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Holyrood will vote on bill for lower speed limts in the New Year

Cycling UK has thrown its support behind a bill from a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) calling for 20 miles an hour to become the default speed limit in urban areas in the country.

A vote on the bill, introduced by Mark Ruskell, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife for the Scottish Green Party, will take place at Holyrood in the New Year.

So far, 20 of the 128 MSPs entitled to vote have pledged their backing to The Proposed Restricted Roads (20mph Limit) (Scotland) Bill.

The charity is now calling on members across the country, and in particular those from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, neither of which has endorsed it, to give their backing to the proposals.

Local authorities in Scotland would be able to set higher speed limits on arterial roads, but Cycling UK says the lower speed limits on other urban roads would mean safer streets and reduced air pollution.

Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, said: "The adoption of 20mph as the default speed limit in urban and residential areas across Scotland is the opportunity to redefine the spaces between our homes, changing them from 'roads' to 'streets'.

“With lower speeds, dangerous thoroughfares become public spaces where it’s easier to walk, cycle, socialise and play. We support Mark Ruskell’s 20mph bill and would encourage Scotland’s MSPs to lend their weight to it in advance of the vote next year.”

Suzanne Forup, the charity’s head of development for Scotland, commented: “The Scottish Government’s recent doubling of the active travel budget will help more people to walk and cycle for everyday trips, and Cycling UK believes that the adoption of 20mph speed limits in our urban areas will support the Scottish Government’s welcome investment in active travel.

We are urging Cycling UK members to contact their MSPs and ask them to support the 20mph bill, so that lower urban speeds are the norm, our streets become safer and more people choose to cycle.”

In July, the charity IAM RoadSmart said that signs denoting 20mph zones were not enough to deter drivers from speeding and called for greater enforcement of the speed limit after government statistics showed that in 2016, four in five motorists failed to comply with it.

> 20mph speed limits ignored by four in five drivers

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.

25 comments

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asdfqwerty [33 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

...because the 30mph limits are working so well.

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PRSboy [141 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Careful what you wish for... speed limits could well be extended to cycles in the fullness of time, in the so-called Cycle Safety Review.

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HLaB [164 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Whilst for me a blanket 20mph would be a good thing, I think it would largely be ignored by drivers and fustrate them leading them to treat the existing 20mph zones in residenial areas etc as the same as spine roads and speed through them sad

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shufflingb [27 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Sure most drivers will go a little faster, at least though they will be driving at 20mph plus rather than the 30mph plus they do now.  Given public health and pollution it seems eminently sensible to create roads that are (by default) more encouraging to cycling and pedestrians .

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Bluebug [271 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
HLaB wrote:

Whilst for me a blanket 20mph would be a good thing, I think it would largely be ignored by drivers and fustrate them leading them to treat the existing 20mph zones in residenial areas etc as the same as spine roads and speed through them sad

It will be ignored because simply painting 20  in a circle and putting 20 signs on posts on a wide straight road doesn't work.

Councils spend loads of money in traffic calming measures like painting 20  everywhere, puttting 20 signs up, road humps and cicanes but none of it works.  If instead they widened the pavement and put in a decent kerb, removed the central white line and if necessary used parked vehicles e.g. paint in parking spaces then the road naturally has a lower speed limit of 20mph or even less.  This is self-enforcing road design and doesn't need to be policed.  

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Yorkshire wallet [1632 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
HLaB wrote:

Whilst for me a blanket 20mph would be a good thing, I think it would largely be ignored by drivers and fustrate them leading them to treat the existing 20mph zones in residenial areas etc as the same as spine roads and speed through them sad

It would probably largely be ignored by chain-gangs of club cyclists shouting "pothole" as well. 

Someone from works lives on large hill and says he's regularly (in his car) overtaken by a cyclist doing way over the 30 limit. I doubt he'll slow down for 20. 

My wife is always telling me cyclists go to fast through our town, even though they're probably under 30. God knows what people will think if it ever becomes a 20. 

 

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carytb [124 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

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fenix [866 posts] 1 month ago
11 likes
carytb wrote:

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

How do you drive at 30 then ??

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burtthebike [1274 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

This should be supported by all cyclists.  We hear quite enough moaning about how dangerous the roads are, and here is something which will make it safer, so why isn't everyone supporting it?

It could be argued that 20mph is still too high, given that in Holland, the limit in woonerfs is 20kph or 12mph, but this would still be a significant step.

I live in a city where most of the residential roads are 20mph, Bristol, and the change has had an effect.  OK, not everyone obeys the limit, but most drivers do slow down, and when I drive now, 30mph feels quite fast.

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stephen ashforth [6 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I live in Edinburgh where the majority of roads are now 20mph.  My part of town went over to 20mph in August and my gut feel is that people are driving a little slower but nowhere near the speed limit.  Whether the roads are any safer is debatable though as a number of drivers who don't give a monkeys about the new limit are driving more erratically, if anything, as a result of their frustration at drivers who are driving too slowly i.e. close to 20mph.

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grumpyoldcyclist [57 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
carytb wrote:

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

For heavens sake it's a limit, not a target. Drive at 17 mph to give yourself a margin. As a cyclist / pedestrian / resident you should be supporting this, oh, you are a cyclist aren't you?

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Ottadini [18 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Couple of clarifications here. The Bill won't appear for a few months and will be voted on later in 2018.

It would create a change in the default limit on streetlit roads to 20 mph, however councils would still have the power to keep key arterial roads as 30 mph. So it's not a blanket approach.

When 20 zones started appearing they were the exception, but now in a number of areas such as Edinburgh and Fife they are the rule in residential areas where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists.

A national switch in the default limit would be a lot simpler for councils to put in place rather than creating endless Traffic Regulation Orders to establish a patchwork of 20 zones.

Investment in road infrastructure may still be needed on streets where speeds remain stubbornly high including enforcement measures such as speed activated signage and average speed cameras.

However there are advantages in having a national roll out with a national awarenesss campaign that the Police and councils can be part of.

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DaveE128 [970 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes
carytb wrote:

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

My driving instructor once said to me something along the lines of "any idiot can drive fast. Driving slowly is what takes time to learn."

Perhaps you need some more lessons?

Try this if you find staying alert difficult: https://www.drivingtesttips.biz/commentary-driving.html

It isn't actually that hard. You regularly check your speedo as part of your regular cycle checking mirrors, different parts of the road and pavements for hazards, etc. Use the sound of the car to judge changes in speed in between. Believe it or not, when driving you aren't mean to just stare at the car/space directly in front of you.

Your car may well have a speed limiter you can set if you can't manage it yourself.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1137 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

The sick thing is that if motorists and roadplanners were all doing what they should do 20mph zones wouldn't be needed.

Was driving on two seperate trips in France this year and strangely sticking to 30km/h even with an indicator that highlights mph wasn't hard without losing focus of what is around you, just like sticking to any speed limit.

 

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hawkinspeter [1209 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I'd much rather have the 20mph limit and it be ignored than not have it at all. Yes, most drivers will be going 30-40mph, but it provides an extra tool for police to use at particularly dangerous points. Also, it makes it easier to prove guilt/responsibility in collisions with other road users. You can almost think of it as presumed liability if all the motorists are going more than 20.

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Sniffer [456 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
PRSboy wrote:

Careful what you wish for... speed limits could well be extended to cycles in the fullness of time, in the so-called Cycle Safety Review.

There isn’t such a Review going on that will apply to Scotland, the only place this vote would affect.

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ajuk.uk@gmail.com [9 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'd much rather have the 20mph limit and it be ignored than not have it at all. Yes, most drivers will be going 30-40mph, but it provides an extra tool for police to use at particularly dangerous points. Also, it makes it easier to prove guilt/responsibility in collisions with other road users. You can almost think of it as presumed liability if all the motorists are going more than 20.

 

So the issue you have is with people going 30+ so you think the government should put the prohibition on people going well below 30 right down into the low 20s, regardless of conditions?
Let's be clear, what's being tabled here isn't prohibition on 30+ more it's people who already have a tendancy to drive below the current speed limit, in many cases significatly so.
People who drive like morons do not drive X amount above the posted limit, no study has every concluded that, and if your Granny told you that, then sorry to break it to you but that's bull.

And it's the opposite effect of what you think the speed limit is NOT TRAFFIC CALMING.
Dropping speed limits don't do something about speeding, they create more of it, so much more the Police can't handle it or just aren't interested, let me explain.
Speed limits are normally based on measurements of what the majority of motorist drive at along a road, this is based on the idea that the majority of motorists tend to have an aversion to having crashes or running people over.

It's an absolute legal maximum, it's it's not advisory as to the speed you should go, they're there to single out a small number of drivers who seek to drive in a manner that disregards both their own and other people's safety basically by putting their foot down that gives meaning to the word "speeding". If it's some speed that's easily obtainable it starts to lose that meaning.

As the speed limit cannot  vary according to conditions they should be set to assume conditions are ideal, this is important because you can't alter them according to conditions, so you need to assume the conditions are dry there is a good line of sight and that there aren't an excess or pedestrians around or cars lining the road etc, most of these factors will cause competent drivers to slow down intuitively. If you assume they're mostly incompetent then I don't understand why you would think putting signs up will help. Also if you treat people like they're incompetent than don't be surprised if they start acting incompetently.
It should not be counterintuitive to do the speed limit, that makes it a distraction, it should be counterintuitive to exceed it.

So, really the speed limit should be slightly higher than what is intuitively safe for most drivers to drive at most of the time. That is also why you will find where speed limits seem generous actual speeds aren't, and the compliance tends to be very high (a local 40mph road to me has an average speed of 31mph and a compliance rate of 97%!) and that means law enforcement can concentrate on a small number of violators, you can't do that if the limit is set below the mean average it just cannot be done.

If the speed limit is set artificially low (significantly below the 85th percentile) it either becomes a target or people don't tend to take it seriously it often comes across as wrong, counterintuitve and/or contemptuious and it increasingly doesn't match the standard of the road and in many cases the road will have been engineered with a higher speed limit in mind and hasn't been altered,  you end up with non-compliance rates well over 90% and average speeds well over the limit which makes it difficult for police to single the right people out, and you really can't rely on increased enforment as properly set speed limits are meant to be "largly self-enforcing".
Also dropping the speed limits can in some cases cause speeds to increase as drivers are more likely to obey a speed limit they perceive as reasonable rather than flat out ignoring it, so in some cases, a speed limit set really low is about as effective as not having a speed limit, it tends to be the higher standard of roads where this can happen, and yes it has also been known for average speeds to drop slightly after the limit has been raised, although that's nothing compared to the drop you get in non-compliance.

To cap it all as people who live along a road often greatly overestimate what effect dropping the speed limit has on actual traffic speeds, cyclists and pedestrians are being told to expect traffic to be going significantly slower than it is, you actually want people to expect most traffic to be going faster than it is.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1934 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
ajuk.uk [at] gmail.com wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'd much rather have the 20mph limit and it be ignored than not have it at all. Yes, most drivers will be going 30-40mph, but it provides an extra tool for police to use at particularly dangerous points. Also, it makes it easier to prove guilt/responsibility in collisions with other road users. You can almost think of it as presumed liability if all the motorists are going more than 20.

 

So the issue you have is with people going 30+ so you think the government should put the prohibition on people going well below 30 right down into the low 20s, regardless of conditions?
Let's be clear, what's being tabled here isn't prohibition on 30+ more it's people who already have a tendancy to drive below the current speed limit, in many cases significatly so.
People who drive like morons do not drive X amount above the posted limit, no study has every concluded that, and if your Granny told you that, then sorry to break it to you but that's bull.

And it's the opposite effect of what you think the speed limit is NOT TRAFFIC CALMING.
Dropping speed limits don't do something about speeding, they create more of it, so much more the Police can't handle it or just aren't interested, let me explain.
Speed limits are normally based on measurements of what the majority of motorist drive at along a road, this is based on the idea that the majority of motorists tend to have an aversion to having crashes or running people over.

It's an absolute legal maximum, it's it's not advisory as to the speed you should go, they're there to single out a small number of drivers who seek to drive in a manner that disregards both their own and other people's safety basically by putting their foot down that gives meaning to the word "speeding". If it's some speed that's easily obtainable it starts to lose that meaning.

As the speed limit cannot  vary according to conditions they should be set to assume conditions are ideal, this is important because you can't alter them according to conditions, so you need to assume the conditions are dry there is a good line of sight and that there aren't an excess or pedestrians around or cars lining the road etc, most of these factors will cause competent drivers to slow down intuitively. If you assume they're mostly incompetent then I don't understand why you would think putting signs up will help. Also if you treat people like they're incompetent than don't be surprised if they start acting incompetently.
It should not be counterintuitive to do the speed limit, that makes it a distraction, it should be counterintuitive to exceed it.

So, really the speed limit should be slightly higher than what is intuitively safe for most drivers to drive at most of the time. That is also why you will find where speed limits seem generous actual speeds aren't, and the compliance tends to be very high (a local 40mph road to me has an average speed of 31mph and a compliance rate of 97%!) and that means law enforcement can concentrate on a small number of violators, you can't do that if the limit is set below the mean average it just cannot be done.

If the speed limit is set artificially low (significantly below the 85th percentile) it either becomes a target or people don't tend to take it seriously it often comes across as wrong, counterintuitve and/or contemptuious and it increasingly doesn't match the standard of the road and in many cases the road will have been engineered with a higher speed limit in mind and hasn't been altered,  you end up with non-compliance rates well over 90% and average speeds well over the limit which makes it difficult for police to single the right people out, and you really can't rely on increased enforment as properly set speed limits are meant to be "largly self-enforcing".
Also dropping the speed limits can in some cases cause speeds to increase as drivers are more likely to obey a speed limit they perceive as reasonable rather than flat out ignoring it, so in some cases, a speed limit set really low is about as effective as not having a speed limit, it tends to be the higher standard of roads where this can happen, and yes it has also been known for average speeds to drop slightly after the limit has been raised, although that's nothing compared to the drop you get in non-compliance.

To cap it all as people who live along a road often greatly overestimate what effect dropping the speed limit has on actual traffic speeds, cyclists and pedestrians are being told to expect traffic to be going significantly slower than it is, you actually want people to expect most traffic to be going faster than it is.

 

 

I keep hearing this pseudo-scientific argument and it seems like nonsense to me.  I suspect its carefully-constructed nonsense to provide cover for motorists who just want to be able to drive through other peolple's streets as fast as they feel like.

 

The flaw in your reasoning is your claim about 'what is intuitively safe for drivers'.  What is 'intuitively safe for drivers' is generally not safe (or pleasant, or desirable) for those who are not drivers, those outside vehicles, because drivers' intuition primarily relates to their own safety (and convenience, and general well-being), not to anyone else's.  The effect of excessive speed on pedestrians and cyclists and people living in the area is not fully factored in to that intuition.

 

  The point of having laws and a state, is because people need to be required to consider the effect of their actions on others, not just themselves.  Therefore leaving it entirely to drivers' intuition is an abnegation of the state's role.

 

Do you apply this to all other behaviours?  Should burglars should be allowed to burgle as many homes as they consider appropriate for their own well-being?  Or should other affected parties have a say in the matter?
 

 

It's true though that speed limits are a limited instrument, and what is really needed is changes to the physical road environment to make high speeds impractical and/or unpleasant for the driver.  One thing that irritates me are the urban roads with unnecessary motorway-slip-road style junctions, instead of right-angles, that require lower speeds.  Speed bumps seem OK to me, to an extent,  but choke-points seem not to work at all, as drivers speed up to try and beat cyclists to them or beat the traffic coming the other way.

But the idea that motorists are the best judges of the approrpriate speed (or the arbitrary '85% of motorists', which as far as I understand it, is just something some US highway department made up decades ago, and has no real scientific or moral basis) is absurd, and that people keep pushing this argument makes me suspect it's in bad faith, being just a cover for ABD style petrolheads.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [1209 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
ajuk.uk [at] gmail.com wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'd much rather have the 20mph limit and it be ignored than not have it at all. Yes, most drivers will be going 30-40mph, but it provides an extra tool for police to use at particularly dangerous points. Also, it makes it easier to prove guilt/responsibility in collisions with other road users. You can almost think of it as presumed liability if all the motorists are going more than 20.

 

So the issue you have is with people going 30+ so you think the government should put the prohibition on people going well below 30 right down into the low 20s, regardless of conditions?
Let's be clear, what's being tabled here isn't prohibition on 30+ more it's people who already have a tendancy to drive below the current speed limit, in many cases significatly so.
People who drive like morons do not drive X amount above the posted limit, no study has every concluded that, and if your Granny told you that, then sorry to break it to you but that's bull.

And it's the opposite effect of what you think the speed limit is NOT TRAFFIC CALMING.
Dropping speed limits don't do something about speeding, they create more of it, so much more the Police can't handle it or just aren't interested, let me explain.
Speed limits are normally based on measurements of what the majority of motorist drive at along a road, this is based on the idea that the majority of motorists tend to have an aversion to having crashes or running people over.

It's an absolute legal maximum, it's it's not advisory as to the speed you should go, they're there to single out a small number of drivers who seek to drive in a manner that disregards both their own and other people's safety basically by putting their foot down that gives meaning to the word "speeding". If it's some speed that's easily obtainable it starts to lose that meaning.

As the speed limit cannot  vary according to conditions they should be set to assume conditions are ideal, this is important because you can't alter them according to conditions, so you need to assume the conditions are dry there is a good line of sight and that there aren't an excess or pedestrians around or cars lining the road etc, most of these factors will cause competent drivers to slow down intuitively. If you assume they're mostly incompetent then I don't understand why you would think putting signs up will help. Also if you treat people like they're incompetent than don't be surprised if they start acting incompetently.
It should not be counterintuitive to do the speed limit, that makes it a distraction, it should be counterintuitive to exceed it.

So, really the speed limit should be slightly higher than what is intuitively safe for most drivers to drive at most of the time. That is also why you will find where speed limits seem generous actual speeds aren't, and the compliance tends to be very high (a local 40mph road to me has an average speed of 31mph and a compliance rate of 97%!) and that means law enforcement can concentrate on a small number of violators, you can't do that if the limit is set below the mean average it just cannot be done.

If the speed limit is set artificially low (significantly below the 85th percentile) it either becomes a target or people don't tend to take it seriously it often comes across as wrong, counterintuitve and/or contemptuious and it increasingly doesn't match the standard of the road and in many cases the road will have been engineered with a higher speed limit in mind and hasn't been altered,  you end up with non-compliance rates well over 90% and average speeds well over the limit which makes it difficult for police to single the right people out, and you really can't rely on increased enforment as properly set speed limits are meant to be "largly self-enforcing".
Also dropping the speed limits can in some cases cause speeds to increase as drivers are more likely to obey a speed limit they perceive as reasonable rather than flat out ignoring it, so in some cases, a speed limit set really low is about as effective as not having a speed limit, it tends to be the higher standard of roads where this can happen, and yes it has also been known for average speeds to drop slightly after the limit has been raised, although that's nothing compared to the drop you get in non-compliance.

To cap it all as people who live along a road often greatly overestimate what effect dropping the speed limit has on actual traffic speeds, cyclists and pedestrians are being told to expect traffic to be going significantly slower than it is, you actually want people to expect most traffic to be going faster than it is.

In my experience, most drivers in urban areas will exceed speed limits if at all possible regardless of conditions. The evidence suggests that introducing 20mph speed limits reduces average speeds by about 1mph, so the limits don't have a huge effect on drivers' behaviour (they don't lead to an increase in average speeds as you think).

I don't quite understand your bit about roads being engineered for the speeds as most roads I use (in Bristol) have existed since before cars. I agree about faster speeds not necessarily being associated with dangerous drivers, but it's the easiest metric to measure and reducing speed certainly reduces the kinetic energy released in collisions.

Even though Avon and Somerset police have more or less declared that they're not enforcing the 20mph limits, I still think it's been successful in altering people's perceptions of the appropriate speeds for the roads. The average speed drop of 1mph is probably more significant than you might think as Bristol traffic tends to crawl along slower than 20mph during peak times.

I don't agree with your point about enforcement - it's trivial to stick up a speed camera and catch lots of drivers breaking the speed limit. It's usually more a political decision to not harass the poor motons.

One other side effect of reducing average road vehicle speeds is to encourage people to use other transport options for short journeys. As a society, we need to be getting more exercise, so anything that encourages people to walk/cycle/skate to the shops is a good thing.

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ajuk.uk@gmail.com [9 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

 I suspect its carefully-constructed nonsense to provide cover for motorists who just want to be able to drive through other peolple's streets as fast as they feel like.

 

The flaw in your reasoning is your claim about 'what is intuitively safe for drivers'.  What is 'intuitively safe for drivers' is generally not safe (or pleasant, or desirable) for those who are not drivers, those outside vehicles, because drivers' intuition primarily relates to their own safety (and convenience, and general well-being), not to anyone else's.  The effect of excessive speed on pedestrians and cyclists and people living in the area is not fully factored into that intuition.

No, I quite genuinely think there are safety issues  related to setting speed limits incorrectly especially as people  who live along roads tend to massively overestimate what difference dropping the speed limit has on actual traffic speeds, I used to have the same belief before I did some research on speed limits, even recently I have had some data from near to me that has still managed to surprise me, an urban road with a 30mph speed limit having a 3mph faster average speed than another urban 40 limit road very near to it.

As to your second point, I think that goes back to what I said about showing contempt for the ability of the majority of drivers to drive at a speed safe for the conditions and at the same expecting slower posted speed limits to have an effect on those people, in fact it's the people who cannot do that who are amongst the least likely to obey slower posted limits. 

Speed bumps work at bringing down speeds, but you're more likely to die because they held up an emergency vehicle, they also help increase pollution.

As for your analogy to burglary if you legalised it most people wouldn't suddenly go around burgling people, same if you scrapped the 30mph speed limit tomorrow hardly anyone would go faster just because they can, that's why it was chosen.
If you don't believe me go to any of the many small villages that have no repeaters or street lights and essentially have no speed limit (well it's 60 but you couldn't go that fast if you tried) with a speed gun hide, and see how fast people are going.

hawkinspeter wrote:

In my experience, most drivers in urban areas will exceed speed limits if at all possible regardless of conditions. The evidence suggests that introducing 20mph speed limits reduces average speeds by about 1mph, so the limits don't have a huge effect on drivers' behaviour (they don't lead to an increase in average speeds as you think)...

So people exceed speed limits, so why should drop the speed limit, we're back to that again? Also, I never said they increase driver speeds normally, I said it's been known to happen on some roads and vice versa.

You have to remember that's a 1mph drop is for a 10mph drop in what pedestrians are being told to expect traffic to be going a maximum of and I think it was less than 1mph and I think a drop of 1-2mph was their optimistic prediction, but there has been a slight drop of "almost 0.5mph" and they seem happy about that even though average speeds on many roads are now well over the speed limit, which shows me they're happy to perverse the purpose of speed limits and aren't even prepared to pretend otherwise.
Also, it's free-flowing traffic speeds that they measured. However, that still not the full story because it's people who drive the fastest who are most likely to speed up when the limit is lowered, the very people who it's now increasingly difficult for the police to target.

The police really can't single out nutters is the water is muddied like that, you really shouldn't have average speeds over the limit.
As for my point about engineering, some roads may have been engineered for it with a limit in mind, others may have been by chance built to a width and standard that allowed for it.
 

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BehindTheBikesheds [1137 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Motorists who set speed limits for other motorists based on what they think is an intuitively safe speed in BEST CONDITIONS has proven for over a century to be complete and utter bollocks.

This goes back as far as the Motor Car Act of 1903 when the AA and others decided that 25mph was just about acceptable, they had wanted unlimited speed for all roads in all conditions, frankly given what we have nowadays with modern motors it's pretty much this for far too many. This was raised from 14mph which was set under the Locomotives on Highways Act of 1896.

You say you can't have different limits for different conditions, the French do at least, if we have rain sensors in cars and computers that can know where they are and thus know the maximum limit then it should be simple to get them set automatically not to exceed a poor weather or reduced visibility limit on any road at any time of day or night.

Far too often I've read I was only doing x speed (which was below the limit) and yet they managed to kill someone, the motorcentric police, judiciary and motorcentric public all too often then don't see this as a contributing factor/not considered excessive speed and yet again a killer gets off without even a slap on the wrist.

As I said, if motorists and planners were doing what they should we wouldn't need limits, people would drive in a manner that considered their responsibility to keep others safe at all times and to be unselfish, to read and understand the hazard they present to others (The others and the hazard as per the way driving tests/instruction make it out to be) well in advance of getting to it (so going much slower gives you more time to assess and take action).

Planners would design the layout of our towns and cities and through roads through villages so that the vulnerable have easier passage than those in a machine that is capable of killing and maiming readily, but the motorcentric won't have this, we see this failure of both motorists and planners every single fucking day at the cost of thousands of lives every year and tens of thousands of seriously injured.

Imposing lower limits than we have where there is direct interaction with vulnerble road users is imperitive and STRICT enforcement of such even more crucial, too many humans beings are selfish crunts, aren't capable of or can't be trusted to do the right thing and as we see will ignore the danger they present to others for the sake of a handful of seconds which ends up costing lives.

Design motors that are going to go much slower around towns and cities and residential areas (with a top speed of 70mph for all of them for motorway use) and vehicles may not need as much heavy protection all round (which induces greater risk taking as we know), won't need power steering, won't need ABS etc and thus the weight goes down, thus less energy from an impact and greater fuel economy whether that be from an ICE or EV. In fact take airbags and seatbelts away from motors and at first there might be a spike but I bet overall incidents will go down numerically

There are so many more potential positive impacts from lowering speed limits everywhere, if humans weren't so shit this wouldn't be needed.

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carytb [124 posts] 1 month ago
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fenix wrote:
carytb wrote:

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

How do you drive at 30 then ??

Quite easily actually

 

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FluffyKittenofT... [1934 posts] 1 month ago
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carytb wrote:
fenix wrote:
carytb wrote:

I'm sorry but the only way you can drive at 20mph consistantly is to be always looking at the speedo not at the road. Specific 20mph zones around schools for example - a good idea. A blanket 20mph limit - No.

 

How do you drive at 30 then ??

Quite easily actually

 

 

So you can do the same at 20 and your first point was nonsense?

 

I'm so tired of drivers who insist its somehow physically impossible for them to not be anti-social.  If you can't drive at 20 without 'always looking at the speedo not the road' then the anwer is obvious - don't drive, becuase you aren't any good at it.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1934 posts] 1 month ago
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ajuk.uk [at] gmail.com wrote:

 

As to your second point, I think that goes back to what I said about showing contempt for the ability of the majority of drivers to drive at a speed safe for the conditions and at the same expecting slower posted speed limits to have an effect on those people, in fact it's the people who cannot do that who are amongst the least likely to obey slower posted limits. 

 

 

This response sums up the fundamental problem with your views.  In your assumption that there is such a thing as a single 'safe speed for the conditions' and that for anyone to have different needs to those of motorists is 'showing contempt' for them, you reveal that you believe motorists should be given priority over everyone else. 

 

Different groups have different requirements, and what drivers consider 'safe' for their purposes is not what others consider safe.

 

  If its too fast for pedestrians or cyclists to feel comfortable around such traffic, then it's not 'safe' (not least because it will deter active travel and hence increase morbidity from inactivity and pollution - the effects of which are far greater than that of road traffic collisions, so absolutely need to be included in any measure of 'safety').

You don't seem to be able to get the point that drivers have a different collective self-interest and concept of 'safety' to those outside their vehicles.  Drivers are not the only people involved, their idea of what is a 'safe' speed 'for the conditions' is not likely to be right for anyone else or for the bigger picture.  

 

There is no right to drive, if motorists can't be persuaded to drive down a road at a speed acceptable to others, then they should be banned from that road entirely.

I accept that lower speed limits are in no way a game-changer, won't solve the real problem, and are potentially expensive to enforce, but the idea that they must be wrong because motorists feel they should drive faster is not really a convincing response, sorry.

 

Ideally I'd rather cars be banned entirely from many roads.  Lower speeds should really be enforced by measures like a combination of one-way systems and bollards blocking through roads, so that through-traffic is reduced and confined to a few major roads, which would tend to reduce speeds naturally. 

 

Most of all we just need fewer car journeys, at any speed, so greatly increasing VED. fuel tax and congestion charges would help as well.  A huge proportion of urban car travel is unnecessary and only happens becuase it's subsidised due the failure to interalise external costs.

Plus I don't see why we can't have lots more speed cameras - if motorists want to drive anti-socially fast through my neighbourhood then they can at least pay through the nose for it and reduce my council tax.

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ajuk.uk@gmail.com [9 posts] 3 weeks ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Motorists who set speed limits for other motorists based on what they think is an intuitively safe speed in BEST CONDITIONS has proven for over a century to be complete and utter bollocks

No, you're still getting me wrong, and I'm not suggesting there is any such thing as a safe speed.

Setting speed limits based on what the majority of motorist drive at has been known for a long time to be what works in setting speed limits that are respected and obeyed, I'm not saying that's right, it just is, it's also very much to do with my original point about speed limits not being traffic calming, the design of the road is the overwhelming factor in deciding what speed most people go. 
It's seems so  deeply ingrained in people that setting lower speed limits has some massive effect on traffic speeds. I've seen examples of people being told that the average speed along their road is slower than another road nearby with a slower speed limit and they've still responded by saying the speed limit should be cut, or my friend exclaiming that on 40 limit roads "most people"  will just go 50 while driving along a 40 limit road at 35mph along with everyone else on that road.

The more off-kilter the speed limit is with what people feel is obtainable the more likely it is to get ignored. If you run someone over going below the limit and you were deemed to have been going too fast for the conditions, you can still be charged with dangerous driving.
Of course, then there's the problem of increased pedestrian complacency associated with dropping the speed limit, I know of some quite generous 40mph speed limit roads that are still in existence,  if you actually hit someone full on at 40 that basically means death but they aren't constantly lined with dead bodies.
One reason is the average speed or even the 85th percentile speeds don't tend to be much higher if at all higher than other roads of a similar standard that have 30 limits or at least now have 30 limits, only difference the lack those signs, I have taught my niece are a good indicator that the road is particularly dangerous are 40mph repeaters.

I think most people do drive in a manner that is safe and responcible that's why many 30mph limit roads on ordinarty residential steets do have average speeds well under 30mph, also the 85th percentile is only on average about 15% faster than the mean average, that's how uniform people's speeds are,  I know the mean average is now allowed as the basis for setting speed limits in the guidline (I don't know why you would use the mean average as a basis for setting prohibitions on anything) but to ignore even that and set what ever speed limit you feel like really isn't clever the guidlines are not there for the fun of it. If you set the speed limit below the average speed and you force law enforcement to target normal driver behaviour, like that will somehow achieve something.
If you're advocating not using ANY average speed data as the basis of setting speed limits then you end up with the supermarket car park effect, when the speed limit just seems so far out it's seen as something stupid, you don't want that to happen, the speed limit is meant to be taken seriously, one road has already been measured at 97.5% non-compliance.

 

FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

...You don't seem to be able to get the point that drivers have a different collective self-interest and concept of 'safety' to those outside their vehicles.  Drivers are not the only people involved, their idea of what is a 'safe' speed 'for the conditions' is not likely to be right for anyone else or for the bigger picture.  ...

I think we'll have to disagree on that,
I think that goes back to showing contempt, and my original point about most drivers having a serious aversion to having crashes or running people over. When I was driving around an estate Hallowe'en, there must have been something wrong with me, the speed limit was 30 but I couldn't even manage 20, I was hovering around in the teens.

And the trouble is often contempt goes in contempt comes out, it's one of those self-fulfiling truths like asking a stupid question and getting a stupid answer, there's a lot of contempt for the behaviour of motorists in these forums, I see the same thing towards cyclists in motoring forums.  It's never helpful. And anyone would think Anyone would think from the responces in here you think I don't ride a bike I do,  I even ride clippless, it was my go to way to get around Bristol when I lived there this summer.

I think many are really not convinced the level to which speed limits don't do diddly to average speeds,  so look at some stats from South Gloucestershire, see how much better the discrepancy is on roads where the speed limit is more generous.