Central London’s Square Mile to become 20mph zone in July

Speed limit just one of the new road safety plans by the Square Mile's corporation to benefit cyclists and pedestrians

by Sarah Barth   April 13, 2014  

City_of_London_20mph_zones

The City of London will become a 20mph zone in July following a vote by the corporation’s transport committee this week.

The new limit is part of the City’s road danger reduction plan, something we first reported on in 2011, and will be reinforced on all the roads bounding the square mile with the exception of those in Westminster.

Upper Thames Street, which is a Transport for London road, will remain 30mph, but other TfL roads, between Blackfriars Bridge and Farringdon Street and between Norton Folgate and London Bridge, pictured above in pink, will be 20mph as part of an experiment into road safety.

It is thought that the scheme could reduce road casualties by as much as seven per cent.

Michael Welbank, chairman of the planning and transportation committee told Transport Network: ‘I am pleased that [the 20mph scheme] has now cleared this last hurdle to its implementation.

“For the City of London to continue its success as an international business hub it is critical that its streets should be safe for all who use them be they commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, motorcyclists, shoppers or cultural wanderers and dreamers.’

Other measures being adopted by the City of London include junction redesigns, contra-flow cycle routes and new pedestrian crossings with countdowns.

Of course 20mph zones still need to be policed, and late last year we reported a crackdown in Oxford, where up till recently police only issued tickets to drivers doing more than 32mph in 20mph zones, but was dropped to 24mph under new guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The changes mean drivers pinged doing between 24 and 31mph would be offered the choice of £100 fine and three licence points, or a £95 speed awareness course and no points.

Between 31mph and 34mph they could be fined and over 35mph could find themselves in court.

30 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

The revenue from Addison Lee drivers alone will build a 100'-high solid gold statue of Boris on a zipwire.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [629 posts]
13th April 2014 - 17:21

64 Likes

20 mph zone yipee great IF and only IF it is policed, which given the budget restrictions etc etc

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
13th April 2014 - 17:43

31 Likes

the speed limit on the Embankment is 30? Who knew!

posted by mulgabill [10 posts]
13th April 2014 - 17:44

26 Likes

Brilliant if enforced. I can't think of any borough in London that has ever bothered.

Pretty much zero impact on traffic, except to stop drives sprinting between lights. The LTDA are probably trying to work out whether to hate it or love it ("sorry guv'nor, this is as fast as I can go. It's the new speed limit, all the fault of them cyclists/immigrants/minicabs.").

posted by bikebot [789 posts]
13th April 2014 - 18:44

42 Likes

I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

I think you know the answer.

Surely they can make speed cameras the size of mobile phones and costing the same, solar or grid powered, uploading via 3g, using GPS for timing accuracy.

posted by kie7077 [567 posts]
13th April 2014 - 19:02

26 Likes

20mph, I ride faster than this, so not good.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [494 posts]
13th April 2014 - 20:03

15 Likes

Airzound wrote:
20mph, I ride faster than this, so not good.

Won't make the blindest bit of difference. Most of the time the traffic struggles to reach 20mph anyway and I'm willing to bet it won't be policed either - unless they have a couple of their well-publicised "crackdowns".

I doubt as a cyclist you'll notice any change.

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
13th April 2014 - 20:13

35 Likes

kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

I think you know the answer.

Ditto. This morning. Coming down Haverstock Hill - which is actually already a 20 mph zone.

Totally meaningless without policing.

Username's picture

posted by Username [82 posts]
13th April 2014 - 20:28

16 Likes

KiwiMike wrote:
The revenue from Addison Lee drivers alone will build a 100'-high solid gold statue of Boris on a zipwire.

Boris has nothing to do with the City. It's not a London borough, it's not even part of the UK. It's a private corporation with its own laws outside those of England. It's like the Vatican.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

Sanderville's picture

posted by Sanderville [229 posts]
13th April 2014 - 20:50

26 Likes

My commute takes me across London Bridge, and then up King William Street and along Cheapside/Poultry.

And I can tell you now that this speed limit will be completely disregarded.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 6:49

19 Likes

Sanderville wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:
The revenue from Addison Lee drivers alone will build a 100'-high solid gold statue of Boris on a zipwire.

Boris has nothing to do with the City. It's not a London borough, it's not even part of the UK. It's a private corporation with its own laws outside those of England. It's like the Vatican.

Boris runs the Vatican? Really?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [629 posts]
14th April 2014 - 7:36

11 Likes

Shouldn't make any difference to cyclists - speed limits don't apply unless there's a specific bylaw in place, like Richmond Park

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [181 posts]
14th April 2014 - 8:05

31 Likes

kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

Neither. Drivers MUST get in front of the bike so they overtook you. Right? That's what happens everywhere else.

posted by johndonnelly [37 posts]
14th April 2014 - 8:31

17 Likes

johndonnelly wrote:
kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

Neither. Drivers MUST get in front of the bike so they overtook you. Right? That's what happens everywhere else.

No, not everywhere else. Maybe everywhere else in London - I don't know as I don't live there. But not all drivers are twats. In my experience, about 40% are, and the rest are OK. I was marshalling a TT yesterday, and a lorry stopped to ask me if there were a lot more bikes, and when I said there would be he said 'ok i'll go back a different way.' So credit where its due.

posted by edster99 [207 posts]
14th April 2014 - 8:50

32 Likes

johndonnelly wrote:
kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

Neither. Drivers MUST get in front of the bike so they overtook you. Right? That's what happens everywhere else.

Last year, I was in e-mail correspondence with a middle-ranking officer from the City of London police. That exchange had started one day when I stopped at a traffic light next to one of their officers on a bicycle, and asked him if there was any particular reason why he wasn't about to nick the van driver who had rolled nonchalantly into the ASL right behind us. 'Oh no,' he had replied. 'I can only give him a FPN if I actually see him enter the ASL..'

Of course.

Anyway, I got into correspondence with one of his bosses, and at one point, faced with my exasperation at the number of car drivers, van drivers and yes, cyclists, who were basically sticking their two fingers up at the law on a daily basis, he told me that an 'operation' was being planned for September, to target just such delinquents.

'Why do you need "an operation"?' I asked. 'Why not just tell your officers to nick everyone they see going through a red light?'

I never got an answer to that one.

Anyway, the 'operation' went ahead, and I did notice an increase in the number of people getting tickets. And yes, I also did notice a slight decrease in the number of f*ckwits on two wheels and four, who apparently believed that the rules of the road only applied to others.

It was short-lived. Now, we're back to normality. ASLs are routinely ignored, pavements are 'supplementary cycle lanes', bicycle lanes are 'free parking' for vans and cars, amber means 'GO' and red means 'It's your call, man'.

And so it will be with this new speed 'limit'. It's a waste of time, and it makes us the laughing stock of the world. Because if a law isn't applied and enforced, then the whole law is brought into disrepute.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:03

37 Likes

edster99 wrote:
johndonnelly wrote:
kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

Neither. Drivers MUST get in front of the bike so they overtook you. Right? That's what happens everywhere else.

No, not everywhere else. Maybe everywhere else in London - I don't know as I don't live there. But not all drivers are twats. In my experience, about 40% are, and the rest are OK. I was marshalling a TT yesterday, and a lorry stopped to ask me if there were a lot more bikes, and when I said there would be he said 'ok i'll go back a different way.' So credit where its due.

It's certainly the case here in London and the rest of the SE. I estimate that no more than 5% of drivers should be on the road. 100% of male drivers under the age of thirty should have their licence taken off them.

Cycling is important enough to me, that this has made me decide to leave the country. I hope to spend this Christmas in Amsterdam.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:10

14 Likes

Airzound wrote:
20mph, I ride faster than this, so not good.

You have nothing to worry about, speed limits do not apply to bicycle riders.

posted by northstar [1110 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:13

24 Likes

Agree with both edster99 and cyclingDMlondon above.

I ride in London all the time, but rarely in the centre of town during working hours. The difference in driver attitude from the centre at rush hour, to outer London during quieter hours of the day is pretty extreme.

Once you take drivers away from the congestion and stress they're markedly more relaxed. That's probably true of my own driving, I hate having to use the car when the roads are busy. That's also why you need enforcement to target the problem where it's worst.

posted by bikebot [789 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:19

16 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
100% of male drivers under the age of thirty should have their licence taken off them.

In my experience it's middle-aged and old-aged drivers who are the most dangerous on the roads, due to a combination of poor uncorrected eyesight, slow reactions, the fact that they always seem to be mouth-frothingly angry about something or other, and a general "holier-than-thou" attitude.

posted by srchar [60 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:24

19 Likes

bikebot wrote:
Agree with both edster99 and cyclingDMlondon above.

I ride in London all the time, but rarely in the centre of town during working hours. The difference in driver attitude from the centre at rush hour, to outer London during quieter hours of the day is pretty extreme.

Once you take drivers away from the congestion and stress they're markedly more relaxed. That's probably true of my own driving, I hate having to use the car when the roads are busy. That's also why you need enforcement to target the problem where it's worst.

I actually find the Square Mile a bit more bearable, but I do not believe that this has anything to do with its drivers being more 'considerate', but rather, the roads are so busy and so (relatively) narrow that they just can't drive as fast.

Out where we live, on the border with Kent, the aggression shown by virtually all drivers, is terrifying. They could not make it plainer that we are simply not welcome on 'their' roads, and that if it means injuring or killing us to get us off the road, then that's just too effing bad.

'We don't want cyclists on our roads. What part of that is causing you problems? You slow us down, you're a hindrance, and an annoyance. Fuck off and die already, is that clear enough for you?'

I firmly believe that well over half of the 'accidental' death of cyclists in the South East of England, are murder.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:29

24 Likes

kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

I think you know the answer.

Surely they can make speed cameras the size of mobile phones and costing the same, solar or grid powered, uploading via 3g, using GPS for timing accuracy.

*rubs thumb, index and middle finger together*

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:40

14 Likes

srchar wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:
100% of male drivers under the age of thirty should have their licence taken off them.

In my experience it's middle-aged and old-aged drivers who are the most dangerous on the roads, due to a combination of poor uncorrected eyesight, slow reactions, the fact that they always seem to be mouth-frothingly angry about something or other, and a general "holier-than-thou" attitude.

Fair point, but they don't have the same naked aggression of the younger, SE London male. And I don't know how many of them are tooled up, but I suspect it's more than half.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 9:43

25 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Out where we live, on the border with Kent, the aggression shown by virtually all drivers, is terrifying. They could not make it plainer that we are simply not welcome on 'their' roads, and that if it means injuring or killing us to get us off the road, then that's just too effing bad.

I've heard that before, about the towns on the Kent border. It's similar in a lot of the Essex/London border as well. These are the homelands of what van man, or what used to be called Mondeo man (now more likely to be Audi or BMW sales type).

There's a lot of variation. Enforcement needs to target the problems and where they are worst.

posted by bikebot [789 posts]
14th April 2014 - 10:08

14 Likes

bikebot wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Out where we live, on the border with Kent, the aggression shown by virtually all drivers, is terrifying. They could not make it plainer that we are simply not welcome on 'their' roads, and that if it means injuring or killing us to get us off the road, then that's just too effing bad.

I've heard that before, about the towns on the Kent border. It's similar in a lot of the Essex/London border as well. These are the homelands of what van man, or what used to be called Mondeo man (now more likely to be Audi or BMW sales type).

There's a lot of variation. Enforcement needs to target the problems and where they are worst.

What needs to be changed is for anyone who injures or kills another road user whilst in control of a vehicle, will de facto be considered to have acted with intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm. As such, the onus to disprove such intent will be placed onto the defence. Failure to rebut this assumption will result in a conviction for murder.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 10:22

15 Likes

kie7077 wrote:
I was whizzing down the road at up to 41mph, did the car behind stick to 30mph or did they stick behind me.

I think you know the answer.

Surely they can make speed cameras the size of mobile phones and costing the same, solar or grid powered, uploading via 3g, using GPS for timing accuracy.

Through Greenwich Park from Blackheath, you have the lovely big hill down to the National Maritime Museum. The entire park is limited to 20 mph for motorized traffic, and by coincidence, if I coast down that hill (with my 6'3" frame and bike panniers no doubt acting as a 'brake'), I 'peak' at 19.9 mph (EDIT: I know this, because there's a Garmin Edge on my bars).

And guess what. Yep - they have to pass me.

They might get past me and then sit at 20 mph, but that's not important.

Must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, must pass the cyclist, ..................

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 10:40

18 Likes

@cyclingDMlondon

had a number of similiar exchanges with Met Police

LB of Camden moved to borough wide 20mph speed limit last year.

Camden borough Police commander admitted in an interview with the local paper (Camden New Journal) he does not have the resources to police this speed limit

rarely see any Police on the street in London, only when rushing to emergencies.

frequently see all road users (private vehicles, public vehicles, goods vehicles, motorbikes and pedal cyclists) ignoring ASL, red lights, give way junctions, pedestrian crossings, speeding, cyclists on pavements, cyclists going against 1 way traffic, cyclists going through groups of pedestrians on crossings, etc.

the ASL's are a real joke, motor vehicles even Police regularly stop in them, even when cyclists are present

Road policing in London is a joke, and seems to have gotten worse in past few years (I've been commuting by bike for 15+ year in London). Leads to a general sense of lawlessness, and people soon realise this.

Most effective thing that could be done is TFL's current move to have the Government decriminalise the ASL, so they can move to making ASL infringement a civil offence triggered by installation of cameras. At the moment it has to be witnessed by a Police Officer, which means there is no enforcement unless they are doing a "special PR operation".

Nothing like hitting people in the wallet, to change their behaviour.

posted by hampstead_bandit [225 posts]
14th April 2014 - 12:08

20 Likes

Never mind whether the limit is 20mph or 30mph.

Never mind whether the limit will be enforced.

Never mind whether any limit applies to cyclists.

Accidents between road users in London do not happen on straight roads. Statistics show overwhelmingly that they happen at junctions, between HGVs/buses and cyclists. THAT is the issue that this pointless "rearranging of the deckchairs" completely and catastrophically ignores.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [958 posts]
14th April 2014 - 13:41

21 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
Never mind whether the limit is 20mph or 30mph.

Never mind whether the limit will be enforced.

Never mind whether any limit applies to cyclists.

Accidents between road users in London do not happen on straight roads. Statistics show overwhelmingly that they happen at junctions, between HGVs/buses and cyclists. THAT is the issue that this pointless "rearranging of the deckchairs" completely and catastrophically ignores.

That may be so, but that's not what will kill any of us that actually know how to ride safely/defensively etc.

Education is what's needed to stop the HGV squishing a cyclist while doing a left turn... and better mirrors as a legal requirement.

posted by kie7077 [567 posts]
14th April 2014 - 13:50

9 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
100% of male drivers under the age of thirty should have their licence taken off them.

Either you're not a very good troll, or you're not very intelligent. Thinking

posted by merckxissimo [59 posts]
14th April 2014 - 14:11

14 Likes

merckxissimo wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:
100% of male drivers under the age of thirty should have their licence taken off them.

Either you're not a very good troll, or you're not very intelligent. Thinking

Well, if I were a troll, I would have succeeded, because you answered me.

And an opinion does not denote either high or low intelligence.

You're welcome.

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons' (Douglas MacArthur)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [267 posts]
14th April 2014 - 14:49

8 Likes