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New speed limits to improve safety and encourage cycling

Drivers in Oxford warned to stick to new 20mph limits

New 20mph speed limits will be introduced in parts of Oxford from tomorrow as part of a scheme to improve road safety and encourage cycling and walking in the city.

Almost all residential roads and parts of the city’s arterial routes will have the new 20mph limits in a project that is thought to have cost Oxfordshire County Council around £300,000 to put together.

Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for transport implementation, told the BBC: "We had received lots of calls from local people over a long period of time to consider 20mph speed limits in residential roads.

"The advice was that a reduction in speed would reduce the number and severity of accidents, encourage walking and cycling and generally improve the environment for pedestrians.”

New signs have been going up across the city for the last fortnight and roadshow events will be held this week for motorists to find out more information about the changes.

Thames Valley Police’s deputy head of roads policing, Chief Inspector Gill Wootton, has said that officers would enforce the 20mph zones just like any other speed limit but it would be up to residents to request enforcement in areas where they believe speed limits are regularly being broken.

Police will follow guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which states that motorists caught driving between 25mph and 34mph in a 20mph zone will be issued with fines and get penalty points on licences.

As part of the scheme, 1,900 new 20mph signs have been put in place around Oxford and the council hopes the move will reduce the two fatal, 81 serious and 583 slight accidents which happened on roads in the new 20mph areas between 2006 and 2008.

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DaveP | 14 years ago


Traffic pulling into and out of side streets is the usual reason for me to hear: "Sorry mate I didn't see you!"


OldRidgeback | 14 years ago

Better enforcement of existing road rules is the answer. On my motorbike/bicycle commute (it varies) I see lots of car drivers texting at the wheel/using mobile phones, smoking dope, switching lanes without looking, driving too close and in vehicles that are clearly unroadworthy due to rust, flat/bald tyres or that have twisted chassis and are crabbing sideways down the road. Speed is usually not the issue. Maybe ensuring that everyone drives at 20mph will reduce the risk a little but it won't cut the numbers of accidents or deal with the underlying problem of careless and inattentive drivers in defective vehicles.

DaveP | 14 years ago

I cycle and /cough/ drive down Long Ln. and through the Orford area. So far I've not seen any speed monitoring...  37

kao | 14 years ago

in an ideal world, (with plentiful resources) everyone should be made to take a refresher driver course every ten years or so.

this would remind drivers what theyre meant to be doing, make them notice their bad habits that theyve slipped into (eg constantly driving in the middle lane on motorways).

it would also provide an opportunity to re-educate? drivers about cyclists and other road users

a 20mph speed limit is always better, then the stopping distance is much shorter, which at least hopefully minimises injury...?!

mrchrispy | 14 years ago

but if you make the road slower then dont the drivers become more aware due to the very fact they are going slower? They'll also stop quicker if kids jump out infront of them, which for me, is the important part.

you can't 'educate' drivers, they need to be slowed down in residential areas.

I'd support the 20pmh, keep main drags at 30 but the samller residential streets need to be 20.

PzychotropicMac | 14 years ago

I agree whole heartedly. I work in a road safety/cycle safety environment for a local authority and I am already having this argument with people within 2 weeks of starting.

They are set on making every road slower rather than concentrating on making drivers more aware, this is a huge frustration to me. If I go under a car at 20mph my bike and I are still going to get crushed. Make the drivers more aware and more accountable.

Your attitude re:councillors seems to be accurate so far!

the-daily-ripper | 14 years ago

I'm anti this whole 20mph thing in a massive way. Speed is not the issue, it's responsibility of the driver. The 20mph limits seem to be cropping up more and more round my way with little or no consultation and on roads that have no issue with speeding in the first place.

It's all about spending council budgets by some twathead nannystate liberal councillors.

Bloody glad I'm not from Warrington, they'll be telling me what to wear next.

Rod King | 14 years ago


I also live in Warrington and have been involved in campaigning for the implementation of 20 mph limits across the whole town.

Warrington has put in 147 20 mph limits as a pilot and is monitoring the speed reductions. In almost every case speeds have been reduced. The police are now enforcing the limits where it is exceeded.

If DaveP can report his observations to Mark Tune at mtune [at] then Mark will use this information to pass on to the Police.

alternatively, let me know the road and I will speak to Mark.

In other countries lower speeds are the foundation of their cycling friendly road sharing.

It will happen here as well. If we want cycling to be done by more than the "fit and the brave" then we need to make it easier for everyone to cycle.

See for more info.

Best regards

Rod King

DaveP | 14 years ago

We've had a 20mph 'limit' on areas in Warrington for a while now... I commute down one road that is a very busy rat-run in the rush hour. I don't think many drivers actually pay any attention to the 20mph nor do the Police.

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