Institutional motorism

You are probably aware that the Association of Chief Police Officers have now ‘clarified’ their position on the enforcement of 20 mph limits, following the appearance of the assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire police before the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry yesterday.

In many ways the ‘clarification’ is more revealing than the initial statement by the assistant chief constable, Mark Milson, that

We are not enforcing 20mph speed limits at this moment in time

because it demonstrates an institutional attitude to motoring misbehaviour. The ACPO press release states

In most cases, 20 mph limits will follow Department of Transport guidance and include features such as speed bumps or traffic islands designed to slow traffic. ACPO guidelines include thresholds for enforcement across all speed limits to underpin a consistent policing approach. However it is for local police forces to apply a proportionate approach to enforcement of 20mph limits based on risk to individuals, property and the seriousness of any breach. Where drivers are exceeding the speed limit through wilful offending, we would expect that officers will enforce the limit and prosecute offenders.

The first part of this statement is simply wrong. The increasing profusion of blanket 20 mph zones in towns and cities across Britain quite obviously means that it is no longer true that ‘in most cases’ these zones will have design features to slow traffic. These are roads and streets that are physically unaltered; it’s depressing that even in a prepared statement the police can’t get this right.

The final section of the statement is most interesting, principally because of the use of the words ‘proportionate’ and ‘wilful’. The clear impression is that the police think 20 mph limits are unreasonably slow, and it is not ‘proportionate’ to enforce the speed limit universally. Likewise with the reference to ‘wilful offending’. Because a 20 mph limit is not something the police believe motorists can reasonably stick to, it is only those motorists who ‘wilfully’ drive over 20 mph who will be tackled by the police, not those motorists who ‘accidentally’ drive over 20 mph. Quite how the police are supposed to tell these two categories apart is not clarified.

The police attitude that 20 mph zones need design features in order to be self-reinforcing speaks further of this belief that motorists cannot be expected to obey signs; the police think that the only way in which motorists will stay below 20 mph is if they are forced to. Now, obviously, I think a physical environment which makes it largely impossible for motorists to speed is ultimately desirable, but the attitude of the police is worryingly revealing in its tolerance.

It’s not just 20 mph zones where police think motorists are not able to help themselves. I wrote last year about a 40 mph road in Horsham, frequently crossed by children to get to a school on the other side of it, where the police advised against lowering the limit to a mere 30 mph, because motorists couldn’t be expected to stick to this new slightly lower speed due to the ‘design nature’ of the road.

such a change [in speed limit] would fall outside of the speed limit criteria currently adopted by the County Council. The criteria have been developed in association with Sussex Police and takes into account local and national research which shows that drivers generally select their speed from the messages given by the surrounding roadside development and the prevalent traffic conditions.   It is considered that lowering the speed limit alone in this location would have minimal effect on the average speed of traffic. Sussex Police would not support such a lowering of the speed limit here.  

The idea that drivers – instead of just ‘selecting their speed’ from messages given by the surrounding roadside - could actually obey speed limits appears to be completely incomprehensible to the police, as is the notion that motorists breaking these speed limits (speed limits that are apparently ‘unnatural’ to them) should consistently be met with punishment.

Their attitude needs to change, and swiftly.

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36 Responses to Institutional motorism

  1. Don says:

    “Their attitude needs to change, and swiftly.”

    Forget it. The real message is ‘There’s no money and not enough staff to enforce speed limits. Speeding is not a priority. There’s too much other stuff to do’.

    It just sounds a bit better couched in terms of ‘proportionality’ and ‘consistency’. The reality is that with massive cuts to policing just starting to bite, the roads are going to become even more lawless than they already are.

    • I wouldn’t mind so much if the police were explicitly saying ‘we’d like to enforce these limits, but we don’t have the resources.’ The prevailing attitude, however, is one of complacency, and that these limits don’t really deserve to be enforced, even if the resources were available.

  2. Many years ago (36) I was a police officer and believe me we weren’t selective about enforcing the law! At police training college we were taught “The Duties of a Constable”:-
    1) Protection of life and limb.
    2) Protection of property.
    3) The prevention and detection of crime and
    4) The maintenance of the Queens Peace.

    Most people of course think that #3 comes first but if you think about it #1 and #2 cover most aspects of #3 anyway. Essentially, speed limits and most parking restrictions are not arbitrary, they are their to prevent accidents, injury or death and as such the enforcement of these laws fall very much within the parameters of the first 2 duties and any failure to enforce them can be seen as a serious dereliction of duty. It may be an idea for the major cycling and road safety bodies to write to the new Police Commissioners reminding them of this and suggesting that they sack senior officers who decide that the lives of vulnerable road users don’t matter.

  3. davidhembrow says:

    This is quite astounding, isn’t it. The police don’t aim to uphold the law. But if they don’t, then what are they for ? Why pay taxes to them ?

    Mind you, that speeding should take place in 20 mph speed limit areas is not surprising. The same is true here in the Netherlands. What’s more, it was documented here four years ago that merely lowering speed limits was not enough.

    Sadly, there are all too many single issue types who are pushing for just this measure instead of the wide range of measures required to civilize the streets.

  4. In the absence of separated cycling infrastructure and the specific mentioning of ‘traffic islands’ (oh wow, extra pinch points for me to have to take the lane in), it looks like this clarification is just another way of saying “we’ll use cyclists (and those drivers who do obey the law) as rolling roadblocks”.

    Gee, thanks.

  5. What a deeply sad state of affairs! As you say quite how you can tell the difference between “wilfully” and “accidentally” breaking the speed limit I really don’t know. I have a particular stretch of 20mph near me, a section that is used more regularly now due to it forming part of a diversion for some long term roadworks. It’s a residential road, fairly straight with the split speed humps. Most of the cars are 1/2 parked on the pavement when there is already a car in the front garden meaning it’s fairly a fairly clear run. It doesn’t “feel” like it should be a 20mph due to our wonderfully designed roads and without conciously checking I do on occasion find myself going over 20 (they have recently installed the flashing speed signs)

    However having been driving for over a decade now I can say you get a feeling for speed without even looking down, I can quite easily drive off down a road and stop accelerating when I get to 30mph, it doesn’t involve constant speedo watching like the ABD and other motoring groups would have you believe or involve me being “distracted” and I think this might be partly to blame for the difficulty some have in following 20mph, as 30 has been the default for so long 20 does feel slower.

    There is of course the argument for physically designing roads to be slower. Full width speed humps help as the split ones can normally be staggered to reduce the effect. These also present problems for cyclists as I tend to prefer and ride through the level section which either means gutter hugging (with all the rubbish and debris) OR taking the middle gap and “holding up” the car behind me (regardless of the fact I can ride through the gap at a greater speed then they can drive over, it’s the Must Overtake Cyclist mentality). One system that I do like and have shown in a video before was a chicane system created by built out kerbs. When coupled with the usual parking it makes it nigh on impossible to exceed 20mph in a car (most have to tackle at around 15mph, even less in larger vehicles!) however the arrangement is such that it’s remarkably easy to ride in a straight line at 20mph on a bicycle as you don’t need to make the left/right course corrections you do in a wider motorised vehicle.

  6. davidhembrow says:

    Mark Skrzypczyk, the best way of physically designing roads to reduce danger to cyclists from vehicles isn’t to add things like speed bumps to try to mitigate the problem, but to take away the cause of the danger. i.e. cars. This is why so many streets in the Netherlands no longer work as through routes by car. This especially applies to virtually all residential streets.

    • That’s true, David, but in those places where you are “sharing” with cars (those low volume areas) there are clear design features to keep speeds low, like rougher surfaces, tight geometry corners, and speed tables. These features are usually completely absent from British residential areas.

      • davidhembrow says:

        Yes you’re right that there are differences, but they’re mostly hints rather than being rigid features. For instance, a bicycle road in Assen is a straight line for over a kilometre. There are a few mild speed tables and the centre was chopped up, raised and surfaced differently to put off drives from overtaking. However, none of this is really going to stop someone from driving quickly if that’s what they want to do. It merely changes the look of the road.

        This is more of a language than anything else. So long as these treatments are used only in low car areas they help to reinforce how one should behave. If they were also used in places which were busy through routes that power would be lost quite quickly.

        I still feel that the real change in how it feels to cycle there is surely due to the almost total absence of cars.

        The same could be said of traditional speed bumps BTW. They exist on roads in the UK which are still used as through roads. This is a mistake because it leads to drivers thinking of speed bumps not as something which keeps their own residential street quiet, but as a nuisance installed to punish them as they go on their way.

        • Having cycled along that road, I can agree that the ‘calmest’ environment for cycling is one in which virtually no cars are present at all!

          I’d also agree about the way in which ‘calming’ measures have become habituated. They are often used in the UK to slow traffic on through routes (a good example is the centre of Horsham), so are often seen, like you say, as a challenge to be overcome, not as a necessary design feature.

    • Clark in Vancouver says:

      Something similar was done in the 1980s in Vancouver’s West End. The streets once had racing cars throughout. It was decided to put in some blockages here and there to make it not a way to get through. It was tough to put in politically but it happened and now it’s a really nice area and walking is the primary way to get around. People plants flowering bushes all over and it’s a beautiful place.

  7. Tim says:

    And of course if we do take the view that it’s OK to forego enforcement in favour of physical design features (which I don’t), then we need to take care that we don’t have poorly thought out physical features which can potentially cause problems for cyclists and offset the benefits of slower traffic, as often happens.

    Examples in my area include traffic islands which cause pinch points, which stop drivers being able to overtake safely and sometimes make them swerve back towards cyclists (instead of waiting a few seconds to get past the island). And then there are speed cushions (speed bumps which only cover part of the width of the carriageway), where drivers are concentrating on doing a kind of slalom in and out of them to try and minimise the effect on their suspension, and ignoring cyclists or crossing pedestrians. The hazard to cyclists is often exacerbated by parked cars.

    • Tim says:

      I now see that some shortcomings of traffic islands and speed cushions have come up already! Of course it’s a combination of poorly thought out features and bad driver attitude (as when drivers on a small residential road rev like mad to get past you after one speed bump and then slam on the anchors before the next, or just hit it doing 30mph, which can be kind of funny).

  8. I got the same response from Lambeth Police when I complained about frequent speeding on our residential road – a complete unwillingness to act. The motorists who speed (at the same time every day) down this road will be speeding everywhere else as well but the Police attitude appears to be to prioritise ‘not upsetting motorists’.

    Compare the UK position with that in Switzerland where there is a proposal (which this article seems to think will be implemented) to increase the level of speeding fines (I recommend Google
    translate – automatic if you use Chrome as your browser)\

    Swiss limits ARE enforced – my swiss friends had just picked up a ticket for a
    sub 15kmh infringement – minor ticket – c50CHF) and 20kmh limits are widespread already in towns. Travel at 16kmh over that (so we’re talking 30mph) and expect a 400CHF/c£250 fine.

    Over 40kmkh in a 30 zone (that’s 43mph – a speed I regularly see exceeded on UK 20mph limits
    in the back streets of Brixton) and the proposal is for
    - driver’s license revocation of at least two years,
    + collection and recovery of the vehicle,
    + 1 to 4 years imprisonment

  9. fonant says:

    Most people are generally law-abiding. So when the police say “we won’t fine you for doing 10% over the speed limit” people naturally feel comfortable driving at ~33 in a 30mph limit and ~77 in an 80mph limit. The higher speed becomes the de-facto speed limit, the numbers on the signs no longer represent the practical legal maximum speed. The Good News is that this also means that people will probably try to keep below 22mph, perhaps 25mph, in a 20mph limit, where they would have driven at up to 33mph when it was a 30mph limit.

    But the Bad News is the Police aren’t playing ball. So when police say “we won’t enforce 20 limits” they are sending a clear signal to everyone that 20mph limits are practically meaningless. This is quite terrible.

  10. Back in the day, I applied to work for the British Transport Police, I went on an orientation weekend and being older than most of the other applicants I socialised more with the trainers and police there. The amount of bragging about speeding, inappropriate use of blue lights and general boy racer attitudes I encountered I’d say they may be cracking down on racism within the police but next will be sorting out their relaxed attitude towards traffic regulations. How can they enforce it on the streets when it’s endemic among the force itself.

  11. Chris. says:

    I think a big part of the problem here is the seemingly random lowering of speed limits that is happening all over the place for no apparent reason, and with no real communication from the local authority as to why it has been done.

    Why, for example, was the A24 dual-carriageway along the bottom of Box Hill reduced from an NSL to 50mph? The main difference between this bit of road and any other stretch of dual-carriageway is that it actually DOES have a completely separate, wide pedestrian/cycle path down each side of the road, well separated from the road itself. If you’d shown people footage of the road and asked them what they thought the speed limit was, I doubt anyone would’ve said anything other than NSL. However, for some reason, it changed just before the Olympics to 50, and has never changed back. Why? There seems to be no rationale to the change.

    Likewise, more and more places seem to be getting blanket 20mph speed limits, which are enforced at all times of day. Again, why?

    I can fully understand and agree with having a 20mph speed limit outside a primary school in the mornings and afternoons when children are walking to school, but why do we need 20mph speed limits on straight, unencumbered, school-free quiet residential roads at 11am on a weekday morning (to say nothing of the middle of the night when there is absolutely nobody else around), such as can be found in areas of Worcester Park, for example? What is the logic of increasing journey times of law-abiding motorised vehicle users by 50% when there’s hardly anyone around and driving at 30 presents no significant danger?

    Another oddity is the recent proliferation of short 40mph speed limits in Somerset on the way in to 30mph zones from 50mph or NSL zones. Again, why?? Why is it that in most of the rest of the country, road users can be trusted to slow down for a 30 limit (or should expect to be fined and given points if they don’t), yet interfering local authority bods in Somerset feel the need to govern the pace at which people reduce their speed for 30mph zones? It’s silly, meaningless, and is just another way of undermining what should be absolute respect for sensible, rationally applied speed limits.

    Where speed limits are introduced for a clear reason, and that reason is clearly explained, I think most people stick to them, and the police tend to enforce the limit on those who don’t. Where speed limits appear to have been introduced purely on the grounds of some sort of green agenda with no justification on grounds of safety or efficiency of traffic flow, the police don’t seem any more intent on enforcing them than the average road user seems intent on respecting them.

    • Paul M says:

      Chris – I think the reasons why we should have 20mph limits at all times in all residential and commercial areas – not just around schools at drop-off/pick-up time – is well explained on the website. It is not just kids going to school, but everyone having a more civilised and safer environment where they live, streets as places, not routes.

      Much as I am disturbed by plod’s apparent refusal to apply the law of the land – something they don’t apparently do when it comes to pavement cycling – as 20splenty says, quite a lot can be achieved by self-policing and a gradual shift in attitudes. Remember, while it may be true that two thirds of drivers admit to speeding at least occasionally, that suggests that a third don’t. I observe 20 limits when I come into them for example in Liphook, Hants or in the centre of Portsmouth, and so do quite a few other people. That creates an environment in which others comply, even if only because they are stuck behind people like me. Poeple will get used to them, and will cease to find they feel slow after a while, and will somehow manage to set their in-built speedo to recognise 20 just as now they recognise 30 without constantly checking the dash.

      Sure, there will still be people who breach the 20 limit, just as there are people who exceed 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70 limits, and whatever police policy on enforcement might be, they will do so in the knowledge that htey have a fairly good probability of not being caught.

      Calming measures, such as tighter radii, narrower roads, rough surfacing etc no doubt are more effective at reducing speeds but they cost about 60 times as much as a set of poles and roundels and the occasional flashing warning. As 20splenty points out, the simple roundel approach still reduces average speed by about 2 mph but this also represents a material reduction in accident rates. It also hides a more significant trend – in a national average effect, greater reductions are achieved where average speeds are currently well above 20 than where they are currently close to 20 – not shit, Sherlock! – and average is not the only important indicator. The popular one with road planners is the 85th percentile, ie the speed which 85% of traffic does not exceed. You could have a material drop in 85% speed with relatively little impact on average, if the distribution curve is tight to the average, but it is not the average driver which represents the most threat, it is the speeding one.

    • I’d argue that having speed limits change with the time of day would be rather confusing. How would the sign look? “(20) Mon-Fri 7am-9am and 3pm-5pm, (30) at other times” is a bit wordy.

      I think that 20mph sounds slow to many people who live in the UK as they’re used to 30mph. In time, 20mph will become the norm and people will adjust to it. The bulk of any journey should be on larger roads with higher limits – 20mph is for residential areas, which shouldn’t be used as through-routes anyway.

      Reducing the limit to 20mph won’t add 50% on to your journey time either, as even if it was made entirely within a 30mph zone, a journey won’t actually be driven at 30mph all the way. Drivers should be slowing down for potential hazards for a start, as well as turning corners, slowing at crossings, etc. The speed limit is a limit, not a target, after all! You’re only meant to drive at the speed limit in ideal conditions – i.e. if it’s clear, dry, bright. If it’s raining or if it’s dark, or if there are many people walking or riding bikes, you shouldn’t be driving at 30mph anyway.

      I think it’s well worth slightly longer journeys if it means neighbourhoods become safer, more pleasant places. Don’t be like Homer Simpson: “Reduce the speed limit? Sure, it will save a few lives, but millions will be late!”

      • Chris. says:

        In terms of what the signs would look like, the simple answer is that they would be electronic, just like the variable speed limit signs on gantries on the M25.

        Yes, they might be a bit more expensive than static signs on sticks, but if we can afford to deploy signs with speed detectors built in to flash you with a happy face or a smiley face then surely we could afford to deploy these as well?

        The biggest single factor in increasing compliance with any law is getting people to respect and understand why it’s there, which then gradually makes breaking it socially unacceptable. Drops in drink driving and casual racism didn’t really come around because the legislation got harsher, it came around because society at large decided it was socially unacceptable.

        When you come to apply that to speed limits, however, it’s not so black and white (excuse the pun) as racism or drink driving. Whereas the average member of society would tell you that racism is unacceptable under any circumstances, the average member of society would have a very different view on the acceptability of driving at 30mph outside a school or a row of shops at 08:30 in the morning as opposed to 05:00 in the morning when there are far fewer people around.

        Applying a blanket speed limit to a road or area at all times of day or night is a blunt instrument, and one which is really unnecessary given how cheap and simple it would be to have variable limits in these areas.

        If you’re arguing for blanket speed limits just because you think all motorised vehicles should be made to drive more slowly at all times regardless, then blanket limits are possibly the way to go, although don’t expect too many motorists to obey them, nor the police to enforce them too rigorously.

        If, on the other hand, you’re arguing to make roads safer for all users when it counts, go the extra little step and introduce variable limits which people will be more willing to obey, and you’ll get a much higher compliance rate when it matters..

    • dan says:


      That section of the A24 you cite at the bottom of box hill is arguably pretty dangerous; you fairly regularly see bits of the central hedge missing where some unfortunate has come off the road. The roundabout there is also pretty strange in layout – all in all I think there are some pretty good reasons for that to be 50, mostly to do with preventing non cycling type accidents.

      There is a cycle path but in winter it’s often not safely useable due to ice (very poor drainage allows water to freeze and it’s not gritted) and sometimes snow (I even resorted to studded snow tyres this winter, but still pretty dicey) and sometimes the road feels safer.

      As far as this motorist (and cyclist) is concerned speed limits are generally not just arbitrarily imposed. And no, people generally don’t stick to the limits, even when there are some pretty obvious reasons; in a residential 30 zone in Horsham I’m normally holding up someone trying to go faster.

  12. The technical aspects look like a blog I need to write, so I will keep comments short:

    (i) The press release is a disgrace and the members of ACPO should all be disciplined. ACPO is essentially the professional institution for senior officers and is it not a government organisation.

    (ii) The “rules”/”guidance” have recently been relaxed by the government and now surprisingly little traffic calming is required.

    (iii) Unrestricted through traffic is the issue as well and needs to be tackled along with the 20mph limit/ Zone schemes.

  13. Christine Jones says:

    The idea of changing the limit to 20mph from 30mph in built up areas shouldn’t just be about enforcement although if the police were to initially crack down during the implementation period (which they clearly haven’t been doing) it would be a start. I thought of it like seat belts, in the beginning the police were forever stopping drivers their passengers for not wearing a seat belt, now for the vast majority it’s automatic. The change may take a few years but that’s really what the police should see it as. Also, to my mind, if motorists do habitually break the limit by 5-10mph on average, it’s better that the drivers who were doing 40mph in a 30zone would be doing 30mph in a 20mph zone, that’s still an improvement.
    On a separate issue, driving in the UK is seen as a right, pretty much the only thing you can buy 24hrs a day 365 days a year is petrol after all. This country has successfully banned cycling is actually the reality. 20% down to 1% in 50 years is very impressive, the only other success story like that I can think of was down to immunisation. If they had the same results on cracking down on current health issues like heart disease and cancer (preventable with more exercise) it would be a miracle.
    I hope that something is done about reducing the size of vehicles allowed through built up areas is a massive thing too. Every day articulated lorries wizz past our house, one blew my son off his bike as he cycled along on the pavement. I want to see them off our residential roads for good.
    The Independent published a story on how the UK government took the fact that it will far exceed the N02 emissions levels set by the EU, that were still high according to the World Health Organisation and shrugged their shoulders. We should be banging down the doors of Westminster asking why on earth we have such high pollution levels in this country and they are doing eff all about it.
    I would like to see the right not to drive!

  14. Andrea says:

    If the Police are not interested in enforcing life-saving laws, than the citizens are entitled to take their own measures to defend themselves, such as erecting obstructions to slow down motor vehicles.

  15. There is an argument about why shouldn’t people be able to drive at 50mph in the early hours of the morning where the is otherwise a 30mph limit as there is nobody about. The trouble is, urban roads with 30mph limits (generally) were not designed for high speeds and combined with drivers having the perception that they are more skilled than they are is the reason there are night time crashes as my day job post bag will attest to. And of course, the speeding night time driver is always better than the others. Additionally, speeding traffic at night is noisy and so slower traffic helps to keep residential areas quiet and civilised. The blanket 30mph urban limit was chosen decades ago and things have moved on and so we are overdue a change. In terms of comparing the issue with variable speed limits on the motorways, it doesn’t stack up. Motorways are designed very consistently and vary little is happening compared with the junctions, crossings, shops, buses etc of urban areas. Plus, variable speed limits are overseen by control rooms of people monitoring CCTV over very regular distances.

  16. Chris says:

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that we should have variable speed limits in urban areas in the same way as they are on motorways, just that the same sort of sign could be used instead of a static display with times and limits all written on it.

    I’m also not suggesting that introducing variable speed limits should result in limits going above 30 at any point – I agree that the infrastructure wasn’t designed for that – but that the introduction of a 24/7 lower limit because we want people to drive more slowly at certain times of the day ( and I assume nobody is suggesting it’s irresponsible to drive along an urban road at 30 in the middle of the night) is lazy, and I would think counterproductive, because people are more likely to break it than they would be if it was just in force some of the time.

    • In a country where the indigenous population seems unable to entertain themselves in the evening without consuming copious amounts of alcohol, which hinders their ability to walk straight, the exception to a 30kph limit would make sense only for a very small number of hours in the deep of the night.

      Unless of course you are in favour of the death penalty for walking inebriated.

  17. Jeremy Parker says:

    Talking about the “design nature” of a road is reather odd, when you consider how traffic engineers recommend speed limits should actually be set.

    Traffic engineers seem to have totally given up any attempt to relate speed limits to the nature of the road. Instead they recommend that one should watch what speeds motorists actually drive at, and then set the limit to turn one driver in seven into a criminal.

    There is some pseudo scientific thought behind that, which I will leave readers to guess at, but, philosophically, it does seem a bit odd.

    I don’t think that there is a matching recommendation that one driver in seven should get a ticket.

    Jeremy Parker

    • Probably 1 in 7 aren’t capable of being in charge of a potentially lethal weapon either. The roads here are skewed totally towards allowing people to do what they want when they want so long as they are protected by a metal box. The speed limit is rarely enforced and if you get a ticket, big deal, we manage to avoid getting them, it’s called driving responsibly and with consideration. Better still drive less, best way to avoid getting a speeding ticket. Because someone says your car can get from 0-60 in 4 seconds we should demonstrate that as often as possible? The speed limits need to go down in built up areas and anything over 7.5 tonnes should not be metres away from kids walking to school! We are grateful when they don’t knock us over because we have got in their way. Roads were once there to let people move around and get from AtoB now, that only applies to vehicles and the rest of us can scuttle out the way while breathing toxic fumes. There needs to be a massive shift away from allowing our streets to belong to motor vehicles. They belong to people, children, disabled, elderly, pregnant mums. All people. Holland’s cycle network and segregating heavy fast traffic makes life so much healthier and happier for thousands of disabled people as well as the very young and very old.

      • pm says:

        Something that I find blackly amusing is the continuous push-me-pull-me fight that motorists have with themselves over their contradictory demands for clear thoroughfares _and_ to be allowed to park anywhere they feel like, including using those thoroughfares as carparks.

        The whole issue of on-street parking needs to be comprehensively re-addressed. Not only is there currently no enforcement of parking rules whatsoever (with cars double parking, parking on pavements, in mandatory cycle lanes, on double red and double yellow lines, in ASLs, dangerously close to junctions, blocking dropped curbs, right on top of ‘keep clear’ markings and hatched/chevroned road surfaces, and on zig-zags outside schools, with impunity) but there’s also a constant political pressure for more free-parking – leading to absurdities such as parking bays painted on pavements leaving insufficient room for pedestrians to pass, or parking bays provided right next to junctions where parked vehicles will then impede visibility for those using the junction.

        There needs to be a clear distinction between quiet side roads, where parking is allowed but most through-traffic (and any traffic over 20mph) is banned, vs actual throughfares where on-street parking should not be permitted at all. I’m tired of taking a quiet side street which has barely one lane available due to parking, only to encounter an on-coming rat-runner doing 50mph straight at me who expects me to get out of his way, even while I’m the one on the correct side of the road..

  18. Speeding can be controlled. In Australia, relentless and continuous prosecution of speeding drivers through fixed speed cameras, hidden cameras, mobile units and hand held has made Aussie drivers stick to about 55kph in a 60 zone. They get no slack from police if pulled over at 62kph, and none at 102kph either. It’s the only way it will change. It’s shocking that most people take such a wilful approach to speed limits in this country, supported by irresponsible journalists and motoring organisations. This has to end to make roads into places.

  19. Pingback: “Get Britain Cycling” | Road Danger Reduction Forum

  20. “police think 20 mph limits are unreasonably slow” 20mph is quite slow when you are in a car, but rather fast if you get hit by one.

  21. Pingback: motorism is… | Pedestrian Liberation

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