Edinburgh prepares for phase three of 20mph rollout

12.00 | 17 July 2017 | | 8 comments

Primary school children in Edinburgh have been creating 20mph-themed artwork in support of the ongoing rollout of 20mph roads across the city.

Phase one of the scheme went live in July 2016. At the time, the council said the new limits are aimed at increasing safety for all road users as well as creating a calmer, more people-friendly environment in shopping and residential streets.

Phase three of the project, covering areas west of the city such as Clermiston and Clovenstone, is due to come into effect on 16 August. Preparations are already underway, including the erection of new signs.

In anticipation of the launch, children from the local Flora Stevenson’s Primary School have been producing 20mph-themed posters to ‘drive home the message that slower speeds are safer’.

Slogans used by the children include ‘30’s dirty – so don’t do it; 20’s plenty – so do it’, and ‘Go slow – 20’s plenty’.

City of Edinburgh Council says driving more slowly reduces the number and severity of casualties, adding that a person is seven times more likely to survive if they are hit by a car driving at 20mph, than if they are hit at 30mph.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: "These pupils have done a great job creating some really eye-catching artwork urging drivers to watch their speed.

“With children, older people and those with mobility or sensory issues most at risk from excessive speeds, it’s a no-brainer to introduce 20mph in residential and shopping streets across the city, as well as the city centre, as we work towards Vision Zero where everyone is kept safe from the risk of being killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“If you live or work in the Phase 3 area, look out for the new 20mph signs going up in the coming weeks, ahead of the new limit coming into force on 16 August.”

Irene Brennan, recently retired head teacher of Flora Stevenson’s Primary School, said: "20mph is a huge benefit to children at Flora Stevenson’s school because we’re on an extremely busy crossroads and if the traffic is slowed down then it gives the children a better opportunity to judge the speed of traffic for crossing.

"Obviously children are more badly hurt if they get hit by a car travelling at 30 than a car travelling at 20 so I think it’s really important in the city that we do slow down and look after the children."

In June 2017, researchers at the University of Edinburgh launched a new study which will evaluate the impact of 20mph speed limits in two British cities – Belfast and Edinburgh – over the next three years.



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    Pat you beat me to it with your last submission. Mine was in line but I said almost the same thing.

    Hugh whilst stating the obvious you have missed the obvious. What happens to drivers in traffic queues. Human nature takes over and they switch off. At such slow speeds like in a heavy traffic cue they revert to what they would do in that situation. They lose interest in what’s going on in front and rely on the vehicle in front for inspiration … and get none. So they start fiddling with other things, eating, smoking, phoning, setting the radio, drinking, looking around etc.

    If they see an opportunity arise where they consider that their attention is no longer required on driving skills let alone road safety they will shut off. Road safety is not in many drivers minds and certainly nothing like to the degree that we place upon it. If it is not prominent in their minds they start to lose interest. So their minds are no longer in the driving mode but in the ‘following on mode’ and only interested in the rear lights of the vehicle in front, vision fixation. Add to that the normal understanding that if the car in front slows then I slow and the slower we are going then the closer I can be and safe should the driver in front stop then I can stop also.

    In a road scene such as the 20 mph one cars will travel closer than before and peripheral vision is limited. Perhaps non existent. If however they gave good safe distance then things would improve but we need to educate drivers to stay focused and to also give good safe space for the 20 scheme to work.

    Tell you what, let’s add humps every 10 yards or so on all 20 mph roads that should wake them up and give them something further to consider. By the look of things its coming.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    I think I’ve said before that any appraisal of 20 limits should involve stopping the non-compliant drivers and asking a) were they aware of the limit? and b) why were they not complying? That should give the authorities enough to work on. My own view is that even with huge “20 mph limit!” banners stretched across the road and a continuous array of flashing speed limit roundels and a klaxon, some drivers will still not notice them – tunnel vision and a head in the clouds mindset is a big problem with drivers – little wonder they don’t notice peds.

    Forced slower speeds via physical retarders seems to be the only solution – pity they can’t be designed to be selective. I do recall prototype air-filled speed humps which deflated rapidly if slow approach speeds were detected though.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    As many know, the DfT commissioned Atkins, Aecom and Professor Mike Maher to look into 20mph schemes. In February 2016, Atkins provided a presentation entitled: 20mph Research –Purpose, Methodology and Early Findings.

    One of the things they were measuring was ‘driver awareness’ of 20mph speed limits. However the earlier questionnaires did not cover ‘driver inattention’.

    There is a school of thought that goes along the lines that in 20mph speed limits some drivers consider slower speeds to be inherently safer and so pay less attention to driving. So whilst driver awareness of 20mph limits may be quite high, alongside it may also be increasing levels of driver inattention to the task of driving in those same 20mph limits. Pedestrians may also pay less attention if they too think it is safer.

    In those situations slower speeds coupled with less driver and pedestrian attention may well increase the risk of a collision.

    The Atkins lead confirmed that she would cover this point in the ongoing studies. Let’s see what the report says when it eventually arrives in 2018.

    Pat, Wales
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    Bob: The idea (fairly obviously I would have thought) is that if peds do walk out when traffic is approaching at a now slower speed – the drivers can now see and stop in good time, whereas at (previous) higher speeds they couldn’t. It’s an over-riding principle of speed management. Not obvious?
    ps the highway is not for children to play out on!

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    In June of this year we were told that an enquiry was to commence in Edinburgh to help prove or disprove whether 20 mph schemes work. As I said on that matter it was to be a 3/4 year study and no doubt by that time all the streets would be covered as required. So basically a fait accompli. As a result of this enquiry we may at least or at last have the proof that the scheme works or not.

    I have previously replied to that post that we surely must have gathered enough actual information and not merely supposition from intermediary information over the years that would answer the simple question as to whether it works as a road safety measure and not as is now being depicted by some as the saviour of the planet. Something to be adopted world wide.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    It is a wrong presumption that lowering the speed to 20 mph will in fact make roads safer for pedestrians as it does nothing to prevent pedestrians from being the author of their own demise and walking out when traffic is approaching. Further to that, as it frustrates many drivers they will find other streets that they can use at higher speed and make those streets more dangerous by default. Only by making traffic free streets and not just slowing them down can children play out in them and further measures will have to be put in place to reduce the effects of tailgating ensuring that drivers are not encouraged to do so and end up becoming too close to the vehicle in front and all the dangers that ensue.

    One is making one road safety theme a cause for further increasing the danger in other road safety areas.

    In such slow traffic conditions drivers are more likely to become distracted in ways other than keeping an eye out for dangers.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Once again – people who perhaps should know better are wrongly emphasising that hitting someone at 20 mph is better than hitting someone at 30 mph as if that was the whole point of lower speed limits – an even better idea is don’t hit them at all. The idea of slower speeds in these roads is that it gives more time for drivers to see and react so that no peds are hit.

    “Madam – your child’s just been hit by a car!”
    “At what speed ?”
    “20 mph”
    “Phew – that’s alright then”

    Also referring to the child’s poster ’20s plenty –
    so do it!’ Wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s the upper limit, not the target speed.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I believe that using children in this way is wrong for at least three reasons:
    1. It amounts to the brainwashing and politicising of vulnerable children. Sure, appropriate speeds are essential, but speed limits are a controversial and unproven measure with respect to reducing casualties, so abusing children in this way by misleading them about the powers of speed limits is inexcusable.
    2. Pushing children into the forefront as pawns in this clearly politically motivated exercise is a disgrace.
    3. I thought schools were forbidden from promoting partisan views without balancing it with the opposing views. They certainly need to be wary of presenting the notion that all is takes are a few speed limit signs to make motorists slow down, without also presenting the counter-view that unenforced speed limits are generally useless in these circumstances, and a fundamental shake-up of the road system design is needed before a step-change in safety (and utility) will be achieved.

    Charles, England
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