Police don't enforce 20mph zones senior officer tells Parliamentary Inquiry… ACPO seeks to clarify

Ministers and MPs greet remarks with astonishment at Get Britain Cycling inquiry

by Simon_MacMichael   March 6, 2013  

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The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has sought to clarify its position on policing of 20mph zones after a senior police officer representing the body at the Get Britain Cycling parliamentary inquiry earlier this week said its guidance was for such speed limits not to be enforced.

Mark Milsom, Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, told MPs, that ACPO “are not enforcing 20mph speed limits at this moment in time,” reports The Times.

His remarks were greeted by astonishment by government ministers and members of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, which hosted the inquiry over the past two months, with co-chair Ian Austin saying that he was “disappointed and dismayed” by what he termed an “unacceptable” admission.

Mr Austin went on: “I think all too often we see the people responsible for really serious injuries or deaths on the roads get away scot free or with derisory sentences and I think there needs to be greater emphasis on cycle safety from the police and the CPS.”

Norman Baker, Minister for Transport and whose brief includes cycling, said: “My view is that the law of the land is the law of the land. Parliament sets the law of the land and it is the police’s job to enforce it.”

His colleague at the Department for Transport, Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond, added: “We will be having further discussions with the police.”

In a statement issued in response to Monday’s criticism, ACPO said:

“In most cases, 20 mph limits will follow Department of Transport guidance and include features such as speed bumps or traffic islands designed to slow traffic. ACPO guidelines include thresholds for enforcement across all speed limits to underpin a consistent policing approach. However it is for local police forces to apply a proportionate approach to enforcement of 20mph limits based on risk to individuals, property and the seriousness of any breach. Where drivers are exceeding the speed limit through wilful offending, we would expect that officers will enforce the limit and prosecute offenders."

That statement appears to contradict the sweeping statement made by Assistant Commissioner Milson, although it’s not clear what the definition of “wilful offending” is – a vehicle is either being driven above 20mph, and therefore breaking the speed limit, or it isn’t.

ACPO’s reference to traffic calming measures and for local police forces to take local factors into consideration does underline issues associated with 20mph zones that have previously been underlined by the charity, 20s Plenty for Us.

Last year, Rod King, founder of 20s Plenty for Us, met with representatives of ACPO to discuss enforcement of 20mph areas, with a report of their meeting outlining “the need to bring in a wide range of agencies, including traffic, health, education, sustainability, police and other services and that having identified the community benefits of lower speeds then all needed to provide and pool input and resources towards maximising community ownership, understanding and compliance.”

What wouldn’t work, they agreed, was simply erecting “signs on sticks,” and both ACPO and 20s Plenty for Us identified a number of “agreed principles” resulting from the meeting:

• That 20mph speed limits for residential streets and those with high levels of vulnerable road users across an authority (Total 20) were beneficial to communities and the police.

• That Total 20 should include local Traffic Authority decisions to make appropriate exceptions.

• That Total 20 needed wide agency support, commitment and involvement for it to be transformed into a community commitment to lower speeds and to maximise compliance

• That the police should take supportive and proactive role in Total 20 implementations which have those necessary wide agency involvements with suitable warning to visiting motorists and should be prepared to provide appropriate enforcement in support of maximising compliance levels.

• On particular streets where levels of compliance may turn out to below acceptable levels then all agencies should work together at additional work which may increase that compliance. This may include extra signage, education, road markings as well as police enforcement.

• That 20mph speed limits need to be clearly signed with suitable engineering, which could amount from anything from a roundel painted on the road to traffic calming measure depending on the appropriate level of intervention.

• That ACPO recognise that the vast majority of the public will not wish to break the law and therefore clear road signs and measures should be in place to give the public every chance to comply.

During Road Safety Week last November, Brake and Sustrans launched the Go 20 campaign in which they called for 20mph to be made the default speed limit in residential areas.

 

15 user comments

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The comparison between this stance on 20mph enforcement and the bivalency in enforcing the law on 'driving a carriage on a footway' which ruthlessly pursues cyclists to the point of pettiness, whilst completely ignoring the same offence committed by drivers of motor vehicles, shows ACPO where they should be seriously examining their position.

The stark evidence in the hundreds of deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians every year, on a footway, compared to the possibility of no deaths at all through a cyclist pedestrian collision on a footway, in any one year in the past decade, speaks volumes about ill-directed priorities.

Perhaps if a regime of offering a £30 cycle training course in place of a £30 FPN for any cyclist stopped for a s.72 offence (in England - the detail in Scotland etc is slightly different) should be an ACPO policy to mirreor that of driver training for a number of motoring offences.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [377 posts]
7th March 2013 - 7:53

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A V Lowe wrote:

The stark evidence in the hundreds of deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians every year, on a footway, compared to the possibility of no deaths at all through a cyclist pedestrian collision on a footway, in any one year in the past decade, speaks volumes about ill-directed priorities.

Do you know how many people have been killed by motorists driving on pavements, or after walking in the road because of parking on pavements? I have read on this site that 3 people in 10 years have been killed by cyclists riding on pavements...

posted by SideBurn [682 posts]
7th March 2013 - 8:31

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Why bother to enforce speed limits; soon all roads except motorways will be so full of potholes and/or covered with speed bumps and chicanes, that higher speeds than 20 mph will not be possible. Of course, they'll also be horribly dangerous to cycle on.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
7th March 2013 - 8:43

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Given that they don't seem interested in/capable of enforcing the law for much more serious offences, such as theft, burglary and even rape, I am neither surprised nor particularly concerned by this. Put up some speed cameras at accident hotspots by all means but where is the money going to come from to fund the enforcement of 20mph zones? It seems a matter of priorities.

posted by drfabulous0 [111 posts]
7th March 2013 - 10:00

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On the way to work some time last year I saw police flagging down every car and handing out leaflets to remind them that this village is a 20mph zone. The *only* time I've ever seen any degree of enforcement, but perhaps encouraging.

posted by RuthF28 [87 posts]
7th March 2013 - 11:51

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SideBurn wrote:
A V Lowe wrote:

The stark evidence in the hundreds of deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians every year, on a footway, compared to the possibility of no deaths at all through a cyclist pedestrian collision on a footway, in any one year in the past decade, speaks volumes about ill-directed priorities.

Do you know how many people have been killed by motorists driving on pavements, or after walking in the road because of parking on pavements? I have read on this site that 3 people in 10 years have been killed by cyclists riding on pavements...

Well, at least one this year. Sick
http://road.cc/content/news/77810-94-year-old-motorist-says-not-guilty-c...

posted by Ush [238 posts]
7th March 2013 - 13:53

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Ush wrote:
SideBurn wrote:
A V Lowe wrote:

The stark evidence in the hundreds of deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians every year, on a footway, compared to the possibility of no deaths at all through a cyclist pedestrian collision on a footway, in any one year in the past decade, speaks volumes about ill-directed priorities.

Do you know how many people have been killed by motorists driving on pavements, or after walking in the road because of parking on pavements? I have read on this site that 3 people in 10 years have been killed by cyclists riding on pavements...

Well, at least one this year. Sick
http://road.cc/content/news/77810-94-year-old-motorist-says-not-guilty-causing-cyclists-death-pleads-automatism


BE CAREFUL HERE... the case is ongoing and we have been stopped from commenting. PLEASE do not use this story as an excuse to comment on it anyway...

posted by SideBurn [682 posts]
7th March 2013 - 15:27

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People still drive around the streets of Brighton at 40mph+ when there's space to do so and in the 20mph areas when it gets busy the traffic moves too slowly and is actually awkward to cycle in.

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
7th March 2013 - 16:05

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Quote:
That ACPO recognise that the vast majority of the public will not wish to break the law and therefore clear road signs and measures should be in place to give the public every chance to comply.

I thought survey after survey told us that actually the majority of motorists are quite happy to break this particular law. And that's when they know they're doing it.

posted by HKCambridge [65 posts]
7th March 2013 - 16:21

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SideBurn wrote:
A V Lowe wrote:

The stark evidence in the hundreds of deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians every year, on a footway, compared to the possibility of no deaths at all through a cyclist pedestrian collision on a footway, in any one year in the past decade, speaks volumes about ill-directed priorities.

Do you know how many people have been killed by motorists driving on pavements, or after walking in the road because of parking on pavements? I have read on this site that 3 people in 10 years have been killed by cyclists riding on pavements...

How about this one? My cousin Stuart, and his dog. On the pavement, just before Christmas, same way they walked every week day for eight years. Never came home to his wife and eight year old daughter. The driver didn't stop.

posted by pmanc [63 posts]
7th March 2013 - 16:53

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How about this one? My cousin Stuart, and his dog. On the pavement, just before Christmas, same way they walked every week day for eight years. Never came home to his wife and eight year old daughter. The driver didn't stop.

Have the Police made any progress?
This sort of thing is horrific at any time of the year but at Christmas it is particularly horrific.
Just to be clear I am not saying it does not happen I am just interested in the statistics. I have noticed that some of these police commissioners are targeting 'public concern' about cyclists on pavements. Although a few days ago I was confronted by two cyclists one on the pavement and one on a cyclepath next to him I cannot say I have ever been inconvenienced by a cyclist on a pavement but seem to be constantly be annoyed and even hit by cars driving and parking on pavements. My commissioner has not replied to any of my emails; but a statistic would be useful if he decides to target those pesky, manevolent, murdering cyclists (allegedly)

posted by SideBurn [682 posts]
7th March 2013 - 17:21

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SideBurn and everyone

It's been a little while since CTC checked this out. however this is what we found at the time...

In the five years from 2005-09, there were 3,051 pedestrians killed in collisions with motor vehicles: 2,118 involving cars, 933 involving other vehicles. That’s an average of 610 a year. By contrast, there were 11 pedestrians fatalities in cycle collisions during this period, an average of 2.2 per year.

If we look at pedestrians killed on the footway or verge, the figures still show that the threat to pedestrians comes overwhelmingly from motor vehicles, not pedal cycles.

There were 226 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on footways and verges in that five-year period: 161 by cars, 65 by other vehicles. That’s an average of 45 a year, almost one a week. Even if we double the period to a whole decade (2000-09), the total number of pedestrians killed by cycles on pavements or verges was just three - plus one on a grass verge.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns & Policy Director
CTC, the national cycling charity

posted by Roger Geffen [25 posts]
8th March 2013 - 21:09

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I set my Garmin virtual training partner thingie to 20mph, basically because riding slower is signs of being a cissy. Does this make me naughty? I thinks so.

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posted by minnellium [55 posts]
8th March 2013 - 21:55

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That the Police Authorities are inconsistent in their efforts to Police the " 20mph rule " comes as no surprise !

Whilst travelling with the Tirreno-Adriatica Race , i have observed the sudden visibility of " speed cameras " in the areas we travel through .
Amazing variations in placing , colours & dimentions , are visible , depending on which Commune has responsibility .
Even more amazing is the fact that these devices have notices , drawing your attention to them , some are 1km in advance , others within metres . just to make sure , some have flashing blue lights on top , or a post 3m tall behind but don't worry , the locals will drive past you as you slow down . others will time their arrival , at twice the posted speed , so that your vehicle is the subject of the camera , since it will block the photo that is triggered .

Amazingly you will see on Sundays , gruppettes of Cyclists , with cars alongside , faced with an approaching speedster , overtaking several speeding vehicles without a thought to the consequences . The first driver mentioned , will turn into the Cyclists , causing them to clamber onto the pavement , the offender will force those overtaken into an emergency stop on the pavement , meanwhile the offender will continue a further 1/2km to the back of a traffic jam .

When i caught the woman , yes a family/mother woman , i forced her to pull into the side of the road by blocking with the bike . whilst trying to get the man she forced to a stop to join in taking action , her man put the bike on the side of the road and they drove off , up the outside of the traffic queue forcing oncoming vehicles to the side to avoid headon collisions !

If the British Cyclists thinks they have problems , think again ! Italians of all ages and sex , think that the road rules apply to everyone else , but not to them !

Some of you may recall the Italian car that mowed down 6 Cylists , last year ? Reported because of the numbers involved , individuals mowed down , do not rate media attention , these days ?

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

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posted by skippy [355 posts]
11th March 2013 - 18:41

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Thank you Roger for the statistics.

posted by SideBurn [682 posts]
13th March 2013 - 11:12

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