Mixed picture for 20mph zones across UK

Some councils pressing ahead, others need more persuasion

by Mark Appleton   January 27, 2011  

20 sign.jpg

Councils up and down the UK are beginning to come round to the idea of 20mph speed limits on city and residential streets, but there still remains some resistance to the idea.

All residential roads in Lancashire, however, will be subject to a blanket 20mph speed limit by 2013 if the County Council get its way, reports BBC News, Lancashire.

The move would be part of a £9m plan by the authority to reduce the number of road deaths and injuries in the county.

County councillor Tim Ashton, who is responsible for transport, said:
"I hope within a generation we will change hearts and minds - we must make people aware it's not right to speed in residential areas,"

"We're going to start outside schools, that's my main concern in the first year and we will roll it out to the other residential areas after that."

Meanwhile hopes for a blanket 20mph speed limit across York have suffered a setback after a senior councillor stated that the city would not be able to find the £1m needed to pay for the move this year, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Campaigners have already pointed out that a reduced speed limit could save many times the cost of its implementation, but Councillor Steve Galloway, executive member for city strategy, maintains that the council cannot afford it.

"I do not believe that we can spend up to a million pounds on a scheme like that", he told the Post.

"Most of our budget over the next year is already committed.

"We have consulted on a 20mph zone throughout the city and we have the results of that consultation."

While a final decision has not yet been made, the result appears to be a foregone conclusion as a council report into the 20mph zone is to be considered by Councillor Galloway next week before a final decision is expected to be made sometime around March.

Anna Semlyen, manager of the 20s Plenty campaign in York, told the Post: "This is too important to be brushed under the carpet.

"The longer we have to wait for this, the more children and adults will die on the roads unnecessarily.People want this and the statistics support this.

"It is not as if the accident rates are not costing us a lot of money now."

Councillor Dave Merrett, the York Labour Group's spokesman for city strategy, told the ‘paper: "There was extremely strong public support for a city-wide 20mph speed limit in residential areas because it is the right thing to do.

"We need to change hearts and minds along the lines of the 20s plenty campaign that is being adopted by a number of other urban areas if we are to make our streets safer places to be. Reducing the dominance of vehicles in our residential streets will make York a better place to live."

Meanwhile in Cardiff, the council has been told that 20mph zones are  'unpopular but work,' by a cycling strategist, reports the Guardian.

But city councillors have stated that a new cycle network proposed as part of a citywide plan, would need to meet the needs of pedestrians and motorists as well.

The Guardian reports that the five-year cycle plan proposes a 20mph zone for the city's Cathays district, and improved links for a core network of cycle routes across the city – with more than 100 schemes costing a total of £6.5m proposed to improve cycle routes across the city.

Andy Mayo, director of Local Transport Projects Ltd told a council committee:
"20mph zones work – it's not always popular but if properly designed and implemented well, it can be a marvellous tool to make it a more cycle friendly city."

Cathays councillor, Simon Pickard said: "From my point of view it's got to be that the strategy goes beyond a list of schemes and addresses the structural barriers that stop people cycling.

"The next stage for this plan should be to speak to councillors in their wards about their schemes and what residents are saying about them."

Elizabeth Clarke, also councillor for Cathays, said: "Many cars can't go over 20mph anyway. This needs to win over the hearts of people as there's a lot of conflict there – the city centre trial was dropped because it could not marry the needs of the community. I want this to work but there are so many issues I have with it."
 

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Here in Edinburgh, there has been a consultation for a wide scale 20 mph limit, but we are still waiting to hear what the council will actually do.

posted by Kim [131 posts]
27th January 2011 - 13:20

like this
Like (2)

We have a small localised 20mph limit. Does it make any difference at all? I would say that 20% of traffic respects it.

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [259 posts]
28th January 2011 - 13:12

like this
Like (2)

I think that the criticism of localised zones alotronic that they are neither respected or enforced while if you do it over a bigger scale there can be no excuse for not knowing you are in a 20mph zone nor for the police not to enforce it.

Here in Bath we have the even more useless advisory 20mph limits on some streets - had an argument with a driver a few months back and pointed out one of the reasons he nearly hit me was the inappropriate speed he was doing considering the posted limit "well it's only advisory" was his response.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
28th January 2011 - 14:32

like this
Like (3)

Bristol has two 20mph zones - both went in during 2010. Vehicle Activated Signs used as an enforcement measure - www.betterbybike.info/inner-east-bristol-20mph-speed-limit-comes-into-ef...

posted by billsdon [29 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:42

like this
Like (2)

I suppose it's too early yet to get a real indication of how they are doing? I'm a big fan of those types of signs, when they had them on the hill I climb at the start of my commute it noticeably slowed down drivers - then the council opted for a really stupid build solution which if my mrmo's pyramid is accurate & I'm sure it is ( posted in the comments on this story http://road.cc/content/news/30273-another-careless-driver-walks-free-aft...) will lead to the death or serious injury of a cyclist some time in the next year or so… I must have a near miss or minor incident on that section of road every other day which is a bit of a worry.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
28th January 2011 - 23:38

like this
Like (2)

AT some point the lazy council office workers will find time to post correct speed signs and correct distance sgns.

TOO often you see a 50 or 70mph sign with diagonal stripes through them indicating a lower speed is required but it is left to you to work out what is the new limit .

Classic sign in Watlington on finger board 6 1/4 mile to Oxford , go through the roundabout 1/2 mile later and you see a sign saying 7 miles.
On the German Autobann the distance to Karlsruhre starts around 300km reduces to about 150km and then shoots upto 235km , so it is a universal problem.

Saw a photo of myself in the search section in the Monaco suit but was unable to copy it , please email any photos to skippi@ausi.com as would like to use in the blogs. Recently Fatcyclist did a skiy on Mc Quaid and my comment attracted 14500 views , so you can imagine how many look at the blog each time he posts.

Politicians need to realise that Cyclists vote and thus they need to work harder at safeguarding our safety on the roads !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [383 posts]
29th January 2011 - 0:10

like this
Like (2)

I feel a little sorry for all these local authorities struggling for cash at the moment. This is an issue that could easily be cleared up by central government and at a far cheaper cost. On every UK road with street lighting there is an underlying 30mph limit - whether it's signed or not. All Government has to do is change the law - changing that underlying limit to 20mph. This would make all urban areas 20mph by default - think of the millions that could be saved through implementations of 20mph limits across the country... Oh, and few understand the difference between a 20mph limit are and a 20mph zone... As cyclists - we definitely don't want our city streets plagued with speed humps required in the implementation of a 'zone'...

posted by jonusher [20 posts]
29th January 2011 - 14:00

like this
Like (2)

The early monitoring results for the Bristol schemes is due at some point in February. On average there's a 4-5% overall reduction in speed within the limit areas, but there are some roads where this reduction is less apparent. That's where the VAS signs come in - to make the limit far more conspicuous. More painted roundels are going in at the moment too - about 80 in total on the faster roads - drivers will soon have no excuse.

posted by jonusher [20 posts]
29th January 2011 - 16:07

like this
Like (2)

On its way skippy

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
29th January 2011 - 17:54

like this
Like (2)

skippy wrote:
...TOO often you see a 50 or 70mph sign with diagonal stripes through them indicating a lower speed is required but it is left to you to work out what is the new limit ...

Sorry to be pedantic Skippy, but a sign with a diagonal stripe through it (white round sign with black diagonal) is NOT a 70mph limit. It varies according to the road type. It is a 'national speed limit' sign. 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways, 60mph on single carriageway roads.

As for the 20mph proposal, it will only be adhered to if it is routinely enforced. Cyclists too must be considerate of such a limit. While there is not offence of exceeding a speed limit on a bicycle, cyclist can easily exceed 20mph. To do so while expecting motorists to adhere to the limit is inevitably going to irritate an already intolerant motoring public.

posted by DAG on a bike [48 posts]
30th January 2011 - 12:22

like this
Like (2)

DAG on a bike wrote:
skippy wrote:
...TOO often you see a 50 or 70mph sign with diagonal stripes through them indicating a lower speed is required but it is left to you to work out what is the new limit ...

Sorry to be pedantic Skippy, but a sign with a diagonal stripe through it (white round sign with black diagonal) is NOT a 70mph limit. It varies according to the road type. It is a 'national speed limit' sign. 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways, 60mph on single carriageway roads.

As for the 20mph proposal, it will only be adhered to if it is routinely enforced. Cyclists too must be considerate of such a limit. While there is not offence of exceeding a speed limit on a bicycle, cyclist can easily exceed 20mph. To do so while expecting motorists to adhere to the limit is inevitably going to irritate an already intolerant motoring public.

I'm (being pedantic)sure that is not what Skippy said....He specifically said a speed limit with diagonal lines thru it..not the national speed limit sign ...
The sign he was most likely referring to would be this one...derestriction of a speed limit...as below... End of a specified speed limit, normally accompanied by the new limit...Skippy's frustration was that the 'new limit sign is often missing'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Residential_Road_End_Of_Speed_Limit_Si...

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [406 posts]
30th January 2011 - 19:08

like this
Like (2)