20mph zones special: Pros and cons examined ahead of the final phase of roll out

20mph markings in Heslington Road

The map showing the last area to be calmed

First published in Features
Last updated

STEPHEN LEWIS looks at the pros and cons of the plan to roll out the final phase of 20mph zones in York.

LEAFLETS have been dropping through letterboxes of homes in the east of York detailing the third and final phase of the city council’s controversial programme to introduce 20mph limits on residential streets across the city, and today we look at the effect this will have on residents and drivers.

The limits have already been introduced on many roads in west York, and 20mph signs will soon be making an appearance in the northern parts of the city.

People living in the east of York have until July 11 to make their own thoughts known on plans to introduce the speed limits there.

The council points out that it is not creating blanket 20mph ‘zones’. Limits are being introduced only on residential streets. Major through roads and the city centre will remain 30mph.

Nevertheless, the roll-out of 20mph limits – which will cost almost £500,000 – has been highly controversial.

Residents questioned by The Press in the Woodthorpe area of York, where the new limits have already been introduced, by and large agreed that they were a waste of money, and that motorists didn’t do more than 20mph anyway before they were introduced.

Former police accident investigator Mike Natt has argued that the new speed limits are not needed because accident rates in the city were falling already.

But York’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr David Levene, said the main aim of the programme was to make local neighbourhoods more pleasant and to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“The introduction of 20mph limits was a Labour manifesto pledge,” he said. “I won’t be breaking that promise to residents.”

Here, we look at the pros and cons of going 20mph – and examine evidence about the effect on road casualties.


20mph Zones special:

Comments (4)

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5:12pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Cheeky face says...

Enforcement needed. More facts required. Some 20 limited areas are correctly, and although not enforced it is as a deterrent; but not to the fastest motorists. How many cyclists topped 20mph at the weekend?

I saw some cyclists going through red lights also, so why were they left on? Not just York council.
Enforcement needed. More facts required. Some 20 limited areas are correctly, and although not enforced it is as a deterrent; but not to the fastest motorists. How many cyclists topped 20mph at the weekend? I saw some cyclists going through red lights also, so why were they left on? Not just York council. Cheeky face
  • Score: -4

9:13am Thu 10 Jul 14

yawn.. says...

Casualties increase in 20mph zones (Institute of Advanced Motorists)

04 July 2014

The number of serious accidents on 20mph roads has increased by over a quarter (26 per cent) last year, according to analysis of government data by road safety charity, Institute of Advanced Motorists. Slight accidents on 20mph roads increased by 17 per cent.
In the same year, there was a decrease in the number of serious and slight accidents on 30mph roads and 40 mph roads. Serious accidents went down nine per cent on 30mph roads and seven per cent on 40 mph roads. There was a five per cent reduction in slight accidents on 30 mph roads and a three per cent decrease on 40 mph roads.
Casualties in 20mph zones also saw a rise. Serious casualties increased by 29 per cent while slight casualties went up by 19 per cent.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “The government and councils need to take stock on the effectiveness of 20mph signs. Recent advice, guidance and relaxation of regulations has all been about making it easier for councils to put 20mph limits in place.
“More and more roads are being given a 20mph limit but they do not seem to be delivering fewer casualties. The IAM are concerned that this is because simply putting a sign on a road that still looks like a 30mph zone does not change driver behaviour. More evaluation and research is needed into the real world performance of 20mph limits to ensure limited funds are being well spent. In locations with a proven accident problem, authorities need to spend more on changing the character of our roads so that 20mph is obvious, self-enforcing and above all contributes to fewer injuries. In Europe, it is long term investment in high quality segregated or shared surfaces that have led to a much safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians"

http://www.iam.org.u
k/component/content/
article?id=20505
Casualties increase in 20mph zones (Institute of Advanced Motorists) 04 July 2014 The number of serious accidents on 20mph roads has increased by over a quarter (26 per cent) last year, according to analysis of government data by road safety charity, Institute of Advanced Motorists. Slight accidents on 20mph roads increased by 17 per cent. In the same year, there was a decrease in the number of serious and slight accidents on 30mph roads and 40 mph roads. Serious accidents went down nine per cent on 30mph roads and seven per cent on 40 mph roads. There was a five per cent reduction in slight accidents on 30 mph roads and a three per cent decrease on 40 mph roads. Casualties in 20mph zones also saw a rise. Serious casualties increased by 29 per cent while slight casualties went up by 19 per cent. IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “The government and councils need to take stock on the effectiveness of 20mph signs. Recent advice, guidance and relaxation of regulations has all been about making it easier for councils to put 20mph limits in place. “More and more roads are being given a 20mph limit but they do not seem to be delivering fewer casualties. The IAM are concerned that this is because simply putting a sign on a road that still looks like a 30mph zone does not change driver behaviour. More evaluation and research is needed into the real world performance of 20mph limits to ensure limited funds are being well spent. In locations with a proven accident problem, authorities need to spend more on changing the character of our roads so that 20mph is obvious, self-enforcing and above all contributes to fewer injuries. In Europe, it is long term investment in high quality segregated or shared surfaces that have led to a much safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians" http://www.iam.org.u k/component/content/ article?id=20505 yawn..
  • Score: -2

1:23pm Thu 10 Jul 14

robynd says...

A classic example of the misuse of statistics. Yes - the number of accidents did increase in 20mph zones. But the actual miles of 20mph zones increased a lot more - so if you look at the accidents per mile - then the accident rate is low. Of course - the IAM failed to mention that little fact - so you can't say that 20mph zones are more dangerous.
A classic example of the misuse of statistics. Yes - the number of accidents did increase in 20mph zones. But the actual miles of 20mph zones increased a lot more - so if you look at the accidents per mile - then the accident rate is low. Of course - the IAM failed to mention that little fact - so you can't say that 20mph zones are more dangerous. robynd
  • Score: 2

2:58pm Thu 10 Jul 14

the original Homer says...

robynd wrote:
A classic example of the misuse of statistics. Yes - the number of accidents did increase in 20mph zones. But the actual miles of 20mph zones increased a lot more - so if you look at the accidents per mile - then the accident rate is low. Of course - the IAM failed to mention that little fact - so you can't say that 20mph zones are more dangerous.
That's your assumption, but it's not fact.
I queried this with the IAM and they said the figures were already based on accidents per mile.
The actual number of serious accidents in 20 mph zones increased more than tenfold (over 1000%). This this was mainly due to there now being more zones, which is why they reported the accidents per mile increase which was 26%.
This clearly does show that 20 mph zones are more dangerous.
The problem is that some drivers still think they are in a 30 mph zone, others drive at 5 mph and some road users think they are in a pedestrian precinct. Put those together and you get accidents.
The IAM conclusion was that 20 mph zones need to look completely different to 30 mph zones or they aren't safe. A few signs is not enough. That's probably why the Police were so quick to distance themselves from the scheme.
[quote][p][bold]robynd[/bold] wrote: A classic example of the misuse of statistics. Yes - the number of accidents did increase in 20mph zones. But the actual miles of 20mph zones increased a lot more - so if you look at the accidents per mile - then the accident rate is low. Of course - the IAM failed to mention that little fact - so you can't say that 20mph zones are more dangerous.[/p][/quote]That's your assumption, but it's not fact. I queried this with the IAM and they said the figures were already based on accidents per mile. The actual number of serious accidents in 20 mph zones increased more than tenfold (over 1000%). This this was mainly due to there now being more zones, which is why they reported the accidents per mile increase which was 26%. This clearly does show that 20 mph zones are more dangerous. The problem is that some drivers still think they are in a 30 mph zone, others drive at 5 mph and some road users think they are in a pedestrian precinct. Put those together and you get accidents. The IAM conclusion was that 20 mph zones need to look completely different to 30 mph zones or they aren't safe. A few signs is not enough. That's probably why the Police were so quick to distance themselves from the scheme. the original Homer
  • Score: 0

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