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Should we change the 30mph general urban speed limit?
to 20mph? 4%  4%  [ 2 ]
no change 77%  77%  [ 41 ]
to 40mph? 11%  11%  [ 6 ]
higher than 40mph? 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
no limit in urban areas? 8%  8%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 53
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 Post subject: 30mph urban speed limit
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 00:18 
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Should we change the 30mph urban speed limit? (Ignore enforcement methods and practice - it's the speed limit itself that's the subject of the poll.)

This poll does not expire.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 02:11 
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I voted no change but.....

With the proliferation of 20mph zones, some of which are a realistic speed for the road, there could be a case for either...

a blanket 20 limit with lots of marked 30 zones (this may be cheaper than marking all the 20 zones).

or...

forgetting about the blanket limit and clearly marking all urban roads with repeaters.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 07:20 
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Sorry urban areas vary too much for one speed limit. In Southampton and most other towns in the urban area you have roads 4 cars wide with few parked cars or hazards and round the corner you have narrow roads with cars parked both sides.

I can't place a vote on one button.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 07:49 
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I know what you mean Anton. I certainly vary my speed by quite a large margin driving through my home town depending on the precise stretch of road I'm on at the time. This is mostly 30mph limits.

I think the question is more aimed towards the "happy medium" default setting if you like, rather than a holy grail of speed limits in urban areas.

Obviously, the question should not/does not supercede the requirement to drive to the conditions.

I think the 30 limit is fine for medium sized urban roads at stupid o'clock when the kids are all asleep in bed etc. Naturally we need to drive slower in the wet/fog/school times etc etc.

For me, the 30 limit is fine :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 04:30 
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We attained the safest roads in Europe with a 30 urban limit and discretion applied in its enforcement. There is no need to change the limit, we just need to see a return of the discretion.

20mph "advisories" on tight residential streets are a good idea, but a 20mph legal limit is overkill IMO.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 06:00 
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I voted no change - but (and I know you said not to but...) if enforcement is to become/remain absolute, .....


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:15 
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No change.

Whilst I can see the logic behind 20 zones I think they are just too tempting a target for revenue raising. Regardless of how short or appropriately sited they are, there are too many occasions when they can sensibly and safely exceeded; and also the "ten percent plus two" guideline is getting way too low a figure to be a realistic tolerance to apply - if the limit says 20 is safe it is ludicrous to say that 24 is worthy of taking a quarter of someone's driving licence away.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 19:02 
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I voted 40, because if I'm not clockwatching, and there's no specific hazard about, I tend to drive about 40 anyway.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 19:33 
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A problem with the default 30 limit is that on many suburban main roads that would never really have been considered suitable for 40 limits, around 35-37 mph is a typical speed and not really unreasonable.

All too often it is in places like this that enforcement is concentrated, and many ordinary drivers end up getting points.

This wasn't so much of an issue in the past when discretion was usually exercised, but it is becoming more so now, and many roads that have always been 30 nevertheless feel pretty slow when driven at exactly that speed.

Given that many areas have now converted most of their small residential streets to 20s, it might make sense to retain the two-tier system but raise the limits to 25 and 35 (or indeed 40 km/h and 60 km/h if we were to go metric).

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 19:43 
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PeterE wrote:
A problem with the default 30 limit is that on many suburban main roads that would never really have been considered suitable for 40 limits, around 35-37 mph is a typical speed and not really unreasonable.

All too often it is in places like this that enforcement is concentrated, and many ordinary drivers end up getting points.

This wasn't so much of an issue in the past when discretion was usually exercised, but it is becoming more so now, and many roads that have always been 30 nevertheless feel pretty slow when driven at exactly that speed.

Given that many areas have now converted most of their small residential streets to 20s, it might make sense to retain the two-tier system but raise the limits to 25 and 35 (or indeed 40 km/h and 60 km/h if we were to go metric).


I recognise the roads you're talking about and the facts and analysis that you're using.

But I suggest we're moving into an area of false and misleading precision. The fact is that there are roads in 30 limits unsuitable for even 15 mph and equally roads that are regularly but not normally continuosly suitable for 50mph. Most roads fall somewhere in the middle between these extremes, and always will. We cannot repair present speed limit problems with a limit fudge. Instead we must address enforcement practice and the associated messages. I fear that subtle speed limit adjustments would make matters worse in practice by adding false precision and false legitimacy.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 20:04 
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That is why (I admit it) I am the one person so far, that has voted for no limit. Drivers should be able to select the most appropriate speed for the conditions, and should be held fully accountable if they get it wrong.

The number of times I have driven down camera enforced 30 limits at 3am when 60mph would have been perfectly safe (PC Mark Milton anybody?), or when the posted limit is massively over the top because of hazards (like primary school kicking out time).

If drivers are expected to work out the correct speed in NSL country roads (like those photos on another thread) and decide for themselves that 20mph is safe for this bit and 60mph is safe on that bit, then why cannot the same apply everywhere.

Keep the signs, and make them advisory, but let drivers have some control of their lives.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 20:25 
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Rewolf wrote:
That is why (I admit it) I am the one person so far, that has voted for no limit. Drivers should be able to select the most appropriate speed for the conditions, and should be held fully accountable if they get it wrong.

The problem with this is on what grounds would you prosecute drivers for doing 60 mph down residential streets, apart from "it is broadly speaking quite dangerous", which would effectively be the same as having a speed limit.

If you had to prove danger in each specific instance, or only prosecuted in the event of an accident, then many drivers might be tempted to take the risk of behaving irresponsibly.

It's important to remember than urban roads are unlike rural ones as the chief constraint on safe speed is hazard density, not physical layout.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 22:29 
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I haven't voted yet, but I would say that someone came tanking down my road (residential road, school opposite my flat) around 3am at about 50 and woke me up! There's more to residential speed limits than safety.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 22:33 
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Rhythm Thief wrote:
I haven't voted yet, but I would say that someone came tanking down my road (residential road, school opposite my flat) around 3am at about 50 and woke me up! There's more to residential speed limits than safety.


I was similarly woken -except, in my case, it was a 20mph lorry

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 23:32 
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Given the encouraging results of the Montana experiment I wonder what would happen if we had a no limit policy?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 23:41 
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to clarify a point what is an urban area, i can visualize a 30mph area around my area where the front door opens onto the road with a 2m pavement, there is an area with houses with a 6m garden or dare i say a driveway leading ono this 30mph road


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 04:02 
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toonbarmy wrote:
to clarify a point what is an urban area, i can visualize a 30mph area around my area where the front door opens onto the road with a 2m pavement, there is an area with houses with a 6m garden or dare i say a driveway leading ono this 30mph road

I would say both these qualify for "rural", and both would be 30 mph. However, depending on the other features, the chances are with the former, travelling at (or even close to) the speed limit would be reckless (but legal from a speed-limit perspective), yet in the latter, travelling marginally in excess of the limit would be safe (yet illegal in the strict sense, and an easy target for autyomatic enforcement).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 04:59 
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I don't see how you can put a number on it.

Parked cars come and go. Pedestrians come and go. So do trees and bushes. (well, the leaves thereon)

If there should be a 30mph residential speed limit it should have nothing to do with street lamps!

And as for noise, well I can do 30mph in 5th gear and I can do 30mph in 2nd gear... (Stick in road humps and I can do 40mph in 2nd gear :twisted:)
I've never understood how lower speed = lower noise.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:03 
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Ziltro wrote:
I don't see how you can put a number on it.


Think of a learner or recently qualified driver. I don't see how you can't put a number on it. Yes it's arbitrary. Yes it's always wrong. But it's also much much better than nothing when you're looking at underskilled drivers.

That's why we need clear speed limits and discretionary enforcement.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 17:23 
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I can think of all kinds of roads around here from 2 lane dual carageways with a barrier in the middle (next step down from a motorway) to country lanes which have 30mph limits. So at the moment it is quite confusing and/or misleading.

I suppose what I am thinking is it would be nice to have some way to point out the "danger level" or a particular road with some non-speed-limit method. I can't think how to do it though. Road classification? Like A and B roads but add C, D or R (residential) and have these on signs? Don't know how you'd enforce a letter though. :)

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