Bradford 20mph zones move a step closer

11.03 | 2 January 2019 | | 15 comments

Bradford Council proposals to introduce new 20 mph zones in the city centre have been recommended for approval by the council’s executive committee which meets on 8 January.

The council is keen to introduce the 20mph zones ‘to protect vulnerable road users including children, pedestrians and cyclists by improving road safety at key locations’. It also hopes the lower speed limit will encourage more people to take up walking and cycling.

The proposed zone covers Bradford city centre within the inner ring road and areas around Bradford College and University campuses.

The proposal also includes a ‘significant number’ of roads around two primary schools, in a move designed to improve safety for pupils on their journeys to and from school.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council, said: “20mph zones are a proven way of making our roads safer and the proposed city centre zone will help make it a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists.

“By including a programme of 20mph zones around these two schools and nearby streets we can make a difference in protecting children from the dangers of speeding and promote responsible driving and road safety across the district.”

Click here to listen to a podcast featuring Jeremy Leach, 20’s Plenty for Us spokesperson, discussing 20mph limits with Nick Rawlings, editor of Road Safety News.


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    Contrary to what Charles intimated earlier, I’ve seen vehicles driving through roads with speed cushions or other physical retarders as if they weren’t there i.e. no slower than they would have otherwise been and similarly I’ve seen vehicles driving at a sedate, compliant pace in a signed only 20 limit. It’s down to who’s driving, where, what their driving and their general attitude to driving and desire to comply.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

    “I wonder when reality will impact on policy?”

    You mean the reality that policy cuts on traffic police and the absurdity of our camera use regulation means that our streets are becoming a free for all for illegal speeders.

    We have the technology and the resources to clamp down on the illegals on our roads but need the political will to do so.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (1) | Disagree (5)

    I agree with Pat’s last comment, but I take heart from the belief that whilst they may flout the laws in the unenforced limits, they will hopefully get caught and dealt with when they do the same in the enforced areas, which they inevitably will.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    Last weekend I especially noticed just how many local car drivers around our neighbourhoods seem to set their vehicle speed by the sound of their exhaust note. From mellow burbling V8 Mercedes to raspy little pocket rockets screaming around. Bikers have been doing it for decades but it is also becoming much more noticeable than ever with car drivers as well.

    Most of these drivers/riders don’t care one iota about the signed speed limits, regardless of the number on the sign and with minimal likelihood of a police presence, will probably continue using the streets for ‘play’.

    Local and national government can make all the laws they want but unless the resources necessary to enforce the rules are restored, the rate of non-compliance will just go up and up.

    I wonder when reality will impact on policy?

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

    Charles, Jeremy

    The actual difference between a 20mph zone (with at least a single physical calming device, and the other traffic calming devices being repeater signs or carriageway roundels) and a 20mph limit where the traffic calming devices are repeater signs or carriageway roundels) can be minimal. A whole set of roads can be designated as a 20mph zone due to the existence of a single speed bump or other physical device. Many authorities are implementing such 20mph zones where they are setting wide-area 20mph limits and can use a legacy physical calming device.

    And Charles is merely voicing an opinion about 20mph limits “not working”.

    Perhaps he could say whether he obeys 20mph limits.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (2) | Disagree (7)

    Good point Jeremy. In “20mph Zones” (proper noun) the speed limit is irrelevant as it is the mandatory road engineering that reduces speeds. It is a political (hence misleading) name, as they may as well be called “Traffic Calmed Zones”. Either way, they work whereas “20mph limits” do not (AKA “20mph zones” (common noun) by some, just to increase the ambiguity).

    Charles, Birmingham
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

    Worthwhile noting – in respect of the evidence base behind the ‘proven’ comment – that this initiative from Bradford is about zones and not limits. A useful note on the differences can be found here:

    In respect of slower speeds and their ability ‘merely’ to reduce levels of injury, Safe Systems thinking endorses measures that mitigate the effects of a collision rather than attempting to prevent the event as being the more realistic and pragmatic endeavour. A world free from collisions arising from the use of the road transport system seems idealistic and unrealistic, especially in the present climate, but a world free from serious injury or death arising from those collisions feels like an achievable, albeit long term aspiration.

    If Bradford are investing specifically in 20mph zones (rather than their lighter touch counterpart – 20mph limits) in order to create environments in which the worst outcomes of collisions may be avoided then that’s something to applaud.

    Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

    I thought it would be taken as read that one wouldn’t be following too close to the vehicle in front Bob. I wasn’t necessarily referring to situations where one is behind another vehicle anyway, it’s about being able to stop for the unexpected. ‘Always be able to stop’ should be the golden rule.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

    Hugh. I am somewhat surprised in what you now say, that one can stop easily and therefore not collide with something that happens in front of you when driving at 20 mph as the last submission that you made in ‘December 22% higher Collisons’ you say that one cannot stop as one is too close to do so.

    So what is it? can stop or can’t stop?

    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)


    In the distance a 20mph vehicle can stop a 30mph vehicle is still travelling at 24mph. Hence in many situations a driver at the slower speed can take avoiding action.

    Regarding cyclists, the differential speed between a 15mph cyclist and a 30mph car is 3 times higher than a 20mph car.

    Just because you are travelling slower you don’t need to move closer to the vehicle in front. Its not “inevitable” at all.In fact I would suggest that drivers who are driving slower have already recognised no need to be close to the vehicle in front.

    By all means campaign for people to leave plenty of space in front. Its very beneficial and laudable.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (4) | Disagree (6)

    Bob – at a steady speed below 20mph one can see and stop for just about anything, which is the reasoning behind the 20 limits – on the other hand, getting motorists to realise that and comply with it, is of course the big problem.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (5)

    Rod, I understood that your argument for speed reductions but that merely means less degree of injury to pedestrians . It doesn’t solve the problems of traffic colliding with pedestrians or other vehicles for that matter. So there is a larger issue here. By reducing speeds we are both agreeable that it mitigates the degree of possible injury to pedestrians. However that is like merely providing a plaster on an open cut. It doesn’t prevent the cut from happening in the first place.

    I would like to see all traffic travel slower when and where necessary but that by itself will not solve the problem. As traffic will be required to travel slower it will inevitably travel closer together and that could make the situation worse. not better.

    The 20 mph scheme would not be required at all in order to reduce injuries if drivers were encouraged to give safer distance and not be allowed, by ‘training’, to be far too close together. With more space to see and be seen and more space and time to stop in there would be a massive reductions in collisions and therefore injuries and deaths.

    Agree (6) | Disagree (4)

    > Perhaps you could tell me how a child needs lower speeds when walking to school only when they are close to the school. Is there some magic bubble protecting them for the rest of the journey?

    No, but generally the further out you are from a school, the less likely one is to be enthralled and distracted by fellow friends.

    Unfortunately I have no scientific proof of this, but merely my experience as someone who spent the first part of this millennium with PVA glue on one’s hands

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (4) | Disagree (11)


    You seem to accept that lower speeds make roads safer where in your opinion they are necessary, but believe that they don’t make them safer where in your opinion they are not necessary. This is illogical.

    Perhaps you could tell me how a child needs lower speeds when walking to school only when they are close to the school. Is there some magic bubble protecting them for the rest of the journey?

    There is plenty of evidence that slower speeds make roads safer. It is accepted by all road safety organisations. And perhaps you can tell me what “absolutely irrefutable evidence” there is that 30mph is a safe speed limit for where pedestrians and cyclists mix with motor vehicle. After all, with 100,000 casualties per annum it seems to be failing the people who it is supposed to protect.


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (6) | Disagree (14)

    Sorry to say I didn’t know that slowing the speed down in 20 mph zones is a ‘proven’ way of making our roads safer.

    Over the last 10 years or so of implementation of such schemes not one authority or Councilor has had the factual and absolutely irrefutable evidence supporting those words. As yet the evidence is still inconclusive but full of hopeful speculations by those authorities that have supported and adopted it.

    I am sure that it is news to many of us. Don’t get me wrong I am all for lower speeds where considered necessary, like in poor and inclement weather conditions, during the hours of darkness, close to schools etc. I am sure that these roads register some of the lowest speeds in the districts of bradford. Thereby drivers are more likely to obey them.

    Agree (14) | Disagree (9)

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