ALMOST two years after the first 20mph restrictions started to be rolled out in residential areas of York, not a single motorist has been stopped by police for breaking the limit.
There could be a number of explanations for this. It could be that the new limits have been a resounding success, and that they have encouraged motorists to drive more slowly.
It could be that police are simply not making enforcement of the new limits a priority. Or it could be that by and large most motorists were already driving at or below 20mph in the streets affected – because they are narrow residential streets where you can’t drive quickly.
We suspect the third of these is perhaps the most likely explanation. A statement from the city council released today in defence of the limits only serves to underline this: “The new limits are most appropriately applied to streets with already low prevailing speeds, such as residential roads... so would therefore be self-enforcing.”
Since this seems to be the case we, like Independent Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters, do question whether the £600,000 spent on implementing this scheme represents good use of money. At a time when budgets are tight, simply saying it was a manifesto commitment is not justification enough.
We want motorists to drive safely. But this new data suggests the 20mph limits have not materially affected driving habits. The new limits have already been rolled out in western York, and much of the city’s north side. The roll-out in the east of the city is really just beginning, however. Perhaps even now it is not too late for the council to have a rethink.