Monday 6 August 2012

20 mph! for the whole city! Disaster!

Terrible news reaches us: the council has voted in 20mph speed limits on all residential roads in the inner city.

This is heartbreaking. It doesn't actually mean much as the only time you can put your foot down is in the 11pm+ "minicab hours", where 40mph is the defacto speed limit -but it's the thought that counts.

This proposal is clearly pandering to the people who live in the city, at the expense of the commuters from the edges of the town, from North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Those people, the wealth bringers, need to drive in to the city in their status-vehicles, and now have to face a council even more war-on-motorist than before.

Why do the councillors choose such a short-sighted policy? It's because of the forthcoming mayoral elections. The wealth bringers outside the city don't have any vote in the election, so their needs can be ignored. Such a plan can only bring financial disaster to the region.

One councillor, Peter Abraham, has been bold enough to stand up against this, "it will cause frustration to motorists" he says, before slipping the code-phrase "driving at the right speed for the right conditions". This is the secret handshake of ABD, just as the phrase "indigenous people" is to the BNP.

Sadly for Peter Abrams, the ABD are as completely out of touch with a modern city as the BNP are. Look at our previously documented video of the 20 mph zone of Montpelier:

The frustation that YY03YGM, experiences is not the 20 mph speed limit, which they manage to get past while overtaking the cyclist. No, what is frustrating is

  1. The cyclist with the camera doing 18-19 mph in the 20 mph zone.
  2. The oncoming bicycle at the junction which forces the car to come to a complete halt.
  3. The person walking their dog in the road at 0:56
  4. The oncoming bicycle at (1:03)
  5. The oncoming bicycle at (1:06)
  6. The two children playing in the road on a pogo stick at 1:15
  7. The bicycle at 1:25
  8. The people walking the road carrying a box at 1:28
  9. The car parked in the road with its hazard lights on at 1:30.
These are the problems. Not the speed limit, but the way it encourages people to walk, cycle, -even play in the streets. This is the real problem. It downgrades the residential streets from "rat runs where the right conditions are 30mph even through corners" to "quiet roads where people are walking, cycling and playing there as if it was 1908 and cars hadn't arrived; a country where people driving are viewed as unwelcome invaders instead of an essential part of the life of the city".

This is exactly what threatens us. When the council says "encourage walking and cycling", it means "encourage anti-motorist activities in the city".

As Peter Abraham says, "Are we going to harass the motorists every mile they drive?" 

If you look at Montpelier -that's exactly what they are doing. And it's exactly what the council is planning on rolling out across the entire city.   


Aurelius said...

I think we already know how successful the 20mph limit will be, don't we? It will be as successful as the 30mph limit which preceded it.

Police have said that enforcement of 20mph will be "extremely challenging". This is code for "we aren't going to bother enforcing it, any more than we bother to enforce the existing limits". Your de-facto limit of 40mph is a gross underestimate in my experience. On roads like Whiteladies, 60mph is typical after 9pm.

Of course, the 20mph limit gives a slightly bigger stick to beat the driver with once he's mown down and killed someone; he may get fined £300 rather than £200. This will not be of much comfort to the victim.

Bristol Traffic said...

60 mph? That' s Pembroke Road's speed most of the week -and alongside the downs. Then there's Cotham Road -same game.

The wider the road, the faster the cars go. Putting in segregated cycle routes inside of parking would be good here, especially as all of these roads have relative few junctions.

AJUK said...

I'd freely admit that driving speeds up to 30 down streets like this is never safe. That's why UK limits are set by presence of street lights rather than signs designed to encourage a "safe speed" and why you have reckless, careless and dangerous driving laws.
Anyone likely to drive an unsafe speed for the conditions down streets like this is the sort of person who will not be going slower because the council stuck some signs up.