20MPH

I attended the Traffic and Parking Working Party meeting yesterday; I was Cllr David Norman’s substitute. I did my best to make some worthwhile contributions and I think I more or less got my points over. Am I the only one where the killer arguments come to mind once these sorts of meetings are over?

Anyway, I do not intend to go into the detail of the decisions taken but rather dwell on one discussion point – twenty miles per hour speed limits and their enforcement.

The issue came up because of a request to have a 20mph limit put in near a school. I favour a general policy for 20mph near all schools, although I realise this aspiration will go unfulfilled where a school is on an arterial route. If we can get variable limits we may be able to put this in everywhere immediately adjacent to a school, even those on A roads and the like. The arguments about rush-hour are somewhat answered by the reality of speed limits that are unattainable due to the density of traffic during the busiest parts of the day.

The argument employed against 20mph limits in the particular location under discussion was that of enforcement. A council officer said that for 30mph limits and higher the Police can issue Fixed Penalty Notices. For 20mph they had to arrest and take to a police station.

It was stated that we cannot have a limit if we cannot enforce it. I countered that it could be enforced; it was a matter of the Police’s reluctance to do so. It was stated that a 20mph must be accompanied by calming measures such as speed humps.

Now, my views about speed humps are well known, and I am not going to support any measure to introduce more.

I seem to have less jaundiced view about motorists than some of my fellow councillors. They give me the impression of believing that speed limits are ignored unless all sorts of enforcement is put in place. I accept that there will always be those who ignore limits, as there will be those who speeding is accidental. I maintain that most people try to keep to limits, especially in urban areas. Limits at the very least restrain speeding so limit a lower limit might be broken, but the driving will still be slower than had the normal urban limit of 30mph been left in place.

However, if we see sustained flouting of a 20mph limit then I think we could apply pressure to the Police to enforce, even if this does inconvenience them by making trips to a police station necessary. A few arrests will soon have a deterrent effect.

After the meeting I made my way home via the Kursaal as I dropped a councillor off at their home. My route included the stretch of road between the Kursaal and the Pier. Quelle surprise, this is a 20mph zone, and no speed humps!

I think the arguments used against me are rubbished by the existence of this road and its speed limit.

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