Will a borough-wide 20mph speed limit work?

  • 23 November 2011
  • From the section London
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Islington Council is set to become the first council in the UK to introduce 20mph limits on its roads.

I am told the vote on Thursday night is a formality, as the proposal has cross-party support.

In producing my report, I was surprised by the reaction of the many I interviewed.

A "white van man" said he liked the idea, while a pensioner I spoke to said the 20mph limit is too slow.

The main issue is that it relies on drivers themselves sticking to the new limit to smooth traffic flow.

Some would argue there is not much change there, as on most roads the speed limit is rarely enforced by police.

Self-enforcement

Traffic cameras do work for slowing cars at some points, but many drivers simply speed up afterwards.

What speed limits rely on are drivers' conscience and the preventative power of the risk of getting caught.

As the opening sequence of the video shows, drivers on main roads like Caledonian Road do not stick to the 30mph limit as it is.

We filmed 15 vehicles including a bus, a post van and numerous cars which, according to a flashing speed warning sign, were breaking the limit.

The police and the council are hoping "self-enforcement" and education change attitudes towards speed.

They want it to have the same stigma as drinking and driving now does compared to 20 years ago.

So will it work?

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