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20 mph road plans are ‘ludicrous’, says councillor

Posted on - 20th March, 2011 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Crime, News, People, Roads, Transport

Lewis Balyckyi - a promising cyclist - who tragically died after a crash in Bretherton

Plans to reduce Lancashire’s residential roads to 20mph have been branded ‘ludicrous’ by a city councillor.

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Councillor Drew Gale made the comment after deaths and serious injuries in the county hit a 30 year low.

Last year was the fifth consecutive year casualties numbers have fallen with 798 people killed or seriously injured compared to 1,139 in 2006 and down from an average of 1,704 between 1981 and 1985.

However Lancashire County Council is planning to impose 20mph speed limits on all residential roads within the next two years.

Ludicrous

“I would be in favour of the limit in appropriate places but having it everywhere is ludicrous,” he said. “The cost to enforce it would be astronomical.”

The change in speed limit will cost the council £9m and Cllr Gale says the money should be spent elsewhere.

“The council should be protecting jobs, it’s an absolute scandal. They should be protecting people not places.

“I don’t think it is a good use of money and it will be unenforceable. You can’t have the police everywhere.”

Under the scheme, money will be spent on new signs, a publicity campaign and public consultations.

‘Community road watch’ volunteers will be asked to use speed guns with anyone caught speeding to be sent a letter warning them about their speed.

Last year the county council piloted 20mph in three areas, including the Larches Estate, Preston.

Drew Gale, right, has branded the County Council's plans as 'ludicrous' Image: Daniel Bentley

Across Lancashire there were 105 accidents in residential areas between January 2005 and May 2010 which resulted in 131 casualties. Ten of these involved children.

Sceptical

City councillor Tom Burns is also unconvinced that the plan will work and says that some form of enforcement is needed for it to be effective.

“Tests done by the Department for Transport show that in a speed limit without enforcements, cars slow down by one and half miles per hour,” he said. “When using enforcement traffic slows by seven to nine miles per hour, on average.

“But it’s impossible without traffic calming measures. I’m not opposed to 20 mph limits but they have got limited value.”

However Martin Hammond, from solicitors Driving Defences said that the new limit is important to further improve road safety within the county but called for further improvements to road policy.

He said: “I am a great advocate of decreasing the speed limit in residential areas and I believe that the more money spent on speed cameras and other traffic calming measures on these roads the better. I do think it is overkill to reduce it on all streets.

“However at the other end of the scale I think that with the developments in car braking systems the 70 mph motorway speed limit should be increased.

“When you think what vehicles were capable of when the speed limit was introduced compared with today it makes no sense to have such a low limit. I think it should be increased to 80/90mph and then a stricter punishment placed on people who break that limit.”

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