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So how fast is the 20 mph speed limit?

So just how fast is a 20mph speed limit?

Whilst city and town dwellers argue for lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph because they are very concerned about the safety of themselves and particularly their families, motorists complain that they will be driving at a snails pace.  The reality is that none of these motorists could run faster over 100M than the current World Record Holder Usain Bolt, who managed an average speed of 23.35 mph. No, 20 mph is not slow, try it on a bike.

Locally, Limpley Stoke and Westwood villages have been selected for 20 mph trial speed limits. Any experienced drivers will suggest that there are parts of both villages where depending on the time of day and other factors 30 mph would be a safe driving speed.  The crucial word is "parts".

I drove through Westwood the other night very late and I drove at 20 mph. As I left the village a black and white cat darted across the road in front of me. Possibly, if I had been going faster I would have run it over.  I don't won't to be responsible for killing anyone's cat let alone intimidating women and children by not driving at a reasonable speed when there are people about, so congratulations to both villages for campaigning for the 20 mph limit.

If motorist don't like it that is just too bad, they have only themselves to blame as the Highway Code states quite clearly that the posted speed limit is the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM speed that a vehicle may be driven at, and that speed limit does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed.  Unfortunately, many drivers do not heed that advice and tend to drive at the maximum speed limit and even tailgate drivers in front who are going slower! Other road users including: pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, as a consequence of inconsiderate driving feel intimidated, and often angry, and they have a right to feel that way.

Another issue is the nonsense that speed limits have to be in multiple increments of 10 mph. Yes, it's either 30 mph or 20 mph, when it could be 20, 25 or 30 mph.  In some areas there are 40 mph speed limits when 35 mph would be more appropriate, unlike the USA which has 5 mph increments, the UK does not at present have an incremental speed limit system.


Posted on 17 Jun 2010 by Geoff Edwards

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