The ‘blanket’ 20mph speed limit in Tower Hamlets has made some roads more dangerous, according to a councillor in the borough. (The Wharf)
Cllr Andrew Wood has questioned whether the limit has benefited road safety and called for a referendum to be held when the 18-month trial concludes in October.
He points to a survey of 427 residents in which more than half of respondents believed the borough’s roads had become more dangerous.
The 20mph speed limit was introduced in April 2015 onto all the roads controlled by the council, initially on an 18-month trial basis.
Cllr Wood says that not all drivers are obeying the limits, which leads to more overtaking, in turn increasing the risks for all road users. He has also questioned whether police cars and buses are sticking to the limit.
Cllr Wood told The Wharf: “Most residential roads should clearly be 20mph but all roads including A roads? I have followed buses and police cars driving at 30mph even though speed cameras are now issuing tickets at 28mph.
“Residents have sent me videos of dangerous overtaking, including by council vehicles.”
Cllr Wood also points to the results of a Tower Hamlets Council survey, in which 53% of the 900 respondents disagreed with the speed restriction.
He added: “There is a clear indication that many residents do not think it has made the roads safer and that, like other parts of the UK, we should settle the issue through a referendum.
“The council originally said before it introduced the ban that successful 20mph zones and 20mph speed limits should be self-enforcing.
“How can a ban be self-enforcing when so many people do not agree it has made the roads safer? It also means ambulances drive more slowly on emergency response as they cannot legally drive more than twice the speed limit on any road.”
Cllr Wood adds that he does support the use of 20mph limits on a vast majority of the roads in the borough.
He said: “I support the 20mph speed ban on the vast majority of roads in Tower Hamlets but I worry that on its own that it won’t improve road safety but that once it is made permanent that more effective safety tools will be ignored.”
Photo via Tower Hamlets Council