Collisions and casualties drop in Brighton’s 20mph area

12.00 | 27 November 2014 | | 7 comments

The local council says that fewer road collisions are happening in Brighton & Hove streets where 20mph limits have been introduced, and the majority of residents consulted about extending the limits support the idea.

The council has monitored collisions and casualties from Phase 1 of 20mph limits in central Brighton & Hove, introduced in April 2013.

The figures show a 17% reduction in collisions and 12% reduction in casualties, compared with the average of the preceeding three-year period.

Prior to the introduction of 20mph the annual average in the three-year period 2010-2013 was 318 collisions, whereas under 20mph this fell to 264 collisions.

With regard to casualties the previous annual average was 371, but with the introduction of a 20mph speed limit this dropped to 327. There has also been a 20% reduction in serious casualties, down from an average of 53 to 43. On average, there has been one person a year killed on the roads in the Phase 1 area, but since the introduction of 20mph there have been no road deaths.

Councillor Pete West said: “We’re getting increasing support on 20mph from residents who feel it makes, or will make, their streets safer, more pleasant places to live. 

“This is for the simple reason that you or your children are far more likely to survive being hit by a car at 20mph than you are at 30mph. Now, we also have the figures from Phase 1 showing it makes streets safer.

“Interestingly, support was highest in areas with pre-existing 20mph limits.  That shows residents are seeing first-hand the positive impacts lower speeds can bring for safety and quality of life.”

News stories about 20mph limits tend to produce lengthy discussion threads, but often these comprise multiple posts by a small number of contributors. To counter this, we are encouraging contributors to state their views once and then allow others to do the same – and then let the readers make up their own minds about the story. We welcome open debate and views from all quarters, but would like to avoid discussion threads, particularly on 20mph stories, becoming a dialogue between a small number of contributors – which can become repetitive and a little tedious for other readers. Thanks for your co-operation on this point.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News


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    Once again we have smudging of figures ie making them fit or made available at a more appropriate time in order to justify earlier decisions and the cost of the move to a 20mph limit.

    As said the volumes of traffic though phase 1 and 2 although investigated for some unknown reason cannot be included in this report and no doubt will be of little significance later after the decision has already been made for phase 3.

    The comparison of a three year period prior to and only a 2 year period will obviously obscure or fudge the correct correlation and outcome that would be a more correct and equal comparison. Could it be that if they had waited for the 3rd year would it show something other than a positive effect on road casualties.

    Finally in the report is the fact that on one phase there was an alteration to a one way system which would by its nature reduce the traffic flow on those road and dramatically reduce the risk of incidents.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The report contains no mention of changes in traffic volume in the 20mph areas. Nor does it mention casualty trends in the rest of Brighton, or in Sussex, or nationally come to that. It could be that the 20mph measurements are worse than elsewhere.

    The report is also unclear in many ways, a view shared by some of the local Councillors.

    Perhaps they’ve also been talking to their neighbours in Worthing who recently rejected 20mph.

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Researcher, St Albans
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    I worry that publicising figures for just one year could be abused. My understanding is that any period shorter than 3 years will make the figures vulnerable to being skewed by unusual incidents.

    While I believe that 20mph limits will improve road safety, I fear that publicising figures from a single year is a dangerous precedent that could backfire if there is an unusual incident.

    Max Sussex
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    Interesting. Yes, the hit at 30/20 cliche is rather tired, plus average impact speeds are below 20mph in 30mph and higher limits. Good question – how do actual speeds and traffic compare with the previous 30mph limit?

    Paul Biggs, Staffodshire
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    Probably a vain hope Nick because nobody ever gets ahead in these Science v Religion discussions. If Science gets the last word then Religion has to retaliate and so on ad nauseum ad infinitum.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Nice headline but I think it has little to do with the recent very successful RSGB national conference in Brighton or maybe locals were told about it and behaved knowing the eyes of the road safety community were watching. Once again thanks for a professionally managed excellent event.

    Peter Westminster
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    Re-the penultimate para. So pedestrians don’t mind themselves or their children being hit by a vehicle, as long as they survive i.e only injured and not killed? This misses the point of slower speeds completely I’m afraid.

    Final comment: I’d be interested to know some actual speed reductions achieved i.e. how much compliance there is.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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