20 mph Speed Zones Fast for Yorkshire

A section of Pateley Bridge is restricted to a 20mph speed zone. It would be hard to go faster in the town and why would you want too anyway?

20 mph zones are becoming increasingly popular with local residents because statistics seem to suggest 20mph zones are effective in reducing fatalaties. It also makes for a more pleasing environment with parents happier to let children play on the roads. York and Sheffield are amongst Yorkshire towns and cities that treat 20mph speed zones as the default speed limit in built-up areas.

Background to Speed Zones

Evidence suggests that if people are hit by a car at 20mph only 1 in 10 will die as a result. If the speed is 30mph it jumps to 5 in 10. At 40mph most die.

20 mph speed limits also encourage more environmentally friendly methods of transport such as cycling and walking.

20 mph speed limits are not always popular with motorists who argue it is unnecessarily strict to keep speed down to 20mph. Also, the difficulty of 20 mph speed limit zones is that most drivers ignore them anyway. To be effective 20mph speed limits need to be enforced with speed cameras or road calming methods introduced – such as narrowing roads.

Evidence on 20mph Speed Zones

• 20mph zones have made a major contribution to London’s road
safety record. In areas where zones have been introduced there has
been a 42 per cent reduction in casualties.
• The estimated benefit to London from casualty reductions in its
400 existing 20mph zones has a value of at least £20 million per
year.
• There is some evidence to suggest 20mph limits may make a
positive contribution to encouraging walking and cycling,
improving traffic flow and reducing emissions but insufficient
research has been done on these potential wider effects.

20 mph speed limits at DFT

Campaigner Myths against 20 MPH Speed Zones

The safety organisations 20 is Plenty and Environmental Transport Association ask “Why we can’t” rather than explore “How we can” when it comes to 20’s Plenty. Here are some false road blocks which may be put in your way :-

Speed Bumps

You can’t put in 20 mph without physical traffic calming. That is both unpopular and expensive. No-one will want it. NOT CORRECT

Slower journeys

If you slow traffic down to 20 mph then it is obvious that journeys will take 50% longer. This will cause delays and is not acceptable. NOT CORRECT

Police won’t enforce it.

The police will not enforce 20 mph. Therefore it will be ignored by motorists. NOT CORRECT

It increases Pollution

If you put in speed bumps and drivers accelerate between them, then this constant acceleration and braking does increase fuel usage. But where 20mph limits are put in place then this encourages steadier driving using less fuel with less pollution. It also encourages people to walk or cycle and therefore reducing their car-created pollution entirely. Hence it is NOT CORRECT that 20mph limits increase pollution.

All of these are myths which can be shown to be false. Click on the buttons on the left to see why they are false and the argument against them.

Support your local campaign for 20 mph speed zones – it makes sense!

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