Pupils in Leeds become ‘two zero heroes’

10.09 | 4 October 2018 | | 13 comments

Children from a primary school in Leeds are working with local authorities to make 20mph the ‘new normal’ in residential streets and around schools.

20mph limits are set to be introduced in more residential areas across the city, as part of a Leeds City Council programme to reduce road casualties.

The new limits also aim to make walking and cycling more attractive options, leading to less traffic congestion, improved health, less noise, more social interaction and stronger communities.

The programme was officially launched at Robin Hood Primary School last week, with pupils participating in a range of road safety activities – including using a Speed Indication Device (SID) to monitor traffic speeds and remind drivers to slow down.

Pupils also used a brake reaction tester to demonstrate vehicle stopping distances and took part in practical pedestrian training.

Local police officers supported the education and training activities, and the rationale behind the 20mph scheme was explained to parents.

Leeds City Council says by visiting local schools, it hopes to raise awareness of the new limits and encourage a long term change in driver behaviour

Cllr Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Leeds City Council has a long-standing ambition to improve safety and quality of life on residential streets within Leeds, and the completion of this programme will help to meet this goal.

“It is great to see young people getting involved with this project, and getting a good understanding of why road safety is so important.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that by reducing traffic speeds within residential areas, people will feel safer and more confident on their local streets. This is particularly important for our most vulnerable residents, such as children, the elderly and those with disabilities, enabling them to travel more independently in their local communities.”

Leeds City Council says existing 20mph speed limits and zones have already seen significant improvements in road safety in many of the city’s residential areas, with up to 50% reductions in road injuries.



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    20 limit roads used as a link or a cut-thru are poorly complied with, whilst roads used by and predominantly serving self-contained communities, villages etc. tend to be better complied with, no doubt due to a better sense of civic responsibility and wanting to be seen to be compliant. Better blanket 20 limits than piece-meal 20s and 30s with motorists having to constantly look for changes in what are similar roads.

    I’d check with Google and others first Charles before stepping in front of one of their driverless cars. Sending a recent photo of yourself so that their vehicles are prepared for you if they ‘see’ you standing at the kerb, might also help. Personally, I don’t have any confidence in them, mainly due to the fact that they have already knocked some people over.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    So Hugh, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if you think I’m misrepresenting you, it sounds to me like what you are saying is that some roads encourage low speeds, and others don’t, and if you put a blanket 20mph limit across them all some will therefore be compliant, and others won’t. I cannot see the point.

    WRT autonomous cars, I can’t wait until they replace all the conventional cars. Then we will see that regulations, lines, signs and signals really are unnecessary, and we will be able to release all the capacity of our roads that has been sacrificed to “modern” road safety interventions. And I will at last be able to exercise my right to cross the road when and where I like – safe in the knowledge that the ‘driver’ after next will see me stepping out and courteously stop for me.

    Charles, England
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

    The 20 limits have been around for a while Charles, so there are plenty of roads to ‘test’ the speeds but I think we know by now that compliance will vary depending on the road itself, its purpose and where it is. Also, there will be many residential roads which will have never had any incidents at all, so delivering ‘anything worthwhile’ in terms of incidents is not conclusive but again, if compliance is good and speeds do reduce, a more civilised and respectful environment for those living there will result which to me is ‘worthwhile’.

    As an aside, I’m not a fan of driverless vehicles, but if and when they do ‘take over’, we should have maximum compliance and then we will notice the difference!

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (3)

    The issue here is not just speed it is the number of vehicles in the vicinity of schools and the pollution damage being caused to residents and school users alike. If we could convince more people to walk cycle scoot to school, and change the access roads to schools. The environment and vehicle usage would change dramatically. 20mph is not the silver bullet.

    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    Hugh, as we do not yet know whether blanket 20mph limits can give significant and sustainable road safety benefits, but we do know that it is by no means certain that they will even have a significant effect on traffic speeds, it is quite reasonable to assume that they won’t deliver anything worthwhile unless we are shown conclusive evidence that they will.

    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

    Rod, you are evading my points again and effectively reinforcing them.

    When you reference “evidence” of the effect that 20mph speed limits have on traffic speeds it is not a balanced appraisal of recent studies, rather it seems to be cherry-picked studies selected because they reinforce your wishes. Similarly with “evidence” that 20mph speed limits reduce casualties.

    “Evidence” you reference that people support 20mph limits is similarly one-sided, you never balance it with the views of those who don’t see any value in their use. And in any case, resorting to the use of logical fallacies (“appeal to authority” and “appeal to false authority”), to attempt to strengthen your case by association, actually weakens it in the eyes of all but the gullible.

    The “evidence” that I rely on is that which you refuse to acknowledge, that which contradicts the “evidence” that you reference. What we need is incontrovertible *evidence* that 20mph speed limits are actually a significant causal factor in the reduction of road casualties and not just that they correlate or coincide with such reductions in some place. Until we see that, I will remain sceptical of their usefulness.

    And by-the-way, attacking me because of who I am rather than directly countering my arguments is to use the logical fallacy known as the “ad hominem”.

    And WRT your final point, I think the use of children as political pawns to attempt to bolster support for a controversial and by no means proven intervention is despicable. Have they, and their parents had the opposing and balancing views explained to them to put what is being advocated into perspective and to help them decide whether they want to be involved?

    Charles, England
    Agree (7) | Disagree (3)

    Charles – you’ve told us several times in the past that ‘speed limits do not reduce speeds’ and yet in your first comment on this particular thread, you’ve said “what we need is strong evidence that the speed limits are likely to actually reduce traffic speeds”. We have to presume therefore that previously you only ‘thought’ it to be the case, but now you want evidence of that – we naturally thought you already had it! You don’t really know then?

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (3)


    When we reference evidence that 20mph limits reduce speed, you dismiss it.

    When we reference evidence that people support 20mph limits, you dismiss it.

    When we reference evidence that 20mph limits reduce casualties, you dismiss it.

    When we reference evidence that organisations are calling for 20mph/30kmh limits as standards you dismiss it.

    The only “evidence” you seem to rely upon is the evidence that you never provide.

    You rely upon nebulous ideas about not having rules of the road because these create non-compliance. Frankly, that is why you and your thoughts are losing support and respect.

    And you do all of this from behind an anonymous “bloke from England” stance that lacks credibility.

    So may I say congratulations to the children of Robin Hood Primary School for daring to suggest that speeding drivers take away from the children, the elderly and those with disabilities when they drive above the threshold of 20mph for inclusive, liveable and sustainable communities. Well done children and well done Leeds City Council.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (6) | Disagree (6)

    Rod, evidence that people *think* it is good (no matter how important they are) is not evidence that it works (and if anything, I’d say that is evidence that they have been misled). If that is the evidence you are relying on, then you need to make it clear in your statements that they are opinion-based and *not* evidence-based.

    Also, these arguments fall into the “appeal to authority”, or maybe even the “appeal to false authority” logical fallacy categories, so fall at the first hurdle anyway.

    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

    Charles let me answer your evidence requests :-

    “there is strong evidence to suggest that by reducing robbery within residential areas, people will feel safer and more confident on their local streets.”

    This you seem to accept. All the reports I have seen on wide-area 20mph limits have shown that resident support is high and gets higher after implementation. University of West of England analysis of a YouGov poll shows that 72% agree that it “means fewer serious accidents on the roads” and 56% agreed that it “means children can play more safely”.

    Those same reports also point to a reduction in average speeds, with higher reductions on faster roads. And reductions in casualties.

    If you have any “evidence” that when surveyed people think a 30mph limit is safer and enables more confidence than a 20mph limit then please provide it.

    With regard to the statement “There is strong evidence that wherever motorised traffic mixes with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds, the speed limit should be 30km/h.”

    That “should be” is supported by WHO, OECD, ETSC, DfT, ADPH, RCPCH, Public Health Wales, Public Wales England, Public Health Scotland, NICE, etc, etc.

    And if you want to add in AA, RAC, and IAMRoadSmart then they will also tell you that they support 20mph limits for residential areas and roads busy with vulnerable road users. That is not much difference in our position other than us expecting local authorities to simply justify where 30mph is appropriate.

    The world is changing Charles. All over the world people and governments are recognising that slower is safer. Yes we may be struggling with how to maximise compliance with the weight of police cuts and offence detection methods that are in still in the 20th century (really, cameras painted flourescent yellow and primarily only on death sites!).

    But 20mph/30kmh limits are becoming the norm in both public consensus and government thinking.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (2) | Disagree (5)

    Rod, have you ever seen that evidence or do you know where we can see it as it’s not referenced in the report? It seems to have been kept very well hidden – or is it only wise people who can see it?

    Charles, England
    Agree (5) | Disagree (5)

    “There is strong evidence that wherever motorised traffic mixes with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds, the speed limit should be 30km/h.”

    Not my words but those of the Global Network for Road safety Legislators in their Manifesto #4 Road Safety section on Road Safety Policy and Legislative Procedures.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (3) | Disagree (5)

    “There is strong evidence to suggest that by reducing traffic speeds within residential areas, people will feel safer and more confident on their local streets.” That’s as maybe, but before committing public resources to fund schemes such as this one, surely what we need is strong evidence that the speed limits are likely to actually reduce traffic speeds.

    That remark was like trying to justify the erection of “no robbery” signs on every street corner in a district by saying “there is strong evidence to suggest that by reducing robbery within residential areas, people will feel safer and more confident on their local streets.” Most right-thinking people would surely also expect to be shown the evidence that the proposed measure is likely to deliver the desired result – and would not accept it without.

    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (6)

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