Vehicle monitored doing 68 mph in Alness Drive 20 mph zone

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the York Council has published updated figures indicating the effect that the revised 20 mph speed limits have had on average vehicle speeds and accident levels.

The figures reveal that the new limits have had little or no effect on average vehicle speeds while some accident levels have actually risen.

The data updates that published in March 2015 which showed similar results.

The data covers the 20 mph wide area limit in western York implemented in 2013/14. The project cost £600,000 to implement and was widely criticised for failing to recognise that such limits were unenforceable and, in any event, would have a negligible effect on accident levels.

Opponents wanted the money spent directly on safety improvements at accident black spots.

On some 20 mph roads such as Alness Drive the maximum speed recorded this year has been as much as 68mph – well above levels seen before the speed limit change

Overall there has been a reduction of only 1.3 mph in mean speeds.
Accident levels in the area have increased from 62 recorded in 2012 to 78 in 2015

On a related issue, North Yorkshire police are to be asked to justify their decision to increase the number of mobile speed enforcement cameras vans to six.

The Police responded to an FOI inquiry indicting that they only held information relating to the total number of offences which had been recorded when a van visited a particular location. This information had been published on their web site for couple of years now.

The police also publish how they they are dealing with specific speeding complaints raised by members of the public (although there is a backlog). click here

However, it doesn’t provide a measure of how effective the vans have been in controlling vehicle speeds or in reducing the number of accidents on the roads being monitored.

The number of drivers exceeding the prevailing speed limit is only a crude reflection of the “success” of the cameras.  Changes in offender numbers may simply reflected changes in traffic volumes.

Against a background of increasing numbers of road casualty’s, residents need to be convinced that roads are now safer as a result of police investment.

A further request for the information is now being drafted.

Comparative vehciels speeds in west York pre and post 20 mph limits

Comparative vehicle speeds in west York pre and post 20 mph limit change

Road accident trends in west York

Road accident trends in west York

Labour in York to impose 20 mph speed limits on all roads in York?

In the wake of decisions in London Labour Councillors in York are now advocating, on social media, the introduction of a default 20 mph speed limit across the whole of York.

Crash map York

Labour were accused of sneaking through their proposed “wide area”  20 mph limits when voters last went to the polls in 2011. Their plan was in the small print of a manifesto with most residents never saw.

Evening standard headline

The scheme in London is apparently aimed at “reducing cycling casualties”. Ironically a previous study in the capital revealed that the introduction of 20 mph limits there had resulted in an increase in average speeds.

 In York, most cycling accidents in result in slight injuries, occur on roads where vehicle speeds are already low and often at road junctions (click for map). Accident levels have reduced in recent years to a total of 144 in 2013 (the last full year for which figures are available) following the introduction of more “off road” cycle tracks. There were no fatalities.

Cycling was 61% safer in 2012 than it was in 2002 (per mile travelled) according to the CTC.

Labour has spent £600,000 on implementing “wide area” 20 mph limits since 2012.

Out of the 535km of roads within York’s Outer Ring Road / A64.

  • 333km (62%) of road are subject to a 20mph limit.
  • 202km (38%) have a speed limit of 30mph or more.

Of the 333km of roads with a 20mph limit, 275km (51% of the total) have been created as 20mph ‘signed only’ limits during the last 3 years.

Prior to this the majority of 20mph limits were traffic calmed 20mph Zones.

The council has refused FOI requests to provide information on “before and after” accident rates on the “signed only” streets in west York or to provide information on the actual effect – if any – that the signs have had on driver speeds.

It is to be hoped that all candidates contesting the Council elections on May 7th will make their policies clear on how cycling can be encouraged and made safer.

 In addition electors need to know which Party’s will extend 20 mph limits and which would focus resources at accident black-spots.

York Council urged to publish information on effects of 20 mph speed limit roll out

Study in London finds wide area 20 mph limits have led to an INCREASE in average vehicle speeds

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Hot on the heels of revelations that accident rates have increased in some City’s where wide area 20 mph speed limits have been introduced now comes news that average vehicle speeds may also be increasing.

The main objection to the York Councils £600,000 programme of 20 mpg speed signs has been that it would have little, if any,effect on driver behaviour.

If the effect is neutral then there would be little point in throwing good money after bad next year when a new Council would have to decide whether to pay for the signs to be removed (other than from accident blackspots and locations like school entrances where there is a higher risk of an accident)

If any of the following tests are not satisfied the – post Labour – Council would have little option than to consult residents about changing the speed limits back to the default 30 mph

  1. If accident levels on areas, with the new limit, increase
  2. If vehicle speeds on the roads increase
  3. If police enforcement time is diverted way from other locations with a higher accident potential.

The York Council has been reluctant to report on the effects that the wide area speed limit in the Bishopthorpe Road area have had.

A Freedom of information request will reveal whether average speeds have reduced and to what extent.

Residents will also want to know whether any of the, increased number of, serious accidents which occurred in the City last year took place on roads with a 20 mph limit. (Most accidents in the York area occur on trunk roads or are slow speed impacts in the City centre).

All in all it seems to be time for the Council to provide residents with more feedback on their controversial project..

20 mph speed limits signs being put up?

The Councils £600,000 scheme to put up 20 mph speed limit signs across west York will apparently start this weekend.

20 mph

Had the signs gone up before mischief night we doubt many would have survived for long!

The scheme is being g introduced in the face of fierce opposition from the majority of residents.

In the Acomb, Westfield and Woodthorpe areas surveys showed 80% opposed the plan with costs and the ineffectiveness of putting signs, on streets where average speeds are already below 20 mph, being cited as the main concerns.

The Council are desperately trying to convert public opinion by selectively quoting the Police and “local head teachers” as supporting the change. Both the Police and “head teachers” also have responsibilities to taxpayers.

Ironically all the schools in west York already have a 20 mph speed limit outside their entrances – and have had for many years.

speed and accident record of streets in west York click to download

speed and accident record of streets in west York click to download

They might also look at the statistical data – suppressed by the Council during their consultation period – which can be downloaded here.

It revealed that most roads, that will get new 20 mph limits, have had no recorded accidents at all.

The bulk of accidents, in the York area, occur on the main arterial and trunk roads (which will continue with their current speed limits).

A couple of months ago the Council admitted that in other City’s (Portsmouth and Bristol) the number of accidents taking place in wide 20 mph limit area, had actually increased since the speed limits were reduced.

Even the hitherto responsible Benendon Healthcare organisation (where a Labour Councillor is in charge of public relations) appears to have been been taken in by the propaganda with their Chief Executive quoted as saying that it will improve safety.

Not for those living in Bristol and Portsmouth it didn’t.

The Council’s response is to use taxpayers money to pay for a video which is probably the most patronising piece of propaganda that you will see.

Numbers killed and seriously injured in York click to access source data

Numbers killed and seriously injured in York click to access source data

The last set of accident statistics for York roads, up to the end of 2012, have recently been published.

They reveal that those killed and seriously injured on our roads have fallen to an all time low.

This is the result of targeted accident reduction work the funding for which is being cut to pay for the 20 mph signs.

The figures for 2013 will be the last where most of the year reflected this priority. The 2014 figures should be published just a few days before the next local elections taken place (May 2015)

We hope that York residents’ will continue to drive at a safe speed taking into account all road conditions.