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20 = Plenty

This is the webpage for the Uplyme 20 = PLENTY campaign - an action group of local residents campaigning for a 20mph speed limit through the village.

Local people have been increasingly concerned about speeding for a number of years and this campaign reflects the widespread feeling among local people that something must be done before there is another road traffic fatality in Uplyme.  If you agree that this is an important issue, please print out and display the campaign poster on the left (click on the image to download in PDF format)
-Julian Bond.

Have your say in the debate here." 
Click here to download the poster (PDF).

Speed management is central to road safety. Speed is the biggest single factor in road crashes, responsible for over 1,000 deaths and 10,000 serious injuries in Britain every year. Controlling speeds at appropriate levels is the most significant action that local authorities can take to reduce casualties on Britain's roads.

This guide outlines examples of effective speed management already tried and tested by local authorities in Britain and overseas. It is based on the fuller study published by the Slower Speeds Initiative Killing Speed: A Good Practice Guide to Speed Management.

An online discussion is already under way here

Why manage speed?

Speed management offers great social, environmental and economic benefits. First amongst these is casualty reduction. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds brings a 5% reduction in the number of crashes, and hence in the number of people killed or injured on the roads. This means that even marginal reductions in speed can result in major road safety gains.

These gains are especially relevant to poorer communities, as poorer people suffer most from the effects of speed. Speed management also benefits children and young people, many of whom are denied safe, open spaces in which to develop and grow. And by reducing the massive costs which road traffic casualties impose on society, speed management offers significant economic benefits. On government figures, preventing the many thousands of road crashes in which speed is a major factor would save Britain over £5 billion per year. An online discussion is already under way here

Meeting public opinion

Speeding is not the activity of a minority of errant drivers. Speeding is endemic. The majority of British drivers regularly break the speed limit – on all classes of roads, at all times of day and on all days of the week. Many do not even regard speeding as a criminal offence.

Yet people are no longer prepared to be intimidated by speeding traffic. Speed management and road safety are regularly identified as issues of the highest priority in community consultations undertaken by local authorities and police forces. The majority of people – including drivers – want action on speed.

The government has set national targets for road casualty reduction in its March 2000 Road Safety Review. These require all local authorities to achieve, by the year 2010, a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured and a 50% reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured on their roads.

These targets are both realistic and achievable, given the increasing range of speed management measures now available. The initiatives described in this guide provide examples of how those measures have been applied in different urban and rural environments, and their success in reducing speed and casualties alike. The more widely such schemes can be replicated, the safer Britain's roads will be for all.  An online discussion is already under way here

Myths and facts on Speed Reduction

Myth: “Safety cameras don’t save lives. Quite the opposite: when motorists see the cameras they suddenly brake hard, which is dangerous.”

Fact: Motorists should be driving within the speed limits so there is no need to brake hard at safety cameras if the law is being observed. Skilled drivers do not drive above the limit: they know the law and the consequences of car crashes. About half the people hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph will die; hit at 40mph, nine out of ten will die.

Speed limits are intended to provide a safe road environment for all road-users including other motorists. Latest Government figures from the 24 safety camera areas operating in 2002-03 show that cameras reduced the number of people killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent. This equates to 105 fewer deaths and over 750 fewer people seriously injured across these areas.

Ten reasons why people should cut their driving speed

bulletExcessive or inappropriate speed is a major cause of road crashes. A 1mph increase in average speed has been shown to result in an average 5 per cent increase in crashes. Even if one takes the very conservative view that a third of crashes are caused by speed, this still means that in 2002 at least 1140 people were killed and 11,990 people were seriously injured in road crashes where speed was a contributory factor. Proportionally, this would translate into 275 pedestrian deaths, of which 35 were children, and 46 cyclist deaths in 2001 in crashes involving speed. Lower speeds reduce both the frequency of collisions and their severity. Hull City Council’s widespread 20mph zones have resulted in a 38.5 per cent reduction in child casualties, clearly showing a very strong link between speed reduction and casualty reduction. Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) says that a reduction of 2mph in the average speed across the road network would save 200 lives a year.
bulletMore fuel is burnt at higher speeds, resulting in more air pollution and impacting on health. Driving at 50mph instead of 70mph can reduce fuel consumption by 30 per cent. As speed increases above 30mph it results in an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The Government is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2010, and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommends a 60 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Emissions from transport are currently the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the UK. Road traffic is the single largest source of air pollution. As many as 24,100 deaths each year are exacerbated by air pollution.
bulletDriving fast creates more traffic noise. Road traffic is the most important source of noise nuisance and tyre noise increases with speed. Road traffic noise is known to cause stress, poor sleep and mild psychiatric illness.
bulletFast moving traffic severs communities. Busy roads can divide local communities, literally cutting them in half. Children and elderly people are especially affected. The faster the traffic is moving, the harder it is to cross the road, increasing the risk to the pedestrian. Many elderly and disabled people literally do not have the mobility to cross roads fast enough between breaks in traffic and so are cut off. CPRE research has shown that 83 per cent of authorities have no comprehensive strategy to introduce 30mph speed limits in villages. Many village high streets and through roads still have 40 or 60mph speed limits. With these kinds of speeds it is virtually impossible to cross the road without controlled crossing.
bulletHigh traffic speeds suppress cycling and walking. A MORI poll found that 44 per cent of people said they would cycle more if roads were safer and 26 per cent would travel less by car if the conditions for walking locally were better. High traffic speed not only intimidates cyclists and pedestrians, but the higher the speed, the greater the severity of injury on impact. If a cyclist or pedestrian is hit by a vehicle travelling at 40mph, they only have a 15 per cent chance of survival; if hit at 20mph they have a 95 per cent chance of survival. Cyclists’ and pedestrians’ fears about speed and road safety are based on a reality that Britain has one of the proportionally worst track records for cyclist and pedestrian fatality levels in Europe.
bulletSpeeding traffic reduces the mobility of children. Children want to be able to play in the areas near to where they live, to walk or cycle to school, to be able to walk round to their friend’s house, but parents’ fears about speeding traffic and road safety prevent children being independently mobile. Parents’ fears are not irrational: in Britain in 2002 the police reported 2800 serious child pedestrian casualties. Research has shown that fear of traffic, and of speeding traffic in particular, leads parents to drive their children to school. In the past 20 years car journeys to school have doubled and studies have shown that children’s free time is becoming increasingly sedentary. These low levels of activity (and poor diets) are leading to rising rates of obesity in British children with the associated risk of coronary heart disease in later life. Children’s independent mobility is important for health, social development and forming self-reliance.
bulletSpeeding traffic and rat-running through residential areas reduces quality of life and inhibits a sense of community. Many of our streets now feel like people-free zones. People walk 20 per cent less and cycle 25 per cent less than 20 years ago, while playing in the street, sitting and chatting to neighbours and other social activities have clearly also decreased. Less street activity means neighbours are less likely to know each other, reducing the overall sense of community and all the benefits of social support. Fear of crime increases as street activity falls.
bulletSpeeding road traffic disproportionately affects people in deprived communities. The Social Exclusion Unit’s interim report Transport and Social Exclusion stated that deprived communities are more affected by pedestrian casualties and pollution caused by road traffic than richer communities. Children from the 10 per cent most deprived wards in England are three times more likely to be hit by a car as a pedestrian.
bulletRoad crashes caused by speed cost at least £5 billion a year. The DETR estimated the value of preventing all road crashes and casualties at £16.3 billion for 1999; preventing even a third of these crashes would bring an economic cost benefit of £5 billion a year. Hull City Council’s programme of 20mph zones has cost approximately £4 million to implement. However, the savings in terms of injury costs have been estimated at £40 million, meaning Hull’s programme has paid for itself ten times over.
bulletSlower speeds improve the capacity of the road to carry more vehicles. The capacity of the road network is increased when drivers approach roundabouts and junctions slowly and smoothly resulting in a more continuous flow of traffic and greater through-flow. Reduced speeds also result in reduced crashes. Road crashes are a major reason for congestion, preventing traffic flowing. More research is needed to determine the cost: benefit of slower speeds in terms of journey time.

Source: Transport 2000


Some further reading on speed reduction in Uplyme...
An online discussion is already under way here

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Copyright © 2006 Geoff Browne. (Last edited: December 10, 2007)