Currently reading: Government wants 20mph limits
Road safety minister wants more blanket 20mph limits in residential areas

The government is encouraging more local councils to introduce blanket 20mph speed limits in residential areas without the use of speed humps.

At present councils can only enforce 20mph limits on groups of residential roads by using traffic calming measures such as speed humps. Only on individual roads can a 20mph limit be introduced without speed humps.

But following a successful city-wide trial of a blanket 20mph speed limit without speed humps in Portsmouth, road safety minister Paul Clark will allow more councils to introduce similar blanket 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

“We have seen that 20mph zones with traffic calming measures can make a real difference to the safety of local roads,” he said. “But we’ve also looked at the latest research and listened to councils and residents who want to introduce 20mph limits on a series of roads where physical traffic calming measures aren’t possible or practical.

“Allowing councils to put in place 20mph speed limits on more streets without speed humps or chicanes will mean that they can introduce them at a lower cost and with less inconvenience to local residents.”

Islington has recently introduced a 20mph speed limit in all of its residential areas, while similar schemes are set to be adopted in Norwich and York. The government is also proposing that average speed cameras be used in residential areas to enforce the limits.

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Rich_uk 16 December 2009

Re: Government wants 20mph limits


I am pleased that someone who perhaps has a different view to me at least agrees on one thing... facts are required! You also commented about serious injuries being lower. The report I recall stated these had slightly increased. Again, suggesting that improved car technology is the most important factor in reducing deaths.

I do predict one thing though; (sadly) deaths will rise in the next couple of years. This is simply because I think deaths fell below 3000 because of the fuel prices spike which resulted in less driving. I think when this balances out with an improved economy, more driving will lead to increased accidents.Of course I hope I'm wrong...

stuart74 16 December 2009

Re: Government wants 20mph limits

Rich_uk wrote:

I've read the BBC article amongst many others. No one questions the need to keep accidents to a minimum, to have speed limits or that inappropriate speed is dangerous.

The difference between people like me and charities like Brake is one of balance between risk aware and risk adverse. Brake come across as Anticar, anticar, anticar. Slower, slower, slower. I do not believe speed cameras are wrong but I believe there should be a limit and we've probably reached it already. I believe the speed limits are out of date; some need reducing and some, especially dual A roads and motorways, need increasing.

We have to also accept that there are going to be deaths. Of course every death is a tragedy but out of the estimated 20 million car journeys a day, 7 deaths is actually pretty darn good.

I am also sceptical about the Govt, their policies and the ability of local authorities to apply guidelines sensibly.

If the evidence is that 20mph is more appropriate then fine but SHOW the evidence.

If the evidence is that a lower alcohol limit is required ie. lots of accidents involving in drivers with 50-80mgs of alcohol in their blood, then fine but SHOW the evidence.

Incidentally there is apparently evidence (and I am trying to find it) that accidents increase in 20mph zones. The suggested explanation is that people pay less attention because of how slowly they are going... which makes sense to me.


I am not saying that I think 20mph is the correct way forward, as I mentioned in my last paragraph, it seems to me as if the main efforts should be directed to the faster out of town roads.

I was trying to bring some facts and figures to the debate! Sadly most comments on these forums seem more about hating the government rather than analysis of what works and what doesn't.

The fact of the matter is, like it or not, road deaths and serious accidents have dropped considerably and I am all for encouraging that. What is interesting in the BBC report is how many accidents are caused by lone drivers which leads me to think that education may also be a way forward.

stuart74 16 December 2009

Re: Government wants 20mph limits

Cheltenhamshire wrote:
This is nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money raising as usual.

Raising money? The amount collected by speed cameras is minute. I forget the actual figure, hopefully someone can provide it, but I seem to recall it is a few million. Whereas the figure spent on road alterations, cameras, new limits etc is many times greater. The cost of an accident is tens of thousands as well.

I don't know why people moan about speed cameras, I was caught three times between 1999 and 2004 but since then I have found a great way to stop being fined - I drove slower! I accept there are a few cameras still positioned in difficult to see places, but they are mainly painted bright yellow these days.

With respect to the main part of this article, I don't think average speed cameras are going to work, but I would prefer them to speed bumps (I think!)