F1 director criticises Chichester’s 20’s Plenty

Brian Sims pictured at Summersdale road   Picture by Louise Adams C131199-3
Brian Sims pictured at Summersdale road Picture by Louise Adams C131199-3

HE’S lived life in the fast line, but now a former racing driver wants drivers to slow down in Chichester.

Brian Sims, 67, of Summersdale Road, said the new 20mph speed limit was actually causing drivers to increase their speed – and said he was fearful of a dreadful accident.

“If a speed limit is realistic, people respect it,” he said.

He said now drivers were more inclined to speed along the former 30mph Summersdale Road or, worse still, spend more time looking at their speedometer and less time watching the road.

“I think 20mph on a road like this is ridiculously slow,” he said.

“It was pretty civilised. Suddenly they introduced 20mph and it’s become a racetrack.

“I have an unbelievable respect for speed. You might love it, and I do, but when you have had a big accident at 160mph in a car you know how long cars take to come to a halt.”

He said the speed should return to 30mph, otherwise he feared there would soon be an accident.

“I think if it went back to 30mph people would respect it more.”

Mr Sims said he contacted West Sussex County Council, but was told it would be a year before a review of the impact on the accident rate could be done.

He has invited someone from the council to stand outside his house and watch cars speeding by.

After retiring from race car driving, he joined Formula 1 and was marketing director of the Benetton and Lola Ferrari F1 teams, as well as manager of the Kyalami F1 Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa.

He called for a round-table discussion of people from Chichester to discuss the speed limit.

Inspector Phil Nicholas from the road policing unit said: “As with any new speed restriction that has been introduced the emphasis is primarily on education as opposed to enforcement and as a result we have not had any prosecutions to date.

“We are working with the local authority who are monitoring motorists’ compliance with this new limit in areas of Chichester. This limit is legally enforceable and if people choose to ignore it they could face prosecution in the same way they could for breaking any speed limit.”