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20mph limit at schools ‘misplaced’

Although the call for a 20mph speed limit around schools seems sensible, statistically children are most at risk away from their school and as they approach their home.

While motorists 'see' more danger around the school, it is fast speeds in the rest of the urban network that cause the real danger.

Around most schools that are not on main roads, the primary danger to children is from crush injuries resulting from low speed manoeuvring of cars parking.

So 20mph around schools is misplaced and fails to solve a problem that is far deeper than this. With urban speed limits 60% higher than our continental neighbours (30mph rather than 30kph) it is little wonder that the UK road casualties are more likely to be pedestrians than any other Western European country. Twenty-one per cent of deaths are pedestrian compared to an average of 14.7% in Europe.

Under latest guidelines, local authorities have a duty to fully take into account the needs of vulnerable road users when setting speed limits.

For residential roads, 30mph is just too high where motor vehicles mix with pedestrians and cyclists.

It's time for us all to follow the example of Portsmouth which has made a collective community commitment to road safety and quality of life by introducing a 20mph limit on all residential roads apart from arterial roads.

Most importantly, by adopting an authority-wide implementation, they have ensured that most drivers gain from the 20mph where they live, so greatly assisting compliance when driving throughout the city.

Around schools, 20mph appears to do something for children where drivers see them most, but only protects children on the safest part of their journey. It is misguided and falls far short of the level of respect and duty of care which we owe to our children.

Rod King

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph