Is the 20mph zone working?

Saturday, 1st April 2017

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Is the 20mph zone working?

It was introduced to make our roads safer and to perhaps encourage a greater use of cycling.  Birmingham took its example from Brighton and other cities are following suit.

Manchester, for example, has already got a 20mph zone in one section of minor roads and was about to roll it out across the city.  But it has halted most of its expansion and is thinking of returning to 30 mph.


Manchester Council surveyed and compared traffic speeds and accident rates between the 20mph zones and those outside of this restricted area and found that the drop in speed was negligible  (0.7mph average drop, but one area increased by 4mph!).

They also found that accident rates were decreasing at a faster rate outside the new 20mph zones than inside (33% average drop in accidents across Manchester compared to only 14% in the new 20mph zones). This surprised everyone. So it seemed that the 20mph zones are becoming more dangerous.

What’s our experience in Moseley? There is a lot of hearsay and speculation as to whether car speeds are slower and roads safer. But Birmingham city’s reaction to Manchester’s findings is to force speeds to be reduced further by putting cameras on every minor road and ‘rat run’ and make them 10mph zones. We should see the first smaller digital cameras going up on 1 April.  Birmingham cycle club are ecstatic.

Moseley Forum has previously supported the proposal for a ‘voluntary’ 10mph area, using shared space principles and to change the actual driving environment so that drivers find themselves having to slow down.  As the President of the AA, Edmund King has said “it has long been recognised by the Government that speed limits should reflect the nature of the road and be evidence led”.

So why is Birmingham City Council planning to introduce 10mph limits to our roads? Will it learn from Manchester? Is the council willing to invest in changing the fabric of Moseley village – making it people-friendly, safer and with less pollution?

Councillor Wag had said that he is determined to bring it down to 10mph and that this “is no joke” and will definitely start on the first of this month.

Photo: Manchester Evening NewsCoffee Cup