Failure of Labour’s 20mph speed limit in H&F

There was a Cabinet meeting of Hammersmith and Fulham Council this evening with a report that showed the astonishing failure of Labour’s 20mph speed limit. They had already retreated from their proposal to have a borough wide limit. But they did apply the limit to many new roads. As I gently warned them given that the police made clear they would not enforce  the lower limit it was just virtue signalling – albeit of a pretty expensive variety.

Of course they could put humps everywhere – but that would be an appalling prospect not least due to the increase in pollution that would result.

Anyway the Council’s own survey finds that on road where the speed limit has been cut from 30mph to 20mph the impact has been negligible. Overall they found a reduction in speed of just half a mile an hour. Council officers at this evening’s meeting did not even attempt to claim this was statistically significant. It is very much within the “margin of error”.

Many of the streets where the speed limit had been cut found that average speeds have increased. The Council compared speeds in a selection of roads where the limit was cut in September 2016. It looked at the speeds it measured in 2015 and 2017.

For instance:

Avonmore Road 14.65mph to 24.73mph – an increase of 10.08.

Clancarty Road 21.8mph to 21.25mph – an increase of 0.55

Dalling Road 22.35mph to  22.645mph – to increase 0.295

Rannoch Road 20.5mph to 27.16mph – an increase of 6.66.

Rivercourt Road 16.65mph to 18.7mph – an increase of 2.045

Rockley Road 22.8mph to 25.4mph – an increase of 2.6

Rylston Road 11.85mph to 26.34mph – an increase of 14.4

Pennard Road 23.5mph to 25.43mph – an increase of 1.93

Some of the other roads where the survey was sampled did see significant reductions in speed – Pearscroft Road recorded a reduction from 31.3 to 17.53 which amounted to 13.77. But they cancelled each other out. So what was the point of it? The upshot is that this gimmick has achieved diddly squat.


4 thoughts on “Failure of Labour’s 20mph speed limit in H&F

  1. Very well said – it has been the same across the country for 10 year – Councillors keen “to be seen to be doing something” to improve their electoral chances and road safety jobsworths with not the slightest ability to recognise the existence of the all-pervading Law of Unintended Consequences or to predict how changes will affect results.

    The same applies to speed cameras, whose advocates across the country routinely ignore the evidence of cameras’ abject failure and prefer to see £300m a year wasted on them than to admit they were wrong all along.

    But the fat lady is now finally singing and they WILL be proved wrong, very soon.

  2. The policy is good; this is globally acknowledged, the slower the speed the fewer crashes and fewer injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. It’s lack of enforcement that is the issue.

  3. Absolute nonsense! The whole idea is simplistic and naive, and the evidence shows that it simply does not work! One obvious problem – at least obvious to anyone with any understanding of these issues – is that the problems caused by “enforcement”, including drivers looking more at their speedometers than at the road ahead, results in more collisions than would happen at slightly higher speeds but actually looking where they were going.
    Another is that the propaganda claiming that speeds are down when in fact they are not results in pedestrians assuming they are safer and therefore being more careless. And these effects are all there in the data, for those capable of understanding it.
    Another important point, especially in terms of the supposedly all-important “enforcement” is cost effectiveness – for example, police officers’ time could be far better spent on real policing of real crimes or for that matter scrubbing hospital floors. Get real!

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