A ‘fair deal’ vision involves letting people drive legally at a safe speed for the conditions, on roads that are fit for purpose.


For far too long, the government’s emphasis has been on controlling speed, even though other factors are more often found in accidents.




Sometimes a 20mph limit is justified – for instance on a weak bridge, a newly maintained road with chippings, or a narrow single lane road with plenty of parked cars.


Unfortunately some campaigners confuse slower with safer, and there is a well- orchestrated campaign to enforce blanket 20mph zones in our town and cities.


By worrying parents in particular, these campaigners are in fact offering a false sense of security. Pedestrians can be killed by traffic travelling legally at 20mph.


20mph zones have been ‘justified’ in case pedestrians suddenly dash out. However it would be better to educate them in proper road safety, particularly in using designated crossing places, to prevent them being hit at any speed, with all the grief to their loved ones.


The Highway Code is quite clear on this (and also the existing responsibility of drivers to take due care over other road users and adjust their speed to the conditions).


Professor Wann of Royal Holloway College has warned against blanket 20mph zones, as drivers become less likely to comply (Evening Standard, 30.9.11). On a wider point, unjustified speed limits breed disrespect for the law, which can’t be good for society.


It is interesting that when consulted, local police forces have responded that they do not consider it a priority to police 20mph zones.


At a time when local authority finances are stretched, there will be better uses of council taxpayers’ money. Rather than impose a ‘one size fits all’ solution, regardless of local conditions, transport authorities should be looking at a range of tailored measures that will make a real difference to road safety.


For instance, ensuring proper road safety education in schools, and fixing the blight of potholes to the benefit of all road users – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.





Independent researcher presentation on 20mph limits:


- “No examples found where 20mph has led to a reduction in road casualties, after accounting for national trends and traffic volume.”


A local campaign outlines its objections to wide-area 20mph limits



Alliance of British Drivers’ response to a consultation on 20mph limits*


Alliance of British Drivers’ wider research on setting sensible speed limits*


Alliance of British Drivers’ more detailed research on 20mph limits


Alliance of British Drivers’ policies for improving road safety*



*The Alliance of British Drivers was known as the Association of British Drivers before 2012.



FOOTNOTE – Something to hide?


Some zealots campaigning for 20mph zones are now basically advocating that councils shouldn't bother to consult residents before introducing 20mph limits, but should just take them for granted .... apparently consultation “is costly and takes time”.




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