Oxford police set to toughen enforcement of 20mph limits

New ACPO guidelines set drop enforcement limit from 32mph to 24mph

by John Stevenson   October 1, 2013  

20mph zone picture IAM.jpg

Police in Oxford are planning tougher enforcement of the city’s 20mph speed limits, a road safety measure that has already been credited with a reduction in crashes, according to the Oxford Mail.

Oxford police currently only issue tickets to drivers doing more than 32mph in 20mph zones, but from next month that looks set to drop to 24mph under new guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The head of the Thames Valley Police’s roads policing department, said it was “extremely likely” it would adopt the new guidelines.

He said: “This will help change the attitudes of those who get caught breaching 20mph limits and in turn change their behaviour, which is critical in making roads safer for all who use them or live near them.”

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.

Oxford has proven itself to be particularly in need of the safety benefits brought by lower speed limits in built up areas. Cyclist deaths and serious injuries in Oxford doubled from 2001 to 2011, after 20mph zones were introduced but before they began to be enforced.

Accidents fell by 18 percent after the zones were brought in.

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign group today said that the country was in transition toward 20mph becoming the normal residential speed limit.

The amendment to ACPO guidelines comes as a result of requests from Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport Norman Baker for tougher policing of 20mph limits and the City of London recently voted overwhelmingly for all roads to have a 20mph limit.

Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, Rod King MBE, said: “The 30mph national limit has been rejected as inappropriate by many of our largest conurbations for where people live, shop, work and travel to school. We are in transition to 20mph limits being the norm with exceptions where a higher limit is justifiable.

“Authorities must recognise that ‘It’s time for 20’ and that ‘There’s a place for 30’. This needs to be done by setting 20mph as the normal built-up speed limit and then repeater signs showing where it’s right to have another limit.  This signage rule change is both cheaper and gives drivers a consistent message.”

20's Plenty say that lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has been found to increase a urban journeys by just 40 seconds maximum, on average, but to decrease child pedestrian accidents by up to 70%.

However, not everyone is happy. The Oxford Mail spoke to plumber Kevin Wallington, who was caught speeding in his 20mph street. 

He said: “They are just trying to get revenue off people. They shouldn’t be monitoring a 20mph hill with 10 coppers when they could be catching pickpockets in Oxford or burglars, and keeping law and order.

“They are raking it in like we are some kind of fat cash cow.

“They will be taxing us for breathing fresh air soon.

 “It actually takes your concentration away from the road if you are looking at the speed dial to make sure you are below 20.”

16 user comments

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Man breaks law, complains when he gets punished. In other news, Pope is Catholic and bears spotted the woods.

posted by qwerky [134 posts]
1st October 2013 - 13:40

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I'm often amused by the local 20mph limit we have round here. My route home onto my very large suburban estate includes a straight, mile long sprint with speed control chicanes (easily straight throughable on both bicycle and motorcycle) before I turn off onto my street. The limit is 20mph. I often hit close to 50kph on the straight, as it's my final lungbursting sprint before I get home from work, and still have cars behind me, right up my arse, trying to get past, despite me being well over the advised speed limit. Cagers make me laugh and or terrify me in equal measure, regardless of my chosen form of 2 wheeled transport. And it's usually Volvos.

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posted by carlosjenno [37 posts]
1st October 2013 - 13:44

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I saw someone doing at least 60mph on Five Mile Drive, one of Oxford's 20mph residential roads, last week.

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
1st October 2013 - 14:22

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could we have a list please of the actual speed limits that Oxford police enforce? Interesting to note that exceeding the 20 mph limit by 59% has been perfectly acceptable until now. Is 48mph in a 30 zone also acceptable?

I need some plumbing done soon - Kevin, you've just dropped off my shortlist Applause

posted by Metjas [281 posts]
1st October 2013 - 14:40

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I'm not sure where I stand on the 20mph debate. I dislike it as it is lazy traffic enginering to solve bad layouts just by lowering the speed limits, however, it is cost effective doesn't create too much more delays and does increase safety. With my cycling cap on I would also point out that this would lower friction between bikes and cars as the will be travelling at more similiar speeds and the safest condtions occur when traffic is all travelling at the same speed.

The arguement of 70% child accident reduction is a worthy one but is of course situational. I do not see many children out and about at night, however, having different day time/ night time rules would be troublesome.

The whole thing of having speed limits that were not being enforced was laughable however.

posted by Wolfshade [101 posts]
1st October 2013 - 14:59

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the speed limit thing has many other consequences, road have design speeds for a start.

I am glade that they are being enforced, first step towards having people friendly roads. I think to many people forget that RESIDENTIAL streets are places people live. Do many people really want cars screaming past there front door?

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posted by mrmo [1074 posts]
1st October 2013 - 15:23

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Quote:
“It actually takes your concentration away from the road if you are looking at the speed dial to make sure you are below 20.”

This argument has always annoyed me. Surely being able to maintain your speed, with an occasional quick glance at the speedo to check, is a basic driving skill? If you can't keep within the speed limit without spending so much time looking at the speedo that it impairs your ability to drive safely, you shouldn't have a licence!

posted by graham_f [95 posts]
1st October 2013 - 15:59

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I think the only purpose of the speed bumps on the 20mph road which I live on is to highlight the excessive speeders by ensuring a loud BANG as the suspension bottoms out...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
1st October 2013 - 16:38

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Avon and Somerset Police need to take a cue from Thames Valley. It's shocking how fast people drive through the 20mph zones. And the speed through the 30mph zones is just as bad. This morning, on my walk, I made a very unscientific count of how many cars were speeding (judged by sound and sight) and six out of ten motorists were going over 30mph. The police could make a small fortune setting up some speed checks on Nore Rd and Down Rd, especially in the AM.

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [177 posts]
1st October 2013 - 16:41

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graham_f wrote:
Quote:
“It actually takes your concentration away from the road if you are looking at the speed dial to make sure you are below 20.”

This argument has always annoyed me. Surely being able to maintain your speed, with an occasional quick glance at the speedo to check, is a basic driving skill? If you can't keep within the speed limit without spending so much time looking at the speedo that it impairs your ability to drive safely, you shouldn't have a licence!

Not quite. What they mean is, they're travelling quick enough to be right on the limit of being flashed by a camera (so probably exceeding the stated limit by at least 10%), so their eyes are out on stalks to try and ensure they keep their license. Thus looking at the speedo is an activity they're doing constantly, and feel distracted.

Of course, if they were driving at 20 rather than 28, they wouldn't have this problem and they know it, because drifting up to 22 isn't likely to get them a ticket.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
1st October 2013 - 16:42

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Interesting that it's an ACPO recommendation - and so I would think should be taken up nationally - rather than just being Oxford.

I live in Islington which has gone to 20mph zones that the police have refused to enforce. Interesting to see if that changes.

As for the numpty interviewed at the end of the article, most modern cars have cruise control. Slap it on 20 and let the car do the work

posted by VeloPeo [219 posts]
1st October 2013 - 22:06

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VeloPeo wrote:

I live in Islington which has gone to 20mph zones that the police have refused to enforce. Interesting to see if that changes.

Ditto Ealing. Zero enforcement so rampant speeding.

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posted by TiNuts [93 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 7:45

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If ur car has cruise control use it set it at 20mph no speeding fine then,

posted by issacforce [205 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 8:30

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The ACPO have confirmed to me (via their twitter account) that the guidance referred to in the article has not yet been officially published.

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posted by AndrewRH [45 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 12:35

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here in London Borough of Camden, about 2 months ago the local authority introduced a blanket 20 mph speed limit across the entire Borough

in last week's "Camden Journal" newspaper, they admitted the Police do not have the resources to enforce this 20mph speed limit, and it will never be properly enforced.

Despite the expenditure of painting all those (20) circles on the streets and putting up more street furniture detailing the new speed limit

so why bother..its a f*cking joke really considering the high speeds of motor vehicles rat running the back streets, as well as motorists taking their speeds way beyond the legal limit at any chance when an empty road presents itself..

posted by hampstead_bandit [130 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 19:35

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Roll on new ACPO advice!

posted by a.jumper [698 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 20:07

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