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20's Plenty lobbies EU for 20mph limits

Tuesday 18th September 2012

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign is using a European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) to lobby the EU Commission to make 20mph/30kmh speed limits the norm for residential roads.

20’s Plenty says it is collaborating with other organisations throughout Europe to use the new ECI ‘30kmh – making streets liveable!’ to “call attention to the community popularity of 20mph/30kmh speed limits for urban and residential roads”.

The ECI calls for 20mph/30kmh limits to become the accepted norm for urban and residential streets, with local authorities able to make exceptions where it is deemed that pedestrian and cyclist safety has been alternatively provided for.

Rod King, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “Many local authorities have made great progress in implementing 20mph speed limits in the UK for residential and urban streets.

“This important EU initiative goes further and recognises the universal aspiration of citizens and communities to enjoy the public space between their houses and share it equitably for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

“30kmh – making streets liveable is an excellent use of this new EU process and we look forward to working with supporters throughout UK and EU to make all our places better places to be.”

For more information contact Anna Semelyn, 20's Plenty campaign manager, on 07572 120439.

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Please sign the European Citizen's Initiative asking for 20mph at https://30kmh.eu/oct-web-public/?lang=en
This means that everywhere could have a default 20mph limit without needing the expense of signage changes. 54,750 signatures are need from the UK. Please share.
Anna Semlyen, York

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0

This article makes a mockery of the intention to inform lay persons like myself of proposals to improve raod safety. Perhaps your two protagonists could select trial by combat and do it elsewhere, their constant bickering and point scoring is boring.
Jim, Aberdeen

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+11

Rod - stick to your guns. On residential streets and estate roads 20 is plenty. There's no benefit in going any faster on these sort of roads and it creates a calmer environment for the communities otherwise blighted.
Slow Down for Safety

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-2

Rod says "If you have any ideas about how to set up a community of people who want to drive faster on residential streets and then shield them from inevitable outside influences ..."

Firstly, it has nothing to do with "driving faster", it is to do with not driving slower than is reasonable (30mph has been perfectly acceptable in my lifetime (born in 1950s)).
Secondly, no-one would vote for 20mph if you gave them all the facts, including the effects on road safety. You have acknowledged on this page that there was a 17% increase in KSI in Portsmouth 20mph last year - why is that not mentioned on 20'S Plenty website (which still talks of 22% fall in injuries)?
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-6

Thanks Rod but I've searched the Portsmouth City Council website and can find no mention anywhere of the figures you quote. Are these figures available anywhere on any report anywhere on the web, or were these figures given to you personally after you requested them (by FOI?)?

Of course randomised controlled trials can be used for 20mph, not just for single streets, but also for wider areas. I understand that you want your vision of society to be implemented for many reasons, irrespective of whether this is safer or less safe, but how would you measure the change in safety that occurs when 20mph speed limits are imposed?

What test would you accept?
Dave Finney - Slough

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Dave

I was quite specific and said that I obtained the figures from Portsmouth City Council.

Your idea of randomised control trials cannot be done for what really is complete communities who are re-evaluating the whole way in which residential streets are shared for use by all road users. It fails to recognise that the actual change of speed limit is only one of the later stages in this process.

In order to conduct randomised control trials you would need to ensure that the some communities stayed in the darker ages and were not open to influence by media, other communities etc and the benefits from driving slower.

If you have any ideas about how to set up a community of people who want to drive faster on residential streets and then shield them from inevtiable outside influences then I would be pleased to hear it. In the meantime the rest of the country can carry on implementing 20mph speed limits on residential roads.
Rod King, Warrington

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+3

Rod, may I ask again where you are getting your figures from? Have you got links to the relevant reports? And how do you suggest that the actual effects of 20mph should be determined?

To answer your question directly, I believe that I explained when we met but I explain scientific tests here:
http://speedcamerareport.co.uk/02_scientific_trials.htm

Obviously I wrote that for speed cameras, but the same test can be applied for 20mph (limits or zones).
Dave Finney - Slough

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+1

Dave

Portsmouth C C

I said that "no connection is evident to Portsmouth's 20mph policy."

May I remind you that on this topic you first introduced the 2011 Portsmouth casualty figures claiming the increase was due to 20mph limits. You have not presented any evidence to establish that. I am afraid it is no good claiming you want "scientific" tests unless you clarify exactly what you mean.
Rod King, Warrington

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+1

Rod, may I ask where you are getting your figures from? Portsmouth haven't produced a 3 or 4 year report, have they?

Also, it's good to see you are starting to find agreement with Idris when he says that figures must be compared to area-wide or national trends and that caution should be urged as changes could be due to “procedures for casualty recording”.

You are now claiming that increases in serious casualties “3 years later” cannot be due to your 20mph scheme, why not? If they had reduced would you say that reduction was not due to 20mph?

If so, how are we to determine the effect of 20mph on serious casualties? I suggested scientific tests, but you have previously rejected these. Would you be prepared to reconsider so that we can all find out what the truth is?
Dave Finney - Slough

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Hazard analysis and assessment is based on what ifs, possibles/probables, and evidence and they need to be investigated and acted upon. I am not prepared to allow increased casualties on our 20mph roads without asking why, and holding responsible those who are accountable. Idris Francis is now in possession of more recent data from Portsmouth, which should shed more light on this.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-5

Eric - you are, of course, entitled to your opinions of what is "probable and possible".
Rod King, Warrington

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+1

Rod

I am not an "anti-20mph campaigner", I am a [pro] road safety campaigner, which means I will argue against any measure that leads to more collisions or casualties - and that includes 20mph areas. You have confirmed that KSI in Portsmouth 20mph increased by 17% in 2011 (when traffic volume had probably decreased). I do not have a simple explanation for why it was even worse for their 30mph but two possible factors are displacement of traffic (avoiding the 20mph area) thus increasing volume (and hence casualties) in the surrounding 30mph, and another factor could be release of frustration (a bit like we see people accelerating hard after slowing for a speed camera). One thing is for sure, all possible factors should be considered and it is not good enough to hope that, one day, 20mph will magically make roads safer. It will not.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (4) | Disagree (8)
-4

Anti-20mph campaigners have been quick to seize on the 2011 Portsmouth figures to justify their position. However they cannot explain why Portsmouth had an increase of 52 (57%)in KSI on all roads in 2011 but KSIs on the 20mph roads only increased by 3 (17%) over the same period. Neither can they explain why other towns had equally high increases in KSIs but had not implemented wide-area 20mph limits.

There are many variables which may effect recorded KSIs but no connection is evident to Portsmouth's 20mph policy.
Rod King, Warrington

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Rod

When properly analysed (ie accounting for traffic volume and compared to national trend) Portsmouth was showing a detrimental effect on road safety from Year 1, as I explained in my 20mph Places Conference presentation in May.

Your position is not helped by your wishful thinking:
"When fully analysed then the results MAY show ..."
"They may also show that the increase could be due to ..."
Equally they may not.

We know that 20mph was implemented, I have presented the reasons why casualties will increase, and you have not countered those arguments.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-3

David

The change to 20mph limits in Portsmouth was made in 2008. The increase in total serious casualties from 2010 to 2011 was 3 years later. There is no evidence that these are connected.

Other towns had similar increases but had not implemented 20mph limits in 2008 (or since). Hence to automatically presume that Portsmouth's increase in 2011 was due to some latent effect of what happened in 2008 is only speculation.

When fully analysed then the results may show that casualty increases from 2010 to 2011 on 20mph roads were far less than any increases on 30mph or 40mph roads.

They may also show that the increase could be due to changes in procedures for casualty recording or hospital overnight admissions procedures.

Best regards
Rod
Rod King, Warrington

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Rod, that is your comment that I was asking you to clarify.

Road safety should not be based on what an unnamed person at a council might have said. It needs the full evidence over at least the period of the trial.

Have you any evidence that the large increase in serious injuries after the speed limit was reduced to 20mph in Portsmouth, is not due to the 20mph?

And how do you explain “the first rise in serious injuries in ten years” occurred when “the 20mph limit was implemented”?
Dave Finney - Slough

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-1

I believe that I was the first independent to analyse Portsmouth's results in detail because it made no sense to claim "encouraging signs" after only one year.
The can of worms I found is at at: http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/portsmouths-20mph-area/


Raw Portsmouth numbers are meaningless in the context of the steep falls cross the country at that time. My web pages showing for 2 years how most parameters, adjusted for traffic volume changes, were worse or much worse than national trends.

Portsmouth told me recently that the planned 3rd year report had been abandoned, and that it would cost too much to extract and analyse the data for me under FoI. I replied that I have already analysed data for 6m accidents from 1985 to 2007, it would be no problem for me to analyse the raw data for Portsmouth alone. I have just reminded them for the 3rd time that I have still not received the data.
Idris Francis

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-3

I said in my post, I was quoting from an article in Local Transport Today which said exactly this:-

A council spokesman pointed out that the 20mph limit was implemented in 2008 and this was the first rise in serious injuries in ten years.

While the number of casualties on 20mph streets increased in 2011, he said bigger rises were recorded on higher speed roads. “Although the vast majority of road space in the city is covered by 20mph limits, there were 30 serious accidents on such roads in 2011,” he said. “On roads 30mph and above – representing only a small minority of road space – there were 111 serious accidents.”
Rod King, Warrington

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-3

Rod, can we be absolutely clear?

1) Are you agreeing that there has been a large increase in serious injuries on those roads where the speed limit was reduced from 30mph to 20mph?

2) Are you now claiming that those roads in Portsmouth that remained at 30mph have seen even larger increases over the same period?

If so, we need to know the number of serious injuries in each year for the 30mph roads in Portsmouth since 3 years before the start of the 20mph scheme, until now. Do you have those figures?
Dave Finney - Slough

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+1

More or Less confirmed that casualties in 20mph had increased because the area covered by 20mph had increased and therefore no conclusions could be drawn. But when 30mph limits are reduced to 20mph casualties INCREASE despite reduced traffic volume. Rod King was present when I presented this at the 20mph Places Conference in May. He continues to quote survey results but the questions have been shown to be biased, invalidating any conclusions. It is casualties measured that matters. Rod King presents this issue as being about "hearts and minds" but it is actually "arms and legs" which get broken more in 20mph areas.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-1

Well, well.

I think the words that "More or Less" used were that the "reduced safety" claims for 20mph limits were "phoney baloney".

By people I meant the small minority (just 15% according to Brit Soc Attitudes Survey) who are against 20mph limits for residential roads.

And as was commented by the Portsmouth representative most of the increase was on the small number of 30mph roads.
Rod King, Warrington

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+1

Not surprisingly, Rod King is sounding desperate. Desperate to fog the issue of increased casualties in 20mph areas relative to what they were when those roads were 30mph.

"More or Less" did not debunk anything. It included an interview with a woman from the Bristol experiment who (if I remember correctly) admitted that the casualty results were no better with 20mph and hinted that they could be worse.

Rod's final paragraph is breathtakingly desperate. People are objecting not just because of change but because this [20mph] change is detrimental to road safety.

Rod - why does your website still talk about -22% injuries in Portsmouth and not mention the +57% KSI?
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-8

Regarding Portsmouth :-

A council spokesman pointed out that the 20mph limit was implemented in 2008 and this was the first rise in serious injuries in ten years. While the number of casualties on 20mph streets increased in 2011, he said bigger rises were recorded on higher speed roads. “Although the vast majority of road space in the city is covered by 20mph limits, there were 30 serious accidents on such roads in 2011,” he said. “On roads 30mph and above – representing only a small minority of road space – there were 111 serious accidents.”

Regarding national stats, the BBC "More or Less" program completely debunked the idea that an increase in casualties on the many more 20mph roads could be interpreted as them being less safe.

I am afraid that whenever we change our habits there will be some who object. The "false sense of security" logic is similar to the claims of "I drive better when I have had a few" and "I'd rather be thrown clear in a crash by not wearing a seat belt".
Rod King, Warrington

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+6

So it will take time?

In Portsmouth I'm sure people did change their behaviour in the largest 20mph experiment in Britain but, after 1 year serious injuries went up, after 2 years they were still higher, after 3 years PCC stopped publishing figures and now (4 years isn't it?) we hear that Portsmouth saw the 2nd highest increases in serious injuries in the country.

The question is: will it improve (and, if so, how long will it take)?
Dave Finney - Slough

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-2

Alan - I now see that you say that "It's going to need pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to make changes in attitudes".

How many extra casualties due to 20mph limits should we be expected to tolerate before seeing "the real results" when people finally change their attitudes?

And what if they never do?

And in what way are those extra deaths and injuries less "real" to those who suffer them in the early years of the policy?
Idris Francis

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-3

Alan Hudson's comment is illogical - drivers' speeds prior to 20mph limits would have been (partly) responsible for past accident rates, but failure to slow down when the limits are imposed would mean only that prior levels would continue, not that they would increase.

When rates rise - as in Portsmouth - should we blame drivers who fail to slow down, or blame the toxic combination of little change in average speed (some up, some down) and policies that make drivers, riders and pedestrians feel safer when they are not? As Eric points out, safety measures which rely on human behaviour changing are not a very good idea when it doesn't change. The bottom line is what happens to accident rates, and if 20mph limits are followed by rising rates they should be abandoned.
Idris Francis Peters field

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-3

Eric - It's going to need pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to make changes in attitudes if we want safer roads. Poor observation and assessment of potential dangers is number one cause of accidents, it needs a collective effort all round to adapt to this new speed limits of 20mph. This speed limit of 20mph will be in greater evidence than 30mph by the time all areas and counties have introduce it. It comes down to the three Es - Engineering, Education and Enforcement. It's going to be a gradual process and then and only then will we see the real results.
Alan S Hudson Dip DI. Diamond Advanced Instructor. Preston, Lancs.

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+3

Alan, increased casualties are more likely due to pedestrians (and cyclists) lulled into a false sense of safety and wandering out in front of vehicles without looking. That is compounded by some drivers doing much the same speed as previously (20mph limits usually require the previous mean speed to be no more than 24mph) and others making less noise because they are actually going slower. Portsmouth found that some travel faster after 20mph was introduced!

In the safety world, it is bad form (in fact, negligent) to create a more hazardous situation and expect (in this case) drivers to adapt (by travelling unnaturally slowly and being even more vigilant) to reduce the risk to its former (30mph) level. In summary, casualties are caused by vehicle and human coming together at the same time - evidence shows that slower vehicles and/or lower limits can increase the likelihood of that.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-6

Casualty increase is due to the fact that 90% of drivers are not making effort to reduce speed in these areas. This is partly from insufficient clear signage, and no apparent enforcement. In other words it's a bit like having a grand piano in the corner with no one to play it. I support these 20mph zones fully, but it needs effort to make them work.
Alan S Hudson Dip DI. Diamond Advanced Instructor.

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+4

I note that 20's Plenty are no longer claiming that 20mph areas are "safer", or that they reduce accidents. They are being disingenuous when they claim that 20mph areas are better when they know that casualties increase.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-5