More evidence needed on 20mph limits, says motor boss

054067-76_SPEED       30/8/05'New 20 mph speed limit signs erected at the Anglesea Road end of Queen Street in Portsea''PICTURE:JONATHAN BRADY     054067-76
054067-76_SPEED 30/8/05'New 20 mph speed limit signs erected at the Anglesea Road end of Queen Street in Portsea''PICTURE:JONATHAN BRADY 054067-76
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MORE evidence is needed about the effectiveness of 20mph speed limits before they are introduced across entire areas, it has been claimed.

Breakdown firm RAC says the jury is out on whether 20mph limits cut the number of accidents and fatalities on our roads.

It comes five years after Portsmouth City Council introduced 20mph limits in the city.

David Bizley, the technical director at the RAC, said: ‘I think the jury’s out. We certainly know they work where they’re applied around schools and known accident blackspots and the figures demonstrate motorists understand those limits and in fact stick to them extremely well.

‘We’re not against 20mph limits but we do think there needs to be clearer evidence because every speed limit is a compromise between convenience for road users and safety.

‘If safety was the only consideration we’d be doing 20mph on motorways.

‘More evidence is required before a blanket 20mph is applied across all residential areas.’

Mr Bizley also said these limits can harm local businesses.

‘Certainly they do hit local tradespeople,’ he added.

‘If you have 20mph limits close to a school the inconvenience is low and the benefits are high.

‘But if you think about delivery drivers who spend their entire day travelling around urban areas, it will slow them down and put the cost of the goods they’re delivering up.’

Amber Kerens-Bathmaker, acting assistant head of transport at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Our 20mph scheme is a resounding success. Every year since 2008, when the scheme was completed, casualties across the board on the 20mph roads have been significantly lower compared to casualties in roads that have remained 30mph.

‘The scheme has received very high support from residents. They realise that our narrow residential streets, often with parking on both sides, are not suitable for 30mph limits. The vast majority of drivers, who keep to safe speeds, welcome the official backing that the signs give them.’