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wass

20Mph Zones

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I have noted that there are a lot of 20mph zones popping up here and there. Initially I thought that this could be a good thing,however, I have had the chance to witness the sort of impact this has.

With the 20mph zones , councils are building more speed bumps and chicanes to encourage what they refer to as traffic calming. Reality sees conventional traffic squeezing into ever decreasing spaces accelerating and braking between traffic calming measures and rarely, if at all, getting into top gear...whilst even hybrids are inclined to create more pollution in this environment.

Cyclists who were rejoicing in the new introduction of the 20mph zones are ever more finding that their progress and road space is now impeded by larger vehicles and therefore ride on the pavements because progress is more swift and there is more space.

I have noticed that the statistics which have been published so far seem to concentrate on the number of traffic incidents and have ignored the increased levels of pollution which may be contributing to respiratory diseases and other illnesses found in those living or working in these 20MPH 'havens of safety' as they are portrayed.

I find that driving along at a steady 20 or 30 mph uses very little fuel in a hybrid vehicle. On occasions I drive a conventional vehicle in 20mph limits and am frustrated that 3rd gear is the highest gear that can be used without risk of my speed creeping up beyond the limit.

I am not aware of a truly objective survey of these 20mph zones which take into account the long term effects.

My route to work takes me through the town of Sandy in Bedfordshire where there is a 20mph speed limit, speed bumps, chicanes, two sets of pelican lights and a zebra crossing. I pass through at 06.00 when there is very little traffic and have noted that I often see an indicated fuel consumption in the nineties. I return through the town at about 18.00 and find a lot of congestion with buses lorries, bycycles, conventional cars passing through at an average speed of around 10 mph and my average fuel consumption generally reads around 55mpg ( which for a hybrid is quite poor for what should be quite ideal circumstances). I also find that due to the very low speeds, overtaking occurs on both sides of my car by cyclists and pedestrians dart in and out of the traffic because they feel safer due to the lower speeds.The air quality in the evening is noticeably much worse than the morning.

Are 20mph zones really that safe?

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I cannot understand village councils that impose a 20 MPH zone then add flashing signs, cameras, humps and chicanes. I know a village that has the lot. However parking is allowed on the sides of the road. Cyclists usually pass me.The whole situation seems to me to be more dangerous than having a 30MPH limit with cameras. I agree with your comments wass.

A friend was involved in a survey to note the speed of traffic in a nearby village. The villagers had complained about the speed of traffic through the village. The outcome was that most of the speeding vehicles were owned by villagers!!!

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Are 20mph zones really that safe?

Absolutely agree with you both and of course this sitauation is exacerbated by our HSDs being in stealth mode at these ridiculous speeds.

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<rant>

The area around me was just a normal 30mph street, but for some reason last year they decided this was suddenly unsafe because there was a school there, which has been there since victorian times, and suddenly we need narrowed roads and speed humps.

I never heard of any accidents around here before this, but since last year I'm often hearing that lovely *clonk/crunch* of two cars hitting each other at low speed. And as has been said, it's made pedestrians more suicidal due to the lower speed of cars; Seen a few cars having to stop very harshly due to someone impatiently running across the road in front of them, obviously thinking the incoming van or car will slow down for the speedhump more than they actually do.

Ironically, in an earlier survey the council had sent round, I recommended they instead put in some zebra crossings and fences (esp. between the large green and the road, which is a notorious source of footballs rolling into the road after school!) but, no, their speedhump fetish continues...

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We have similar problems where I live. A new pedestrian crossing close to us has been raised about 10cm above the road surface to create a speed bump. It is at the start of a 20 mph zone. The locals slow to go over it, but it is common to have visiting heavy vehicle drivers not notice (or ignore) it and the result is an almighty thump that I can hear and feel inside our house, even though we are about 80 metres away. The extent to which heavy vehicles bounce as they cross it is quite surprising.

I would hate to live in the thatched cottage that is right alongside the crossing. The vibration must be causing damage.

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The raised pedestrian crossings are not done to create a speed hump, they are to facilitate electric buggies (note I didn't say 'disabled' as they are not just used by the disabled now) by raising the crossing these buggies can take the crossing at any angle and do not have to slow down. Wheelchairs are easier on these as well! Slowing down is the responsibility of the motorist :(

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The raised pedestrian crossings are not done to create a speed hump, they are to facilitate electric buggies (note I didn't say 'disabled' as they are not just used by the disabled now) by raising the crossing these buggies can take the crossing at any angle and do not have to slow down. Wheelchairs are easier on these as well! Slowing down is the responsibility of the motorist :(

I really cannot believe that is the case here. This was a brand new crossing and it was part of a major alteration of the road, including narrowing the road, widening the pavement, the creation of a green area between pavement and road and the installation of tactile areas on either side of the crossing that define the run-on area. It would have been simpler to create a gently sloping run-on over the whole of the run-on area than to build the speed bump. The Council has said clearly (they recently sent me a questionnaire about it) that the speed bump is intended to slow the traffic at the start of the 20 mph limit that starts at the crossing and runs into the town.

I must say that you worry me a bit when you say that buggies may run onto a crossing at any angle and without slowing down; that sounds pretty dangerous to me. The guidance for pedestrians in the Highway Code says:

Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery. Wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing.

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