New 20mph speed limit will make central Bristol roads safer

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By Clifton People | Thursday, January 23, 2014, 14:16

Roads in central Bristol are set to become much safer as a new 20mph speed limit was launched on Tuesday 21st January.

Following extensive consultation with local residents all 30mph roads in Cabot, Cotham, Clifton, Clifton East, Bishopston, Redland wards (excluding five roads) will be included in the scheme. 40mph, 50mph and dual carriageways will not be included.

The central area scheme is the first of six phases in Bristol City Council’s 20mph citywide programme designed to make streets safer and improve quality of life for local communities.

Two pilot schemes running since May 2010 in the south (Bedminster, Southville and Windmill Hill) and east (Ashley, Easton, Eastville, Lawrence Hill and St Georges West) have been successful with 82 per cent of local residents supporting their scheme now it is in place.

20mph speed limits are being introduced to reduce the risk and severity of collisions in Bristol. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) while there is a 20 per cent chance of fatal injury when someone is hit by a car travelling at 30mph, this reduces to just 2.5 per cent if the car is travelling at 20mph.

Slower speeds have also been shown to support people to become more active, through increased cycling and walking.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “The new speed limit is part of a number of measures that we are introducing that will help to promote road safety, improve traffic flow, support sustainable transport and active travel and help to make Bristol a more positive place to live and work. The response to the pilot scheme, including the area live, has been extremely positive as has been the reaction of a majority of consultees during the various consultation exercises that have been underway.

“We realise that the change in speed limit will take a little getting used to but I know from my own experience how little impact the reduction in speed will have on journey times. We’ve carried out extensive research looking at popular routes through the city which shows that there will be a 10 second increase to journey times per mile (under one minute per five miles) in the central area. We’ll be monitoring the impact of the scheme once it is live and are looking forward to reporting some positive changes within our local communities in the coming years.”

Head of Avon and Somerset Police's Roads Policing Unit Superintendent Matt Ayres said: “We have been working in close partnership with Bristol City Council to ensure that, in line with national guidance, the look and feel of the 20mph zones are based on ‘designing out speed’ so that they help drivers take responsibility for their driving behaviour and accepted speed.

“Communities also have a big role to play. The Community Speed Watch schemes, which our local police teams run in partnership with local authorities, allow communities to take control of their roads and there are plans to extend the number of these schemes in Bristol, which rely on volunteers and local, community engagement.

“There is also a national scheme being developed aimed at educating drivers who are caught speeding in the 20mph limits and we will be implementing a pilot scheme in the Bristol area linked to this. This will involve drivers being given the option to attend a driver awareness course instead of receiving a fine or points on their licence.

“Finally, if data and evidence proves that there is a risk and a threat to the public as a result of speeding in specific areas, there will have to be a tiered response: firstly to look at re-engineering or designing out the ability for a driver to speed; secondly, Community Speed Watch for local people to self-enforce; and finally the mobile safety camera vans will operate either in those pilot areas or the areas which have been identified as high risk and threat."

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Bristol City Council’s launch of 20mph limits will help road users to stop, think and kill their speed, encouraging all local people who use the roads to have greater respect not only for one another but also their surrounding community.

“Community Speed Watch volunteers carry out fantastic work in making our roads a safer place to be. I hope that many residents across Bristol will be inspired to volunteer for their local Community Speed Watch scheme.”

Headteacher of Colston Primary School Maddy Kent said: “Our whole school community is extremely pleased that the 20 mph speed limit is being introduced to roads in our area as it will have a direct positive impact on the safety of all our children and their families. It also supports our school values as an Eco Green Flag school and a member of the Active Travel programme.”

Dr Ben Walton, Consultant in Critical Care and Clinical Lead for Major Trauma at North Bristol NHS Trust, the area’s major trauma centre, said: "Here at North Bristol NHS Trust we see first-hand the real and lasting damage caused by car accidents.

"The simple fact of the matter is that the slower a car is travelling when it is involved in an accident the lower the chances of those involved in that accident being killed or suffering life threatening injuries. As such I welcome the Council's decision to introduce 20 mph speed restrictions in areas where they feel the risk of accident is highest.”

The 20mph schemes are being implemented, following local consultation, on a rolling basis and are planned to be completed by March 2015.

Consultation for the next phase, covering Filwood, Knowle, Brislington and Ashton Vale, will take place in February. The consultation will help establish which main roads in these areas will be excluded from the scheme. This consultation will be repeated in each phase.

The Council’s decision to implement the new speed limit citywide was outlined in the 2010 Joint Local Transport Plan.

The £2.3million scheme is funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund awarded by the Government in 2012. In terms of future cost savings the average value of prevention of just one slight and one serious injury alone is £200,000.

For further information about 20mph in Bristol including a map and timetable for each phase plus a journey planner visit



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