Road Safety News

Government plans pave way for more 20mph schemes

Tuesday 20th September 2011

Norman Baker, the transport minister, used his speech at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference (19/09/11) to unveil plans to make it easier for councils to introduce 20mph schemes.

A new traffic signs policy document to be put before MPs will permit councils to paint 20mph roundels on the road surface rather using lampposts, without needing to seek permission from ministers. The Government hopes that this more cost effective way of introducing 20mph limits could encourage more councils to implement the zones.

Norman Baker said: “When the House returns next month I will be laying before Parliament a new traffic signs policy document. This will cut pointless form-filling by streamlining Traffic Regulation Orders, cutting time and saving money.

“The traffic signs review will also end the need for Whitehall approval for special authorisations for a whole range of signs, so councils will for example be able to erect ‘No Entry Except Cyclists’ signs without having to ask Whitehall first.”

Under a ‘decluttering agenda’ councils will also be able to remove redundant signs that are no longer necessary.

Norman Baker added: “In recognition of the environmental advances being made, there will be new signs to promote safer cycling and help pedestrians, to discourage HGVs from using inappropriate routes, and to inform motorists of electric vehicle charging points. And in carefully selected locations, occasional signs will be permitted to alert motorists to alternative ways of getting from A to B, for example by giving the journey duration of the parallel rail service. This will help cut carbon and ease congestion on our roads.”

Click here to read Norman Baker’s speech in full.


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First thing, it's more white paint to become a danger to any TWV and unless the driver/rider knows he/she is in a 20 mph area, what will happen when it snows and the signs are obliterated by it.

The same about roundabout humps and road cushions and other passive obstructions to drivers, riders, perhaps we can have side of road signage so vehicles actually know where these on the road obstacles are placed. Ie. more traffic signs and not less.
Bob Craven, Lancs

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Thank you for the link, Damian.

I suppose you could claim that the report is a "scientific study" in that they counted the numbers and appear to have made a good attempt at accounting for other effects, inc RTM, but it's not a "scientific trial".

And there's the Portsmouth 20mph experiment where serious injuries rose significantly against the national trend, but shh, they don't want anyone to know!

And these schemes also increase the time emergency services take so more people die from serious injuries (knife crime, falling off ladders, heart attacks etc) that are not in the road safety stats.

But you claimed "scientific studies", so there's more than one?
Dave Finney - Slough

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The use of 20mph limits that the government is proposing involves no traffic calming and no approvals. The Grundy Study refers to zones with traffic calming, which are significantly more effective.
JP - Manchester

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There are scientific studies on the effects of a reduced speed limit on injuries and fatalities. Recently Grundy and colleagues published data on the effects of implementing 20mph speed limits in London, which revealed a 41.9% reduction in casualties, and no evidence of casualty migration to surrounding areas. The full report is here, and is freely accessible to everyone:
Damian, London

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Before they "encourage more councils to implement" 20mph zones, shouldn't they find out whether more people will die and be seriously injured, or whether more people will be saved death or serious injury?

There have been no scientific trials and the reports have had little evidence (and the evidence sometimes suggests a large rise in serious injuries).

The publicity has been deceptive so how can anyone have a valid opinion if they are not being told the truth?
Dave Finney - Slough

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This is a great idea & very sensible, so when will the government listen to the pleadings of the many & raise the antiquated 1960's motorway speed limits, now that the majority of modern cars can cruise at 100mph as proved on the German Autobahns?
Nik Ellis, Laird Assessors

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