‘20 limits distract motorists and should be abandoned’

‘20 limits distract motorists and should be abandoned’

‘20 limits distract motorists and should be abandoned’

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

OXFORD’s 20mph speed zones should be abolished because they distract drivers, it has been claimed.

Institute of Advanced Motorists consultant Mark McArthur-Christie said drivers spent too much time watching speedometers and should instead be trained to drive more slowly.

It comes as the institute released figures showing half of drivers were against blanket 20mph speed limits on urban roads.

Mr McArthur-Christie, from Witney, who is also a former lobbyist for the Association of British Drivers, said: “There is no doubt that the more hazards there are the slower you need to go and there are more in urban areas.

“But on roads like Botley Road and St Giles they are not helpful because they are places where it is perfectly safe to go at 30mph.”

Anna Semlyen, campaign director of 20’s Plenty for Us and a former Oxford University student, said the survey carried out by Institute of Advanced Motorists was “a nonsense”.

She said: “McArthur-Christie’s claims are rubbish. You have got to look at your speedometer whatever the limit may be. There is no proof that people are more dangerous at 20mph. In fact, you are more safe because your stopping distance is shorter.

“The institute asked drivers the wrong question and all this is just scaremongering.

“Nobody is asking for a blanket limit of 20mph to be imposed.

“Getting rid of the 20mph zones in Oxford would be a very misguided idea – there really is no disadvantage to them. In residential areas 30mph is just too fast.

“It is wrong to have children living on streets that are 30mph, because their parents will want them to stay inside their homes.”

Mr McArthur-Christie said: “It is also an issue for me when I’m cycling because it means drivers are alongside you for far too long, looking at their speedometers and not me. That is worrying, especially when turning left. You get compliance but at a risk to safety.

“We should instead be sending people on speed awareness courses and training them to drive slower naturally. The issue needs to be re-examined completely. The 20mph zones need to be reversed and we should not implement any more.”

Sections of major city centre roads and residential streets across Oxford were made 20mph zones in a £250,000 move by Oxfordshire County Council on September 1, 2009. St Clement’s, Botley Road, St Giles, High Street and The Plain all saw accidents fall from between 22 and 66 per cent in the four years that followed.

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Comments (8)

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12:34pm Mon 26 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I agree, 20mph limits are ridiculous, I drive to the road conditions.
If I'm in a residential area, the last thing that's going to worry me is my speed, I'm too busy watching out for hazards.
A 20mph limit isn't going to stop a child from running between two parked cars, but a driver watching his speedometer, is more likely to knock that child over, than one who's not.
I agree, 20mph limits are ridiculous, I drive to the road conditions. If I'm in a residential area, the last thing that's going to worry me is my speed, I'm too busy watching out for hazards. A 20mph limit isn't going to stop a child from running between two parked cars, but a driver watching his speedometer, is more likely to knock that child over, than one who's not. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 5

2:46pm Mon 26 May 14

Floflo says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
I agree, 20mph limits are ridiculous, I drive to the road conditions.
If I'm in a residential area, the last thing that's going to worry me is my speed, I'm too busy watching out for hazards.
A 20mph limit isn't going to stop a child from running between two parked cars, but a driver watching his speedometer, is more likely to knock that child over, than one who's not.
As I driver I really struggle with the argument that 20 mph is problematic as you need to keep an eye on what speed you are going. If you can't safely stick to 20 mph then is why is 30 mph any better for you?

You are right about children running out. This happens and you can't control it. Of course you can always blame the kids for getting run over. What you can control is your chance of killing the child. At 20 mph if you hit a child it has a 10% chance dying. At 30 mph you have a 90% chance of killing it.
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: I agree, 20mph limits are ridiculous, I drive to the road conditions. If I'm in a residential area, the last thing that's going to worry me is my speed, I'm too busy watching out for hazards. A 20mph limit isn't going to stop a child from running between two parked cars, but a driver watching his speedometer, is more likely to knock that child over, than one who's not.[/p][/quote]As I driver I really struggle with the argument that 20 mph is problematic as you need to keep an eye on what speed you are going. If you can't safely stick to 20 mph then is why is 30 mph any better for you? You are right about children running out. This happens and you can't control it. Of course you can always blame the kids for getting run over. What you can control is your chance of killing the child. At 20 mph if you hit a child it has a 10% chance dying. At 30 mph you have a 90% chance of killing it. Floflo
  • Score: -5

10:03pm Mon 26 May 14

goridebus says...

Hi,
About a month ago my 2 year old son ran out between two parked cars into the road. Fine, I didn't stop him, my fault. But he got hit by a van, and ended up in hospital with a fractured skull. The van was doing 15mph. What would have happened if he had been doing 30 (the limit), or 40?
Seeing my son put in the back of an ambulance is not something that I, nor the van driver, want to see again. The simple fact is that in urban residential streets, slower is better.
He is OK, but before I go to sleep at night I wonder about what might have happened.
So it is all very well saying, well I am a safe driver, blah blah, but the van driver couldn't avoid hitting my son. It is down to the fact he was driving slowly that he is still here. And regardless of whose fault it was, would you want to think of it every day for the rest of your life?
Hi, About a month ago my 2 year old son ran out between two parked cars into the road. Fine, I didn't stop him, my fault. But he got hit by a van, and ended up in hospital with a fractured skull. The van was doing 15mph. What would have happened if he had been doing 30 (the limit), or 40? Seeing my son put in the back of an ambulance is not something that I, nor the van driver, want to see again. The simple fact is that in urban residential streets, slower is better. He is OK, but before I go to sleep at night I wonder about what might have happened. So it is all very well saying, well I am a safe driver, blah blah, but the van driver couldn't avoid hitting my son. It is down to the fact he was driving slowly that he is still here. And regardless of whose fault it was, would you want to think of it every day for the rest of your life? goridebus
  • Score: 1

1:53am Wed 28 May 14

Neonlights says...

"What would have happened if he had been doing 30 (the limit), or 40?"

He would have already gone past before your son had run out.

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=Jf791DRbb
EE
"What would have happened if he had been doing 30 (the limit), or 40?" He would have already gone past before your son had run out. http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=Jf791DRbb EE Neonlights
  • Score: 0

9:36pm Wed 28 May 14

goridebus says...

Then he would have been hit by the one behind.
Then he would have been hit by the one behind. goridebus
  • Score: -1

9:37pm Wed 28 May 14

goridebus says...

Then he would have been hit by the one behind. Or the one behind that. Sorry, you are not as clever as you think you are.
Then he would have been hit by the one behind. Or the one behind that. Sorry, you are not as clever as you think you are. goridebus
  • Score: -1

1:00am Thu 29 May 14

Neonlights says...

Quite a busy residential street then.

Why weren't you paying more attention to your son knowing that it's so busy?

Speed itself doesn't kill. There are many other factors too, but speed is the easiest one to blame.
Quite a busy residential street then. Why weren't you paying more attention to your son knowing that it's so busy? Speed itself doesn't kill. There are many other factors too, but speed is the easiest one to blame. Neonlights
  • Score: 1

10:49am Fri 30 May 14

Paul0 says...

Genuine question here: What caused the sudden, dramatic decline in accidents on the roads in the 20 mph zone? It might not be the speed limit -- but whatever it is, we should apply it to other roads.
Genuine question here: What caused the sudden, dramatic decline in accidents on the roads in the 20 mph zone? It might not be the speed limit -- but whatever it is, we should apply it to other roads. Paul0
  • Score: 0

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