TfL plans more pilots but ABD calls for 20mph moratorium

12.00 | 18 March 2015 | | 3 comments

While Transport for London (TfL) has outlined plans for eight new pilot 20mph schemes, the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) is calling for a halt to the introduction of 20mph schemes until 2017.

The eight pilot schemes will be introduced on the TfL road network (TLRN) as part of its “continuing work to reduce road casualties, increase active travel and enhance the areas where people live, work and shop”.

However, the ABD says no new 20mph speed limits should be allowed until a three-year study by the DfT into all the impacts of 20mph speed limits is published in 2017.

The first confirmed TfL pilot location, Commercial Street in Tower Hamlets, will be introduced in April when all borough roads in Tower Hamlets are made 20mph. Once implemented, the route could then be extended out to cover the wider "Shoreditch Triangle" and sections of the A10, in line with Hackney’s 20mph borough wide aspirations.

TfL says the remaining seven pilots will be introduced throughout 2015 and 2016 on a rolling basis and in line with borough-wide introductions where possible.

Almost 25% of London’s roads are now 20mph, with borough-wide limits operating in Islington, Camden and the City of London.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: “Lower speeds have the potential to significantly improve road safety while enhancing the environment for walking and cycling.

“As well as actively supporting and funding the installation of 20mph zones and limits on borough roads across London, we have also been looking at the TLRN to see where further 20 mph limits could provide significant benefits. These locations will help us to better understand the role that 20 mph limits could play going forward.”

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “Although large sections of the TLRN are main arterial roads, some sections pass through busy town centres, which are more attuned to lower speed limits as they have high pedestrian and cyclist numbers.

“Piloting 20mph speed limits form a key part of our continuing work to make central London safer, pleasant and more attractive for all.” 

However, the ABD says the campaign group 20s Plenty for Us is “increasing its efforts to have blanket 20mph speed limits established in as many towns and cities as possible… because it realises that the study results are likely to undermine many of its claims for the benefits of 20mph limits”. 

Brian Gregory, ABD chairman, said: "The campaign in favour of 20mph limits is nothing to do with road safety – it is an attempt at social engineering.

"The ABD believes that everyone has the right to choose the mode of transport that most suits them for each journey they make. They should not be made to feel guilty for choosing to use a car. Speed limits should be set for genuine road safety reasons and not to discourage car use."


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    I appreciate your comments Rod. But I believe that the speed campaign is flawed in a number of ways and therefore will not reduce accidents as you suppose. I have experience of driving in some 20 mph areas and on all those occasions I have been dangerously tailgated .

    Unless drivers, and let’s face it they are the greatest perpetrators of incidents, are made aware of what is required of them then the lower speed will mean nothing to them and incidents and accidents will continue.

    Let’s therefore agree to differ on that one. Time will tell.

    Bob Craven Lancs….Space is Safe Campaigner
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    I wonder if your premise that lower speeds will automatically reduce the distance between vehicles has any basis. Even if it did, in the distance a 20mph car can stop a 30mph car is still doing 24mph.

    And you speak as if the only other people on the road are motor vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists will all gain from drivers having more time and space to observe and avoid each other. Add to that the difference in severity of collisions at lower speeds and your premise seems to fall down.

    So whilst I do approve of more space being safer, I think you wrong to consider it as an argument against lower speeds.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Lowering the speed limit will probably have the effect of reducing the safe space between vehicles as it appears car drivers assume that they need only to be the thinking distance behind. So when they see the car in front braking they can brake in time and brake simultaneously with the vehicle stopping in front.

    The Highway Code says it very differently…. it presumes two scenarios not one….. one that the vehicle may suddenly slow OR SUDDENLY STOP. In the last case scenario there may be no warning of slowing as the vehicle in front maybe collides with another. Then any driver behind needs to be at least the complete stopping distance as shown for that speed in sect 126.

    Slowing traffic down could indeed make things worse and therefore is not the answer that this Government thinks it is or wants. Safe space is the answer.

    Bob Craven Lancs ….. Space is safe campaigner
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