LESS IS NOT MORE
Most people would agree that a reduction in traffic speed in built-up areas is a good thing, from a road safety point of view. This is plainly the thinking behind the now commonplace “20 mph zone”. Indeed such a reduced speed limit on housing estates or near schools and hospitals has to make sense, leading to a reduction in casualties.
However, these zones appear to be breeding like rabbits along more and more roads throughout the UK, and often there is no visible reason for them, unless it’s to keep council workers employed (the signs don’t erect themselves). For decades the speed limit in “built-up areas” has been 30 mph, and if it’s enforced it’s fine.
Councils, and indeed central government, should be aiming to ease traffic flow but the random introduction of 20 mph speed zones has the opposite effect, leading to congestion, pollution and frustration (which itself leads to accidents).
It’s human nature, if drivers can’t see a reason for these “20 zones” then most will certainly ignore them (getting frustrated and even abusive with drivers who don’t), and as we all know Police numbers have been reduced to such an extent that there simply aren’t enough “bobby’s” around to enforce these speed limits. That makes them a pointless, yet expensive, exercise.
It’s time to take a step back, and think. Yes, place them at proven “black spots”, but for goodness sake be realistic. 20 mph along a main road, just because it leads into a village, isn’t going to achieve anything (not positive anyway!).
Correctly sited, or even timed, these zones have a place in road safety but zones for the sake of zones defeats the object, unless of course the object all along is to annoy the already overburdened motorist!
If you thought, as most people would, that those “20” speed limit signs were as enforceable as other regular speed signs then, in at least one area of the country, you’d be wrong. According to one local Police force they are a council run “pilot” scheme & as such Police have not been given powers to enforce the “20” limit. Effectively it means drivers would only be ticketed in a 20 zone if they exceeded 30mph! Crazy, or what? It makes a mockery of the whole idea!