together on solution to Marlow Bridge concerns

Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is aware of the concerns of Marlow residents about the continued use of the newly reopened Marlow Bridge by vehicles exceeding the 3 tonne weight limit. As early as the first day of reopening, overweight vehicles were seen crossing, or attempting to cross the bridge in spite of the weight limit.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire explained the complications with trying to enforce the restrictions:

“This is a difficult problem to solve. It seems likely that many drivers do not realise how little 3 tonnes is; for instance, a Range Rover carrying four people and their shopping could easily exceed 3 tonnes. As such, we will be trying to educate local residents on identifying the weight of their vehicles if they are regular users of the bridge.

There are measures in place to deter heavier vehicles from crossing the bridge already, for instance the width-restricting bollards. However, as we know from experience, this does not put off all drivers. Additionally, using width or height restrictions only works some of the time, because not all heavy vehicles are necessarily overly wide, or tall.”

TfB is investigating other potential deterrents that could be put in place, and in the meantime is liaising closely with Thames Valley Police (TVP) to discuss closer monitoring and enforcement of the weight limit.

Inspector Scott Long of TVP Roads Policing says that the team will be carrying out targeted enforcement of the bridge’s weight limit in the New Year, adding:

“We are taking all violations of the weight limit very seriously, due to the impact on the town’s residents and businesses of the two month closure of the bridge after an HGV collided with it in September. We are working with TfB to come to a solution, and would like to reinforce the message to drivers that ignoring the weight restriction could result in penalties.”

More on the Marlow Bridge closure here.

Learn more about the different classifications of vehicle weights in our info video: