DRIVERS are still ignoring Oxford’s controversial 20mph speed limits 12 months after they were introduced, an Oxford Mail speed check has shown.

The survey, conducted in Morrell Avenue in East Oxford yesterday, discovered 128 out of 157 vehicles – 81 per cent – were exceeding the limit as the scheme celebrates its first anniversary today.

Those breaking the limit included three black cabs, two private hire taxis and an Oxford City Council City Works pick-up truck.

Almost all Oxford’s residential roads and some of the city’s arterial routes became 20mph zones exactly a year ago after Oxfordshire County Council spent £300,000 to improve road safety.

During our hour-long survey 80 motorists – 51 per cent – were exceeding 25mph, meaning they could be hit with a fine and given three penalty points on their licence.

However Thames Valley Police has still not fined any motorists for exceeding the 20mph limit or carried out any speed checks on roads with the reduced limit in 12 months.

Our survey also showed 17 motorists – 11 per cent – breaking the former 30mph limit.

Mark McArthur Christie, chairman of the Oxford group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The fundamental function of speed limits has been to reflect the behaviour of the law-abiding majority and they’re set at the 85th percentile speed that most people drive on the road.

“That’s been turned completely on its head here and it simply doesn’t work.”

The fastest vehicle recorded yesterday was a black Toyota overtaking a cyclist at 42mph.

Three cyclists were detected exceeding 20mph, but they cannot be punished as bikes do not have speedometers.

Rais Naqui, who has lived on Morrell Avenue for 44 years, said: “Hardly anyone obeys the 20mph limit.”

Other road users said the new speed limits were being flouted elsewhere Colin Prickett, a driving instructor for the AA in Headington, said: “This has to be the most widely ignored speed limit I have ever seen.

“The bullying of my learners has increased, the tailgating has increased, and we’re being overtaken in a more hazardous manner than I’ve ever seen before.”

Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper said overall about 60 per cent of drivers were obeying the limit on the estate.

He said: “It’s disappointing more people aren’t obeying it. It’s mainly the younger element who aren’t.”

County council figures have shown a 6.7 per cent drop in accidents in the first nine months of the scheme compared to the three-year average for the same period.

However, the council was not able to provide figures which showed how many of those accidents resulted in fatalities, serious injuries or slight injuries.

Councillor Rodney Rose, cabinet member for transport, said: “It is pleasing to note a fall in the number of accidents on roads where 20mph was introduced. It is far too early to undertake quality analysis and draw conclusions about the success or otherwise of the 20mph roads.”

Tony Green, 001 Taxis owner and chairman of Oxford and District Licensed Private Hire and Associates, said he would email all city private hire operators asking drivers to obey the limit.

County council spokesman Paul Smith said there was a difference between the authority lowering speed limits and, 12 months later, withdrawing funding for speed cameras.

He said: “Setting of speed limits and the effectiveness of speed cameras are different. The imperative behind the speed camera decision was also financial.”