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Friday, November 23, 2018

Do 20mph zones work?

I live in the middle of a 20mph zone, but I have not seen much evidence of changes in driver behaviour other than in those streets where we have introduced traffic calming. That anecdotal conclusion is supported by a study by the Department for Transport which is reported in the The Times.

They found that the introduction of 20mph zones across Britain has had no effect on the number of accidents in inner cities, with “no meaningful difference” to casualty rates compared with other roads. They say that some councils have spent up to £1.7 million on making the change but only half of drivers stuck to the lower limit:

Average speeds on affected roads dropped by less than 1mph after the lower limit was introduced. The researchers said it was possible that drops in speed would have been recorded even if the limits had not been introduced because of rising congestion and increased awareness about the risks of speeding.

Most local residents supported the change, the study said. In all, 75 per cent backed the 20mph limits and very few said that they wanted a return to 30mph. There was also a “small but significant” increase in people cycling and walking, with five per cent of people travelling by foot more than they did when roads had higher limits.

The study, which was commissioned by the Department for Transport more than four years ago, found little evidence that 20mph limits had a significant bearing on safety.

Unfortunately, changing speed limits is not enough to improve safety records, especially around schools. If we do not also put in physical measures and enforcement driver behaviour will remain unchanged. It is a lesson that local councils need to take note of.
Yes we have the 20mph on our streets here in Leeds. I notice that the signs that are on the lamp posts are VERY small. People driving down the roads,speedsters or not could easily not notice them. I agree that traffic calming measures are very useful and should be introduced. Whilst it would still be dangerous for children to play in the streets it would reduce the risks,it would make a re-intro to street playing and parties Life is full of risk but making a nanny state can be coounterproductive in forming character and creativity for children.
I got 'camerad' for going 37mph in a 30 zone and not wanting points on my licence and a 100 pound fine I took an 84 pound course . Here I was informed that speeding fines did not go to the council,who could certainly need the money but to Govnt. What do they do with that money?
Where I live we have a 20 mph zone with speed cushions in the roads. Unfortunately the principal speeders also drive SUVs so the speed cushions are ineffective. I am not surprised that there is virtually no speed reduction; the main cause of speed reduction around where I live is the parked cars on both sides of the road reducing the effective width to the road to a single lane.

Laurence Cox
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