Safety drive to see increase in 20mph zones across Northern Ireland
Minister aims to roll out speed limits in residential areas to protect public
More 20mph speed limits are to be introduced outside schools at peak times, it has emerged.
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said he was “particularly keen” to see an increase in the zones at schools, especially those close to main roads.
The Sinn Fein minister said he had asked officials to examine how current policy can be refined to allow for increased provision. However, this will be determined by costs.
He revealed there were 713 streets across the province which have enforceable 20mph speed limits in place.
They form part of almost 500 traffic-calmed areas featuring measures aimed at reducing speeds to 20mph, the majority of which do not have speed limit signs.
“These have been engineered to maximise road safety benefits, and implemented in areas where there was a history of collisions or where there are high levels of vulnerable road users,” the Mr Hazzard said.
“My department will introduce 20mph limits and zones in situations where there is a particular risk to vulnerable road users, especially in residential areas.
“Successful 20mph zones employ self-enforcing engineering measures such as road humps, central islands and other traffic-calming measures to reduce traffic speeds resulting in substantial reductions in the number and severity of injury collisions.”
Responding to an Assembly question, Mr Hazzard added: “I am particularly keen to see more part-time 20mph speed limits outside schools, especially where the school is on a road where the national speed limit applies. I have asked my officials to consider further refinements to the policy for this measure that would facilitate an increased provision, subject to available funding.”
His move comes despite an Assembly report three years ago showing new 20mph speed zones in urban areas across Northern Ireland would not significantly reduce the level of road deaths.
Stormont’s then regional development committee said research over a 10-year period had shown most casualties happened in rural areas.
Former Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy had warned new road signs for 20mph limits in residential areas would cost at least £6m, and potentially up to £26m.