Villagers near Bicester who backed speed limit changes have said it has made no difference to speeding drivers.

New 20mph speed limits – which cost £6,250 to install - came into force in Stratton Audley, a village north east of Bicester, in April.

Steve Smith, who lives in the village, supported the speed limit changes initially because he believed they would make the village safer.

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He said: “The whole point behind the 20mph changes is increased safety. And that couldn’t be more relevant to this village, especially Bicester Road where I live.

“We have very few footpaths, horses are often walked along the roads from stable to paddock, and we also have the Bicester Hunt walking their dogs in the morning.”

However, Mr Smith and others in the village have lost faith that the 20mph zones are going to make the village safer.

The 70-year-old added: “The parish council couldn’t have done more with regards to 20mph signage around the four roads leading into the village, but drivers are just ignoring it.

“Myself, my wife, and friends have been out there in high-vis jackets trying to get people to slow down; we’ve been sworn at.

“A good 80-85 per cent of cars coming through this village are going over 20mph.”

A neighbour of Mr Smith, Jacky Gibbs, also questioned the effectiveness of the 20mph changes.

She said: “It hasn’t made one jot of difference in Bicester Road. There is no footpath until the turn into Hall Farm, and still the majority of drivers speed going into and out of the village.

“If you indicate for them to slow, you just receive a rude sign in return. There will be a nasty accident if nothing is done to slow these motorists who think they are above the law.”

Mr Smith believes the new speed limits need stronger enforcement by the police.

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: “We enforce speed limits based on evidence and threat and harm principles and officers will always deal with situations they encounter operationally.

"We also rely on the public to provide information and would encourage anyone with information about speeding or poor driving to please report it so that we can gather information about a particular area and take action where appropriate.

"We would ask people to report online on our website or by calling 101.

"While we share the council's enthusiasm for road safety and making improvements for all road users, it is also important that the introduction of 20mph speed limits is done in conjunction with Department for Transport guidelines.”

While the county council will fund 20mph speed limits, town and parish councils will be expected to fund any traffic calming measures or speed activates signs that may be required to support the new limit in their areas.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “Officers will work with local bodies to establish the best methods for ensuring compliance within their areas.

“Although Oxfordshire County Council is working alongside Thames Valley Police, who are responsible for legal enforcement of the speed limits, there is an emphasis on drivers adhering to the new limits through a change of mindset, rather than enforcement.

“It is hoped that as 20mph areas become more common, breaking the limit would become socially unacceptable for drivers.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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