20 mph too slow, 25 mph illegal, so raise the 25 mph limit to 30 mph!
A case to show the absurdity of the UK system of speed limits. Location town or parish: Weston-Super-Mare and Kewstoke. Thre is no mention of road users other than motorists.
With regards to the accident history on this road, during the 3 years up to April 2004 when the last fatal accident occurred there had been 12 personal injury accidents. During the following 18-month period when the various safety measures have been installed there have not been any accidents. Whilst it is still too early to be definitive, it appears that whilst the safety measures have not significantly reduced speeds on the straight sections of road, driver behaviour has been influenced and safety along the road has improved significantly.
The options available are:
a) Retain the existing non-enforceable 25 mph limit (i.e. “do nothing”),
b) Introduce a statutory 20 mph limit,
c) Introduce a statutory 30 mph limit.
Option a) would have no effect on existing speeds, and would not allow action against drivers on the basis of speed alone. It is considered that an enforceable speed limit must be installed.
Option b) does not comply with the advice in the Circular, being too far below the prevailing speeds. A 20 mph limit is considered to be unrealistically low, with virtually all drivers currently exceeding this speed, and about 80% exceeding the enforcement threshold of 24 mph. Studies show that speed limits on their own have little impact on speeds, so signs would need to be supplemented by further traffic calming measures.
Option c) is consistent with the existing measured speeds, but would allow enforcement against the small number of drivers who drive significantly faster. ACPO guidelines suggest enforcement above (speed limit + 10% + 2 mph), i.e. above 35 mph in a 30 mph limit. The Safety Camera Partnership has indicated that they could enforce this legal limit as a “Community Concern Site”.
Concern has been expressed that replacing the existing 25 mph limit with one of 30 mph, albeit an enforceable one, may “send the wrong message to drivers”. Any change should be accompanied by publicity reminding drivers that the speed limit is the maximum speed, not a “target” speed, and that they should respond to prevailing weather and road conditions.
The roads at both ends of the Toll Road have existing 30 mph speed limits, by virtue of being lit. The existing changes of speed limit are marked by larger “terminal” signs. These would have to be removed if the 30 mph limit is made continuous, but “gateway” features could be installed by providing “30” roundel markings on the road surface at the change from Public Highway to private road. The Toll Road itself is unlit, and would therefore require “30” repeater signs (to replace the existing “25” repeaters).
Accordingly, it is recommended that a formal 30mph speed limit is installed on Kewstoke Road.
One wonders what the safety measures that were installed are, and how much effective enforcement costs.
"Concern has been expressed that replacing the existing 25 mph limit with one of 30 mph, albeit an enforceable one, may “send the wrong message to drivers”. Any change should be accompanied by publicity reminding drivers that the speed limit is the maximum speed, not a “target” speed, and that they should respond to prevailing weather and road conditions."
I suppose in this case nearly all driveres can be reached by publicity? Or do they mean a sign that lights up reminding drivers that the speed limit is the absolute maximum speed? The fact remains that it is surely nonsense to have to reduce a speed limit which has together with safety measures eliminated accidents because the 25 mph cannot be enforced.