ROAD ACCIDENT ANALYSIS FOR FARNINGHAM

The following is a comment by the Chairman of Farningham Parish Council on the road accident figures for Farningham as presented by Kent County Council

Below is/are my observations from looking at page 18 of the 2015 Road Traffic Injury data presentation (original PowerPoint presentation here), which includes statistics of KSIs (Killed or Seriously Injured) in Sevenoaks District from 2000 to 2014.

Over 43% of the whole of Sevenoaks’ KSI’s (Killed or Seriously Injured) occur on the 2 mile stretch of A20 between Brands Hatch and King’s roundabout making the parish of Farningham (in which 3 of the worst 4 locations sit) the most dangerous 2 miles of road in Sevenoaks District, and therefore probably the most dangerous non-motorway stretch of road in Kent (surely/hopefully there can’t be anywhere worse?). That’s 475 here out of the 1,094 SDC total (in 14 years).

On the positive side, this does help strengthen the case for that roundabout we have been requesting at the A225 Eynsford Road junction with the A20. (Unfortunately there is a limited budget for preventative road safety measures, but unlimited funds available for picking up the bodies & wreckage after all the endless crashes. Surely this is short-sighted? But I am sure the accountants can square that with the grieving widow.) The roundabout requested would cover both the A225 Eynsford Road and Eglantine Lane junctions off the A20, and we do have support from MSV (who own Brands Hatch). Unfortunately it is often illegal right turns out of the A225 Eynsford Road and from White Post Hill opposite Eglantine Lane that make these 2 junctions together account for 28% of all of the Killed or Seriously Injured in the whole of Sevenoaks (actually a terrifying 309 KSIs in 14 years, which averages 22 per year in this tiny 150-yard stretch alone). The cost of this roundabout is similar to the amount spent on clearing up after just 2 KSI’s. With the money spent on picking up the pieces from 309 KSI’s over the 14  years we could have built a roundabout on Saturn.

Some 13 years ago (in 2003) Cllr Philip McGarvey did persuade a retiring Senior KCC Highways Officer to paint hatching that has since been called Phil’s Hatch (because it was Philip’s idea, as a new District Councillor then – and it is close to Brands Hatch) on the coast-bound A20 to protect traffic turning right into the A225 Eynsford Road junction. The actual design was “not in the book” at KHS but the Officer kindly created that new marking for us as her retiring present, she said, and it has successfully prevented so many minor accidents there since then (there used to be almost weekly breakages of wing-mirrors or worse).

Because speeding motorists tend to not know their Highway Code, they probably could not tell you what the National Speed Limit is on an A-road that is not otherwise restricted. So at the speed camera on the A20 close to its junction with Scratchers Lane (just downhill from Brands Hatch), about a quarter of motorists slow excessively when they see the camera (I say “slow” – they actually drop anchor) and many go through at just 40mph (some at a hastily slowed 50mph), and their sudden and excessive braking has caused dozens of smashes and shunts there. So, FPC asked that a 60mph repeater sign be fixed to the back of the camera, but current KHS officers are not as creative or flexible as their predecessor, so they keep refusing to do this. Recently they relented a bit and erected  another NSL (National Speed Limit) disc close by, but as I say, so many bad drivers do not know what speed limit this means. Yes of course they should know it’s 60mph, but they don’t, and it’s these people that need to be spoon-fed. (One stuck-on 60mph-limit sign is hardly going to blow the Highways budget even for a whole hour.)

There will be a site visit just as soon as KCC can collect more current data, and this will include the Button Street and London Road junctions with the A20 too, as well as the accident-prone exit from Brands Hatch and the hotel..