Drop in num­ber of crashes af­ter new 20mph limit

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

THE num­ber of crashes has dropped where 20mph speed lim­its have been im­posed in Bir­mimgham – but most driv­ers are still driv­ing too fast, it has been re­vealed.

A re­port for the coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee this week re­vealed the out­come of the lat­est road safety scheme.

In Oc­to­ber 2016 three ar­eas were tested for the pi­lot project :

The city cen­tre, in­side the A4540 Mid­dle­way;

Cen­tral east : Wash­wood Heath, Bordes­ley Green and Small Heath;

Cen­tral south: Bal­sall Heath, Spark­broook, Mose­ley and Kings Heath.

A 20mph speed limit was im­ple­mented on most of the res­i­den­tial streets in the ar­eas but not the A and B roads form­ing the main dis­trib­u­tor net­work.

A fourth area – Cen­tral south­west, in­clud­ing Edg­bas­ton, Har­borne and Selly Oak – is cur­rently be­ing im­ple­mented but is yet to be re­viewed.

Data for the three pi­lot ar­eas showed there were fewer in­ci­dents and out­comes were sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter for ‘se­ri­ous’ col­li­sions. In the city cen­tre there were 17 se­ri­ous col­li­sions a year on av­er­age prior to the 20mph limit, but since then the num­ber has fallen to eight.

In the east the fig­ure has fallen from 16 to nine, and in the south it was down from 13 to eight.

Across the en­tire city, se­ri­ous col­li­sions dropped from 149 a year to 99 – a 33 per cent re­duc­tion.

The fig­ures com­pared the three­year pe­riod be­fore the 20mph lim­its to the first year of the scheme.

Speed was also recorded with re­sults show­ing on av­er­age it dropped by 1.4mph on the 20mph roads – but it still re­mained above the limit at 26mph.

An im­me­di­ate im­prove­ment had not been ex­pected and the 20mph lim­its will be a longer-term process that “re­de­fines the re­la­tion­ship which mo­torists have with res­i­den­tial roads”.

Nev­er­the­less it said the pi­lot schemes had shown ‘promis­ing signs’ in the first year.

It is hoped the scheme will make res­i­dents more con­fi­dent to walk and cy­cle in their neigh­bour­hoods and cut down un­nec­es­sary car trips, re­duc­ing emis­sions and im­prov­ing air qual­ity.

The lim­its are seen as a much more cost-ef­fec­tive step com­pared to 20mph ‘zones’ which in­clude speed humps that are ex­pen­sive to in­stall.

Any re­duc­tion in se­ri­ous col­li­sions will reap vast sav­ings for wider pub­lic ser­vices such as the po­lice and NHS.

Stud­ies es­ti­mate a fa­tal­ity costs the pub­lic purse £1.8 mil­lion while a se­ri­ous in­jury costs £207,000.

The re­port states: “If peo­ple think that their neigh­bours are pos­i­tive about the in­tro­duc­tion of 20mph speed lim­its, then it is far more likely they will adopt a pos­i­tive stance and com­ply with this.”

> 20mph lim­its are be­ing in­tro­duced

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