Serious road accident rates in areas governed by 20mph speed limits increased by over a quarter (26 per cent) last year, according to analysis of government data by road safety charity, Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Slight accidents on 20mph roads also increased by 17 per cent.
Accident reductions elsewhere
In the same year, there was a decrease in the number of serious and slight accidents on 30mph roads and 40 mph roads. Serious accidents went down nine per cent on 30mph roads and seven per cent on 40 mph roads.
There was a five per cent reduction in slight accidents on 30 mph roads and a three per cent decrease on 40 mph roads.
Casualties, including those involving pedestrians in 20mph zones also saw a rise. Serious casualties increased by 29 per cent while slight casualties went up by 19 per cent.
Recent research suggests that the majority of drivers are opposed to the idea of introducing more 20mph areas, with many failing to see proof of their worth.
Time to take stock
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “The government and councils need to take stock on the effectiveness of 20mph signs.
“Recent advice, guidance and relaxation of regulations has all been about making it easier for councils to put 20mph limits in place.
“More and more roads are being given a 20mph limit but they do not seem to be delivering fewer casualties. The IAM are concerned that this is because simply putting a sign on a road that still looks like a 30mph zone does not change driver behaviour.
“More evaluation and research is needed into the real world performance of 20mph limits to ensure limited funds are being well spent.
“In locations with a proven accident problem, authorities need to spend more on changing the character of our roads so that 20mph is obvious, self-enforcing and above all contributes to fewer injuries. In Europe, it is long term investment in high quality segregated or shared surfaces that have led to a much safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Source: Road Safety GB
Date Published: July 5, 2014
Author: David Brown