20 MPH Speed Limits

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  • 20 MPH Speed Limits
  • Premier Icon GrahamS

    Until you have cars sailing through the red light. I reckon that I’d need to wait at the crossing near my house for all of 10 minutes before I spotted my first RLJer.

    There are two Toucan Crossings (peds + bikes) on my commute (here and here) where I regularly see cars blitz through them whilst the green man/bike is showing.

    I won’t cross there until there are vehicles stopped in all the lanes and I find myself warning others at the crossing of the danger.

    Have you considered using pedestrian crossings? They seem to work really well in my experience.

    Not that well it seems. Reading this poster the other way I take “A third of pedestrians are killed when they’re using a crossing facility that’s supposed to make them safe”

    This poster actually scares me more than almost anything. We’re so blase about death on the roads that we don’t even seem concerned the people are regularly killed on crossings. Just how far from Vision Zero are we?

    Premier Icon Cougar

    expecting the pedestrians to mitigate for poor driving is entirely backwards, it’s better to address the driving

    It is to a point. Drivers should be able to stop in the distance they can see, and traffic flow control (lights, speed limits) should be appropriate for that. So if this “poor” driving means they can’t stop in time then yes of course, that should be addressed. I don’t agree however that the roads should just be one giant pedestrian crossing where people can just wander across wherever the whim takes them, people also need to take some responsibility for choosing a sensible place to cross where they can safely assess traffic conditions. In situations where lots of people are wanting to cross in a potentially dangerous area, road furniture / traffic control should be installed to facilitate that.

    Suggesting I try and find an alternative junction to pull out of isn’t really a viable solution!

    No, of course; some junctions are tricksy, I know. But we seem to have segued from inappropriate speed limits to inappropriate speeding in this discussion; your example sounds like the sort of spot you’d want a speed camera.

    Premier Icon D0NK

    I reckon that I’d need to wait at the crossing near my house for all of 10 minutes before I spotted my first RLJer

    Saw a mini blast through this fairly obvious crossing just this morning (which several other vehicles were already stopped at), I pass through the area pretty quickly but I’ve still seen a fair share of RLJers.
    The toucan crossing that serves a bridleway on my commute regularly gets cars driving straight through, it’s on a bend which cars often speed round (30zone) so not sure if they don’t see the signals due to speed or they are ignoring me coz I’m on my bike and they don’t think I’m allowed to use a crossing.

    Premier Icon amedias

    When people speed on roads, particularly in built up areas it affects the behaviours of lots of other people

    Not to mention the bizarre shift in their own behaviour, last winter I was unfortunate enough to be first on scene for a chap that had been knocked off his bike by a car pulling out of a petrol station, While I was there trying to keep him calm and conscious, covering him with my coat and calling an ambulance the amount of motorists squeezing past, a couple accelerating quite aggressively around us to ‘get through a gap’ and one complete twunt who actually honked their horn at us because they were held up really astonished me.

    There’s a fundamental shift in attitude for a lot of people once they climb into a car that somehow *their* journey is the most important and any minor rule breaking, rat running and such suddenly becomes fair game just to save a few seconds 🙁

    But we seem to have segued from inappropriate speed limits to inappropriate speeding in this discussion

    I see your point there, I did drift a little, but I guess what I’m alluding to here is that as per the OPs post, often the speed is inappropriate because drivers see the *limit* as the appropriate speed, when in a lot of cases it isn’t. The crossing I’m think of is actually in a 30, but that section of road is not safe to negotiate at 30, so drivers are driving within the limit but not to the conditions.

    I described that as speeding, when what I meant was driving too fast, not actually speeding as in exceeding the speed limit. my mistake as I should have clarified there because I do see you point.


    What’s clear from this depressingly-long thread from all the anecdotes is that we have a real problem with driver behaviour in the UK which is having all kinds of knock-on effects on quality of life for everyone.

    We’ve managed to make significant inroads into crime, drugs, smoking, drink-driving following massive government effort and intervention.

    I remember when I was at Uni in the early 90’s and would come home after a night out with all my clothes stinking of smoke and you always felt that was a problem that seriously needed solving but wasn’t showing any signs of being sorted.

    I hope we can say the same about excessive driving and law-breaking and dangerous driving at some point in the future. It’s causing untold amounts of damage… at the moment it seems to only be cyclists and parents of young kids who have enough perspective to see this…

    Premier Icon Cougar

    that one is directly below a streetlamp and seems (not a great pic) to have hiviz/reflector on the very top,

    It’s regular ol’ white paint. Mostly chipped off now if memory serves.

    I get what you are saying about teaching kids about being safe on and around roads but I don’t think the majority of those supporting 20 limits are against that, or advocating washing their hands of all responsibility for their kids on residential roads

    I sincerely hope you’re right. I don’t actually know either way, I suspect it’s a bit of both on aggregate.

    The crossing I’m think of is actually in a 30, but that section of road is not safe to negotiate at 30, so drivers are driving within the limit but not to the conditions.

    Yeah, and herein lies the problem. Most drivers are exceptionally poor at driving to the conditions. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t need speed limits in the first place.

    Premier Icon IdleJon

    Cougar – Moderator

    I’ve stepped out of my front door and had to jump back to avoid being hit by a parking car. [etc]

    Good grief, really?

    Honestly yes. It doesn’t happen a huge amount but it’s not just a recent problem. My wife was almost hit by a neighbour when she was pregnant with our first child, so 11 years ago.

    Incidentally, are you in London? Parking on the pavement is specifically illegal there, they have a bylaw for it. Good thing IMHO.

    No, Wales. When I lived in London I lived on a houseboat so would have been disturbed to be knocked over stepping directly out of the ‘house’. 😆


    A lot of sadly familiar stories here, had the twunts driving along the pavement (god forbid you drive a bit away from where you are delivering to or negotiate that 2″ cliff without a drop kerb) nearly knocking me over at the end of the path.

    This bit https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=eastern+avenue,+largs%5D&hl=en-GB&ll=55.796243,-4.854321&spn=0.000024,0.019205&gbv=2&hnear=Eastern+Ave&gl=uk&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=55.796243,-4.854321&panoid=n53GPX6GxmuJeKuIXvWr2w&cbp=12,187.72,,0,0 just along from my house is the worst. Looks nice doesn’t it? Schooldays there’s usually a bus parked there, on the pavement, on the opposite side from where most cars park (I say that but…). The amount of cars parked there has increased exponentially since that picture was taken, most times of the day that road is jam packed and you’re lucky to get along the length without having to use a side street or pavement as a passing place. Should be a 20 but even that is too fast on the bends. Speed bumps would be nice but some helpful individual ripped the last one upso they could get their scene trash about town quicker.

    I’d happily blanket the entire area and have traffic wardens round the schools and town centre, a bigger bunch of selfish a**eholes you will never encounter.


    20mph zone in Camden borough now, feels more like something to aim for rather than a limit, wish I could drive that fast!

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    What’s clear from this depressingly-long thread from all the anecdotes is that we have a real problem with driver behaviour in the UK which is having all kinds of knock-on effects on quality of life for everyone.

    This is the real issue and I think uenforced 20 mph limits will make it worse as it becomes normal for most people to ignore speed limits. The general trend of dropping speed limits without enforcement or changes to the road layout is making the roads less safe. We need to enforce existing limits with harsher penalties. The main reason drink driving was cut was the likelihood of severe sanction in losing your licence. If it had been 3 points and £60 I doubt many people would have changed.

    The people mist at fault are the road planners not designing the roads to cope with human inability to do the obviously most sensible thing. I trail build with the FC and it’s taken us a while to realise if we want riders to stay on the trail (riding off the edges quickly destroys the trail) we have to design it so they can’t ride off the trail or provide official alternate lines. We used to moan about it but not treat it the way we treat trail design to cope with rain, it’s an act of nature that won’t follow The Rules.


    From the the House of Commons Transport Committee on Cycling Safety report just published – this is all very relevant to this thread:

    Basically, 20mph is reckoned to be pointless without police support (for which there isn’t the money) because the Great British Public are just a bunch of criminals with no regard for the law when they get in their cars…

    StumpyJon’s point about learning from trailbuilding is very valid IMO. I’m also part of a trailbuilding team and in our experience we can get people to ride where we want them to by the way we design the trail and sightlines.

    Speed bumps and naked roads are all trying to achieve this I guess – but as yet we’ve clearly not found an effective solution which will work in all circumstances.

    OP – the answer to your complaint about a blanket default of 20mph lies here too – because drivers can’t be trusted to drive carefully where the community needs them to, and the council/police can’t afford to put in infrastructure/enforce it – a blanket 20mph is the only (cost) effective solution

    20mph zones
    Several witnesses called for a reduction in speed limits in local roads, noting that a cyclist involved in a collision with a car travelling at 20mph had a 2.5% chance of a fatal injury, compared to a 20% chance if the car was travelling at 30mph.
    There was also, we heard, less chance of collisions when cars travelled at lower speeds, as they had more time to react to cyclists and take action to avoid collisions: Sustrans told us that there had been a
    60% reduction in injury collisions in 250 existing 20 mph zones.24 Sustrans noted, however,that the “profound effects on road safety” that could be achieved with lower speed limits required the police to enforce these limits.
    This was highlighted by several witnesses as unlikely, due to limited resources. Councillor David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County
    Council told us:
    The problem is that it is all very well putting in a 20 mph limit, but unless somebody is going to enforce it you have wasted a whole load of money. My view is that I have no intention of wasting public money putting in 20 mph zones. When I drove here today I went through Kingston and saw the extent of a 20 mph zone. Nobody was doing 20 mph, but 20 mph was painted on roads almost half a mile from the schools. It went on and on, and nobody was doing it. That is the problem. If you have a 20 mph limit and people obey it,that is fine, but I do not have the resources—I do not think the police in Surrey have the resources—to man nearly 600 different sites with a 20 mph limit, never mind looking at towns and everything else.
    In Chichester, where West Sussex County Council introduced 20mph limits for all residential streets in 2012, the local cycling campaign group, ChiCycle, told us that the police had been “very reluctant” to enforce the 20mph limit, due to limits on their resources. The costs of introducing 20 mph zones were also highlighted by witnesses.
    Councillor Ian Davey, Deputy Leader of Brighton and Hove Council, told there was a case for default 20 mph zones, due to the cost of introducing lower speed limits on certain roads:
    At the moment we have to mark all the 20 mph roads as an exception. It just means that, as it is, there is a lot more work—a lot more infrastructure, paint on the ground, signs and expense—so changing that default would make it cheaper, easier and safer.
    Councillor Davey added that, in his view, reducing speed limits, and making the roads safer would not have “anything other than a positive impact on the viability of local economies”.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    We’ve just been reclassified as a 20 zone.

    I’m pleased, tbh.
    Wide roads, but lots of older residents and plenty of kids.

    No bumps/excessive street furniture.

    Hardly anyone raced around anyway, it’s a quiet place.
    20 feels safer than 30.


    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Interesting brooess thanks.

    Did anyone question why the police couldn’t possibly enforce 20 limits because the don’t have the resources, but they can enforce 30 limits??

    Or are they admitting they don’t enforce those either?

    Premier Icon Cougar

    More offenders?

    Premier Icon Del

    massive reduction in dedicated traffic officers nation-wide. devon and cornwall have no dedicated traffic officers ( or didn’t ) for instance.
    speed limits exist to cater to the lowest common denominator. for sure. if we could trust everyone to behave themselves and just ‘ don’t be a dick ‘ , then we wouldn’t need half the legislation we have in all aspects of life, never mind road traffic law. sadly i think we’re a long way from that.
    oh – and yes, everyone should be watching out for everyone’s kids. they don’t know any better, and if the folks aren’t around, it is incumbent on all of us to watch out for them.
    keep an eye out for my dog, too, will you? 😉

    Premier Icon IdleJon

    When I drove here today I went through Kingston and saw the extent of a 20 mph zone. Nobody was doing 20 mph, but 20 mph was painted on roads almost half a mile from the schools. It went on and on, and nobody was doing it.

    I lived about 2 miles from Kingston centre about 21 years ago and large sections of the side streets were 20mph back then. It’s hardly a new thing that people need to get used to.

    Premier Icon IdleJon

    Well, it’s 3.20am and I’ve got really bad insomnia so being bad-tempered I thought I’d do some research about getting traffic wardens up here to book the cars on the pavement.

    First stop the local government website but they don’t cover pavement parking, the police do.

    Of course on the police website there isn’t anything like a form to fill in or similar, and it feels a little petty to be ringing the police to book cars when they have far too much to do anyway. Like fill forms in. 😆

    But finally I found an online form section and had to laugh when the second option down (after I have a recruitment query) is I want to say thanks for a good service. 😆

    Sadly no request for traffic wardens but I can report a vacant house or business. I’ll be awake until dawn wondering why I’d want to do that.

    Premier Icon GrahamS


    Following this thread has anyone spotted the story about Southwark Council extending the 20mph limits to cover cyclists as well?


    I found this quote from the Met spokesperson astonishing:

    “We also object to the implementation of the 20 mph limit where it is not obvious to the motorist through the look and feel of the road that the speed limit is 20 mph.”

    I can point them at several dual-carriageways and motorways that have 50 limits but they “look and feel of the road” suggests they should be 70 limits.

    They don’t seem to have an issue with enforcing those for some reason.

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