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News comes as charity Brake lobbies MPs for lower speed limit, saying 8 in 10 people back GO 20 campaign

Leeds City Council plans to introduce 20mph zones in hundreds of streets flanking its proposed £29 million CityConnect segregated bike path linking the city with Bradford. The news comes in a week when safety charity Brake lobbied MPs to support its GO 20 campaign, which it says is supported by eight in ten people.

Leeds, which hosts the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in July and has devised the CityConnect scheme as part of its legacy from that, aims to consult with local residents in the areas concerned about implementing up to 40 new zones carrying the speed limit, reports the Yorkshire Post.

The route of what is being termed a “super cycleway,” being build with the help of £18 million from the government’s Cycle City Ambition fund, will run from East Leeds through the city centre and on then to Bradford via Wortley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey and Thornbury.

In February, the council’s director of city development and director of public health delivered a report to its executive board following a meeting last November with the charity, 20s Plenty for Us.

The report noted that the council has “an overall aspiration for all residential streets in Leeds to have a 20 mph speed limit,” but that “securing public support is needed for the schemes to function most effectively.”

It added: “Overall, the identified schemes programme will deliver a 20 mph speed limit on around 60% of all urban streets in the city and surrounding communities by 2020.

“As part of the overall plan, the proposed City Connect cycle superhighway from Leeds to Bradford includes a corridor of 20 mph local speed limits in communities abutting the route.

“The aim is that by 2020 all local schools and their residential hinterlands will be located within an effective speed reducing 20 mph speed limit area.”

Alison Lambert of Farsley Business Forum, told the Yorkshire Post: “Hopefully this would persuade more people to come here on foot and do their shopping locally.”

Yesterday, representatives of Brake visited Parliament to call on MPs to make 20mph the default speed limit in urban areas.

A survey of 1,000 people carried out by Brake and Allianz Insurance found that 78 per cent supported the GO 20 campaign and 72 per cent want roads where they live to be made safer for pedestrians.

Brake highlighted examples of places where the implementation of the lower speed limit had resulted in a drop in road casualties such as Portsmouth, down 22 per cent, and the London Borough of Camden, which recorded a 54 per cent fall.

The charity’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: “The GO 20 campaign is about defending everyone’s right to walk and cycle freely without being endangered, whether it’s to get to work, school, the shops, or just getting out and being active.

“We need to tackle the senseless and violent casualties that continue to happen daily on our roads, and we need to enable people to live healthy, active, social lives. It’s clear that 20mph limits in communities can help bring this about - and it’s clear this is what people want. “

There is comprehensive information about CityConnect on its website, including details of individual sections of the route.

Over the past week, the team behind the project have held a series of consultation events.

Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council's executive member for housing, planning and transport, said: "This is an important scheme that will improve the connectivity between our two cities and create new opportunities for businesses, jobs, housing and health.

“It is also about improving the way people in these areas of Bradford and Leeds can get around and how they are impacted by the route including getting to work in some of our key areas,” she added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

22 comments

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Bokonon [51 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder if (Labour controlled) Leeds will have the same problems as (Green Controlled) Brighton in getting this passed?

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Ah yes, 20mph limit (zones) which are ignored routinely by 100% of motorists.

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vorsprung [280 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Ah yes, 20mph limit (zones) which are ignored routinely by 100% of motorists.

Nah, more like 50% ignore it. But that's better than it being a 30mph zone

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Well once again, i beg to differ.

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 2 years ago
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The whole point of 20mph is to get people to drive below 30mph - rather than the usual 35-40mph in a 30moh zone which has become accepted behaviour over the past 20 years.

The death rate being hit below 30mph is markedly less than above 30mph.

Once enough drivers are creeping along at 25-30mph in residential areas then they stop the speeders doing more by weight of numbers.

Beg to differ all you like but the current limit isn't working and in the absence of a better solution - you can call me old fashioned - but I'm all for reducing cars to the pace of a dangerously fast horse and cart around my neighbourhood. Better fuel use, fewer deaths, traffic moving more smoothly... What's not to like?

We created this self entitlement nightmare and it's time for change.

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Quince [382 posts] 2 years ago
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There's also the issue of noise pollution, which is generally sidelined in favour of discussing 'pollution' pollution and... 'death pollution'. If that's conceptually sound.

Still, noise pollution an issue I've been picking up on more recently, and it's more meaningful than I'd imagined. You can hear a car from a mile away - literally. They fill residential areas with an ongoing aggressive cacophony, and even away from the road you can still hear the grumbling buzz of motor traffic in the distance. We have forced the notion of 'peace and quiet' out of most of the places where we live, walk, and play, and the atmosphere suffers as a result. You can't hear the birds sing when cars are nearby; nor hear the trees swaying in the breeze, or people chatting, or the sound of anything simply living.

It's another ongoing reminder of who 'owns' the roads (and hence 90% of public space), and that the pace of towns - and therefore of our lives - is dictated by loud, large and anonymous machines, rather than simple, honest, un-augmented human beings.

Of course, reducing the speed limit won't solve this entirely, but I think the drop in volume would be appreciable, and - fluffy as it may sound - I think you're much more likely to feel 'part of your environment' at 20 than 30, and therefore more responsible for it.

It's certainly an intuitive way of 'levelling the playing field', and calming the angry rivers of steel that carve up the places we live.

Also, in response to the idea that 'the 30 zones should simply be policed'; dropping the speed limits to 20 would no doubt reduce the average speed to... well, 30 or less, which is exactly the same result - and far more likely to actually work. And besides, I'd rather they were policed at 20 than 30. This is at least a step in the right direction.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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“Overall, the identified schemes programme will deliver a 20 mph speed limit on around 60% of all urban streets in the city and surrounding communities by 2020".

Or alternatively, how about 100% by the end of next week? Just get some crews out to change every 30mph sign for a 20mph one. If there's a general consensus for change, then what's the problem?

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CarlosFerreiro [107 posts] 2 years ago
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Doing it legally?  7

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Leodis [403 posts] 2 years ago
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The funny thing about this is that they have painted these signs on the roads, one is on a corner covering the whole road and this is on one of the Sustran cycle routes!!! Would have been far better to create better bus lanes like on Kirkstall road where they could throughout Leeds.

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caaad10 [184 posts] 2 years ago
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I assume this limit applies to cyclists too...

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RedfishUK [130 posts] 2 years ago
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caaad10 wrote:

I assume this limit applies to cyclists too...

No speed limits only apply to motorised vehicles

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dafyddp [361 posts] 2 years ago
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The general move towards 20mph must be seen as a good thing.
Some time back, my doctor asked me how many units I drink a week, to which I answered 'about 20'. He pointed out that the maximum for men is 21 - it doesn't mean it's a recommended amount. Well, I think speed limits are exactly the same - a 30mph limit zone denotes the absolute maximum anyone should be travelling, but the recommended speed is often far less.

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adamthekiwi [110 posts] 2 years ago
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@northstar: not 100% - I, for one, observe them when driving.

I ride through a 20mph on the way to work - it's a little difficult to tell whether it's the limit, the road layout or the speed cushions but I would say that more than 50% drive at or below 20mph.

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brooksby [1269 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Ah yes, 20mph limit (zones) which are ignored routinely by 100% of motorists.

I live just outside Bristol and commute in by bike five days a week. Watching motorists trying to stay within the speed limit (Bristol has pretty much blanket 20 mph across the central areas) is absolutely hilarious.

Brake light on - brake light off - brake light on - brake light off - brake light on ... They don't seem to consider just easing off the accelerator a bit.

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Paul_C [462 posts] 2 years ago
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If they enforce the blanket 20 limit with average speed cameras, then they have the added bonus of being able to remove all the traffic calming measures giving everybody a nice smooth ride and enabling emergency vehicles to travel faster.

Plus they can plug the cameras (which do automatic number plate recognition) into the Insurance, MOT and VED databases and send an alert to the nearest police vehicle with the details and location/direction so they can pull them over and take them off the road...

One of my biggest bugbears is the sheer number of untaxed, uninsured and unlicensed drivers out there on the roads getting away with it and only getting caught if they are unlucky to fall into a random trap.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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CarlosFerreiro wrote:

Doing it legally?  7

The current legislative framework allows authorities to bypass the almost interminable checks and balances if there is "support from the local community".

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jollygoodvelo [1419 posts] 2 years ago
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dafyddp wrote:

The general move towards 20mph must be seen as a good thing.
Some time back, my doctor asked me how many units I drink a week, to which I answered 'about 20'. He pointed out that the maximum for men is 21 - it doesn't mean it's a recommended amount. Well, I think speed limits are exactly the same - a 30mph limit zone denotes the absolute maximum anyone should be travelling, but the recommended speed is often far less.

Speaking personally, after I've drunk 20 units of alcohol, I always stick to the speed limit.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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8 out of 10 people support it, isn't that like 8 out of 10 cats prefer whiskers, I support 20 zones, but I know from talking to other friends almost everybody I know is against it, its more like 2 out of 10 support it, perhaps I'm just friends with speed merchants.

Personally would like to see them as variable and not fixed, in the dead of night I can't see any reason to keep them at 20, put them back to 30 as the likelihood of it helping is very small.

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Yorkshie Whippet [530 posts] 2 years ago
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Hang on what the hell are Leeds doing with all this money? There's a cycle lane from city centre to Bramley. A short bit missing then another lane towards Thornbury.

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Gourmet Shot [78 posts] 2 years ago
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vorsprung wrote:
northstar wrote:

Ah yes, 20mph limit (zones) which are ignored routinely by 100% of motorists.

Nah, more like 50% ignore it. But that's better than it being a 30mph zone

Nope I would say 100% (or very near). I regularly cycle into Leeds city centre and its a total joke. Potholes everywhere, cars jumping lanes at speed, general speeding and lack of care and cars and vans jumping the queue to race down the bus lanes.

I was knocked down this week and ended up hobbling to the local bike shop (Leeds city centre), who informed me that they are getting 2-3 people in a day who have been knocked down....I assume the actual number is higher given that this only represents the number of people who walked in for bike repair.

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arowland [148 posts] 2 years ago
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dafyddp wrote:

... a 30mph limit zone denotes the absolute maximum anyone should be travelling, but the recommended speed is often far less.

It's odd, isn't it? Drivers often treat the speed limit as a recommendation, a kind of minimum (albeit one that shouldn't be exceeded by too much), but when it comes to cycle path & lane widths, planners treat DoT minimums as maximums that should be possibly aimed for but, hey, no-one seriously sticks to.

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severs1966 [345 posts] 1 year ago
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Gourmet Shot wrote:

I was knocked down this week and ended up hobbling to the local bike shop (Leeds city centre), who informed me that they are getting 2-3 people in a day who have been knocked down....I assume the actual number is higher given that this only represents the number of people who walked in for bike repair.

Yes, Leeds is a terrible place for being run over. It is very common, but the statistics don't show the truth because the police refuse to record or take action on most such situations that are reported to them. The Leeds police will only do anything if someone dies or nearly dies, and even then you have to personally attend a police station to do it. This ensures that the drivers will definitely get away with it.

The drivers all know this, and the bike riders know it, so the drivers have no deterrent and the bike riders generally don't bother to tell the police about such crimes because of the hostile response they will get.

I assume this is typical in lots of other cities too, but I don't know that for a fact.