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Author Topic: New 20 miles per hour speed limits - on roads in Bristol, and elsewhere?  (Read 10412 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: October 05, 2014, 12:04:24 am »



As a delivery driver in south Bristol, in my day job, I have somewhat mixed feelings about these new speed limits.

Firstly, I do fully agree with the need to reduce the number of incidents where the speed of any road vehicle is a contributory factor in any road traffic collision / incident.

However, I also wonder whether the introduction of a blanket 20 mph speed restriction on most of the roads in south Bristol is the best way of achieving this.

I drive a vehicle which is limited in speed to the speed limit on the road, if you see what I mean. The number of other vehicles behind me, clearly waiting for the merest chance of an opportunity to overtake me, is rather interesting. I even had a cyclist pull out to overtake me recently.  Roll Eyes

A couple of points from me, if I may, on this subject:

Does my own observance of the new 20 mph restrictions on most of the roads in south Bristol cause other drivers to take a chance on overtaking me - which they would not otherwise do?

Do my customers appreciate that, due to my driving at up to 20 mph rather than 30 mph on my way to deliver them, their goods will generally be delivered 33% later than they would otherwise have been?
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Timmer
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 06:41:20 am »

As a motorist I don't have an issue with 20mph limits on housing estates, around schools and accident black spots in a built up area. What I do take issue with is councils blanketing the whole area of a town or city with 20mph limits on roads that 20mph just isn't suited to and therefore ignored by most drivers.

Maybe it's just me but driving at 20mph isn't very easy over a long distance as you have to keep the car in low gear which isn't a natural way to drive both for the driver and vehicle. So yes Chris there could be a case where a driver is dutifully observing the 20mph speed limit on a wider road could be a contributing factor towards an accident caused by frustrated drivers attempting a dangerous overtaking manouvre.   

What amazes me is how little opposition there has been to bringing in so many 20mph zones in many towns and cities where at times it just looks like another attack on motorists from car hating lib dem councils. Of course these zones will never be reversed as whoever does try to will be accused of killing people by making roads more dangerous.
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John R
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2014, 09:59:38 am »



Do my customers appreciate that, due to my driving at up to 20 mph rather than 30 mph on my way to deliver them, their goods will generally be delivered 33% later than they would otherwise have been?

And has your employer changed the number of deliveries you're expected to do and/or the time it takes as a result?



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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2014, 11:04:08 am »

Bet you can't guess what I think!

Couple of points:

  • 20mph speed limits do not reduce people's speed by 33% - people do not average 30mph in 30mph zones. The Portsmouth study showed that, overall, the average speed dropped from 19.4mph to 18.5mph - so Chris' boss needn't worry too much about rescheduling deliveries. What's important is that on roads where people had previously gone faster than 24mph, the average speed dropped by 7mph.
  • There has been little opposition to 20mph zones because they benefit the people who live in them, to the (very minor) detriment of those who are merely passing through. Some people have double standards here - they're happy to steam through other people's neighbourhoods creating noise, danger and air pollution, but they'd like people to slow down where they live. I don't think it unfair to describe this as hypocrisy.
  • Blanket 20mph zones are easier for everyone to understand - frequent changes of speed limit on a journey are confusing and require extra signage and street clutter.
  • These limits apply to cyclists as much as they do to other road users. The fact that when travelling at 20mph it is possible for you to be overtaken by a reckless cyclist is not an argument against 20mph limits, and neither is the fact that a reckless motorist may overtake you. 


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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 12:54:19 am »

And has your employer changed the number of deliveries you're expected to do and/or the time it takes as a result?

Ha ha ha.  No.  Roll Eyes

Bet you can't guess what I think!

Oh, I rather think I can.  Wink

I suspect my employer is rather more likely to take the 'squirrel view', and claim that "the average speed dropped from 19.4mph to 18.5mph", rather than accepting that my delivery van's restricted speed has been reduced from 30mph to 20mph.  Roll Eyes

These limits apply to cyclists as much as they do to other road users. The fact that when travelling at 20mph it is possible for you to be overtaken by a reckless cyclist is not an argument against 20mph limits, and neither is the fact that a reckless motorist may overtake you.

I never said it was.  Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 09:16:11 am »

Interested to know how your speed limity-thing works, Chris - is it some combination of GPS/WiFi location sensing linked to a digital map of speed limits?

I take your point that if a vehicle is restricted to 20mph, then that is likely to bring its average speed below the 18.5mph I mentioned.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 01:47:22 pm »

Quote
From Bristol 24/7:

Tories to force debate on 20mph speed limits

Conservative councillors in Bristol are to force through a debate on the introduction of 20mph speed limits across Bristol.

A 'golden motion' calling on the mayor George Ferguson to stop the rollout while a "proper evaluation" of how useful the schemes are has been proposed.

The debate is guaranteed to go ahead and voted on at full council on November 11.

See full report: http://bristol247.co.uk/channel/news-comment/daily/transport/tories-to-force-debate-on-20mph-speed-limits

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Tim
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2014, 03:55:37 pm »

Interesting discussion.  We have had a 20 limit on our road in Bath (which is a bit of a narrow rat run at peak times) for about a year now and I would say that it makes no difference to traffic speed.  The road is too windy to break the previous limit and everyone drives at between 20 and 30 as they always have.  It does seem to have caused a minority of drivers (usually suited gents in German cars and school running mothers in huge people carriers I have to say - ie those who do the same journey every day), to drive aggressively and impatiently though.

I can well believe that a 0.9 mph average speed drop is all that has been achieved.  But I am sceptical as to whether the road is actually safer.  What is needed IMHO is a few cops handing out tickets and some bollards to stop idiots driving on the pavement (oh how I would love to install some one night just to watch people pranging their cars on them the following morning whilst driving where they shouldn't be).  They would be more effective than a 20 limit. 
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 05:13:34 pm »

I can well believe that a 0.9 mph average speed drop is all that has been achieved. 

The reduction in average speed is a side-effect of these limits - their main objective is to reduce the peak speed, not the average speed. According to the Portsmouth study, they've been very effective in achieving this.

It does seem to have caused a minority of drivers...to drive aggressively and impatiently though.

I agree. Since these limits came into force I have on two occasions been overtaken by vehicles which I would characterise as being driven aggesively and unsafely. I don't think the fact that some people drive badly is a reason to oppose lower speed limits, though; stricter penalties and driving bans for offenders would seem a better approach to me.



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Tim
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 05:32:38 pm »

I don't think the fact that some people drive badly is a reason to oppose lower speed limits, though; stricter penalties and driving bans for offenders would seem a better approach to me.


Agree completely.  And I support 20 zones in residential areas.  But we must not see them as a panacea.  We need better traffic policing.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 05:54:10 pm »

Interested to know how your speed limity-thing works, Chris - is it some combination of GPS/WiFi location sensing linked to a digital map of speed limits?

It is actually nothing to do with any GPS / WiFi location sensing.  In fact, our on-board satellite navigation equipment software (updated as recently as September 2014) still cheerfully informs me that the speed limit on most of the 'main roads' in south Bristol is 40mph, or 30mph.

Err ... no, actually.  Immediately on leaving the A370 on the slip road inbound at Ashton, for example, the road signs warn me that I am entering a 20mph zone.  So I engage the rather basic vehicle speed limiter (kindly provided as standard by Mercedes in many of their Sprinter vans) which then restricts my progress to a maximum of 20mph, within that whole zone.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 06:23:40 pm »


I asked a Reading Councillor about this. He said that there were very few serious pedestrian accidents on Reading suburban roads, with the exception of King's Road (the A4/A329 Eastward from Reading) where there were frequent (yearly or so) fatalities.

20mph is reasonable on estate roads - it's hard to go faster. On main town approach roads 20mph should reasonably be limited to where there is material conflict between vehicles and pedestrians, like King's Road Reading, (because of schools and the Tech. Coll.) as evidenced by the butchers' bill.

OTC
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Brucey
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 08:18:35 pm »

The road I currently live on had a 20mph speed limit implemented a few months ago.  It just appeared one day, whilst I was at work.  There was no information given to residents, except through the local newspaper that I don't buy and the council website that I don't read unless I need to contact them.

It doesn't appear to make much different.  Most people still drive around 25mph on clear stretches then slow down for parked vehicles, as they would have done previously.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2016, 10:15:31 am »

Bristol now has a Labour Mayor and a Labour-run council. Interesting times... Mayor Marvin says he will:

Quote

Ask all councillors to work with their Neighbourhood Partnerships to undertake a review of RPZs and 20mph zones in their areas and make recommendations on how they can be made to work.


Funny old game, dog-whistle politics. I think what he means is:

Quote

I won't make any changes to RPZs and 20mph zones, but I am very happy to take the votes of people who think I should.

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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 03:39:00 pm »

Probably. At least with RPZs as they should, at least in theory, start to bring in money, rolling them back would prove costly. Removing the 20mph zones would also have to paid for, but would not lead to a loss of income; probably most likely is that they will simply not be extended.
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