Road Safety minister clears way for more in-town speed restrictions – to just 20mphThe government has announced today new plans to encourage local councils to impose 20mph limits over many more streets. Many cities and towns already have 20mph limits.
But, to impose these in other than isolated areas, councils have to install road humps and other speed-reducing measures, forcing drivers to drive slowly. This is expensive, and so limits the number of areas where 20mph replaces 30mph as the limit.
Now the Government plans to allow councils to impose reduced limits across groups of streets without otherwise altering the roads. Streets which have parks, playgrounds, schools and shops are likely candidates because such areas have a high number of pedestrians and cyclists.
The announcement, by Road Safety Minister Paul Clark, comes after successful trials in Portsmouth that showed it could be possible to reduce speeds without needing to build chicanes or other traffic-calming measures.
And last week a report in the British Medical Journal suggested that 20mph zones where introduced in London had reduced road deaths and injuries.
While road casualties have fallen so that Britain now has one of the lowest accident rates, Mr Clark said the changes would allow councils to bring in 20mph zones more cheaply and with less inconvenience for residents.
At the same time, highway authorities are looking at whether it makes sense to reduce speed limits on two-lane country roads from 60mph to 50mph. They’ll complete their investigations next year.
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