20mph Speed Limit in Birmingham

The City Council is giving serious consideration to imposing a 20mph speed limit on city by-roads.

The Council estimates the cost at around £7 million in total, but considers it will more than pay for itself in savings from a reduced number of road accidents, which it estimates cost the city around £5 million a year.

Their public consultation closes on Friday 29 November 2013.

Whatever your first reaction to this is, you can find out the reasoning behind it, the costs and timescale of introduction from the Councils website.

Also there you can branch to a questionnaire on the proposal, which as well as asking leading questions also gives you the opportunity to give your own thoughts on page 3 of 5 which asks:

“Do you have any other comments about 20mph speed limits? Please tell us below.”

You can also send your thoughts without using the questionnaire by emailing transportpolicy@birmingham.gov.uk.

To help others decide on the merits of this please enter a comment below.

Geoff  Caine

10 thoughts on “20mph Speed Limit in Birmingham

  1. Geoff Caine

    I think the BCC are confusing speeders with speed limits. Why don’t they try to educate people that exceeding the speed limits can be detrimental to our hard earned society – it’s antisocial, possibly harmful to themselves, could kill their or other’s friends and family, and deprecates street life that we all have to engage and should enjoy?
    Sleeping policemen on suburban roads are so annoying and have proliferated to an extent where 20mph between them is virtually impossible anyway.
    This is, of course with the exception of 4×4 high clearance vehicles (currently the biggest selling) with which their drivers can disregard these intended speed deterrents without realising it.
    So, a change in social thinking education is needed.
    How, I leave up to the educational experts.

  2. Sue

    I don’t think people realise how slow 20mph is on a normal urban road. Where are all these “20mph lovers” on the 30 or 40mph roads at the moment? I never see them.

    It simply is not “green” for most cars to drive at this low speed. I am really speachless at the idea of a “modern” city crawling around at 20mph. If people want to drive at 20mph then why don’t they, but they should not dictate to those responsible drivers on 30/40mph roads.

    The effect is so significant for day to day drivers that we should have a proper vote on this subject with a 75% majority in favour for this to go ahead. Otherwise it looks like we are living in under a dictatorship.

  3. princessbowen32

    Well this is ridiculous idea and will grind Birmingham to a halt.

    The reasons why this wont work are:

    1. People will ignore the limit, unless speed bumps are put in everywhere to force people to slow down.
    2. Commuting times will be severely increased, whether it be by bus or car, which will affect businesses and cause loss of jobs, especially for lorry drivers etc s businesses may not be able to deliver as quickly as before.
    3. As correctly stated, roads are more suitable for cars. Cycling lanes should be introduced to alleviate stress from having cyclists on roads that are not suitable for them.
    4. Pedestrians often do not look out for themselves properly and at times are a danger to themselves. Changing the speed limit will just make them even more complacent and lazy.
    5. 20mph is a hard speed to constantly maintain as second gear is to low and the car will rev too much, and third gear can be too high depending on your car.
    6. It is easier to judge if it is safe to cross the road when cars are travelling at 30mph than 20mph, The slower speeds will cloud judgement and see many more accidents as people misjudge and think I will get across in time etc.
    7. The costs of re-doing all bus timetables in Birmingham, as the slower speeds will mean two options will be available, either have less buses meaning more congested buses, or tighter intervals between each bus, meaning more buses to compensate, which means more traffic on the road and more congestion,…..so back to square one.

    These people are idiots and seem to lack understanding. If you want to reduce accidents, raise the age you can legally drive to 21. Also have more police to enforce the limits, so drivers can see that breaking the limits have real cosequences. Have an advert campaign telling pedestrians to pay attention when crossing the road, rather than tapping into their iphones. Have adverts saying how many people in the local community were convicted and punished for speeding.

    Birmingham city council wants to be a global city with a 20mph speed limit? What a joke. I do not know why but the real agenda here is to stop people owning cars. Well we live in a free country and if I have the money to have one, why should I have this ridiculous measure imposed on me? So has the council made plans for when people decide not to bother driving any more and decide to take public transport? Probably not. What a waste of money, they could spend £7m on improving trains and buses. Disgusted.

  4. David Foster

    Roads are not only for cars – pedestrians cross them and walk alongside them, while cyclists also cycle along them. I would argue further that city streets are even less exclusive to motor vehicles than country roads.

  5. Neil Tanser

    I oppose 20mph limit, Roads are for cars, cyclists should have dedicated paths to correctly segregate them from traffic.
    Pedestrian segregation and crossings are the answer, ie good town planning , not car speed. Try and walk to a retail park, the paths and crossings are usually poor.
    I worked in a counrty with a 20mph limit in towns and saw more car/pedestrian collisions in 5 months than I had seen in my life, the reasons, cars make no noise at 20mph.

  6. Geoff Caine Post author

    Of relevance is the fact that, Bristol carried out a pilot 20mph scheme in 2012 and the city council decided it was a success and voted to roll out the limit across the city during 2013/15. It will cost £2.3million, funded by a share of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) allocated by the Government in 2012 and the Local Transport Plan Settlement.

  7. Geoff Caine Post author

    I believe that the 20mph limit will not constrain the drivers who exceed the speed limits now, sometimes quite substantially.
    It is these people who cause bad accidents because pedestrians do not have as much time to react to a speeding driver and conversely a speeding driver may not have time to avoid a pedestrian who steps out into the road either without thinking or before looking first if it’s safe to cross.

  8. Patrick Willcocks

    I think enforcement largely comes from most drivers obeying the limits as they do now (largely) …so it will make no difference if it is 20mph. Most drivers will try to stick to it or something like it…and so speeds will fall.
    A great idea to reduce accidents, pollution and it will hopefully stimulate more cycling with all its benefits.

  9. David Foster

    I’m in firmly favour of the proposal but, like Geoff, I am very sceptical of the enforcement. The consultation paper is weak on this, saying that peer pressure, ie other road users’ behaviour, will suffice. I don’t believe it! What will the ‘youthful driver’ do when he (almost certainly ‘he’) comes up behind a speed limit observer?

  10. Geoff Caine Post author

    I think 20mph is a good idea in congested areas eg around schools at the start and end of their day.
    But this should be achieved by flashing 20mph signs. Just to have permanent signs at the start and end of the restriction will cause road users to ignore the speed limit in general until they realise that there is pedestrian congestion by which time it may be too late.
    I wonder how on earth such laws can be enforced when they cannot even be policed and hence enforced for the current general 30mph limit. (Witness Sheepcote Street sometimes!)

    There are several types of road user including:
    1. responsible citizens not in a hurry who appreciate the need for speed restriction
    2. people on business who are always late or want to return to base ASAP (usually with mobile in hand – another unenforceable law!)
    3. youthful drivers who want to go as fast as possible as a sign of prowess whatever the conditions.
    Will the 20mph signs change their habits, since there is little chance of real-time enforcement? I fear not.

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