Speed limit on ‘dangerous’ roads under review

The 20mph borough-wide speed limit in Tower Hamlets is under review Pic: Albert Bridge

The 20mph borough-wide speed limit in Tower Hamlets is under review Pic: Albert Bridge

Tower Hamlets residents are being urged to have their say on the trial of a borough-wide 20mph speed limit by filling in an online survey.

The 18-month trial, now under review, began on April 13 last year and is aimed at improving road safety and reducing collisions involving traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.

The borough has experienced some of the highest road casualty rates in the capital, with 1,221 accidents in 2014, including eight deaths and 80 serious injuries – two of them to children. Mile End Road was also named as one of Britain’s most dangerous roads for cyclists in 2014.

The council said: “We want to gather as many views as possible to ensure that service provision best meets the needs of our residents…the feedback we receive will be considered by Cabinet in September 2016.”

The 20mph limit was implemented on all roads throughout the borough, except the A12 and Limehouse Link/Aspen Way; part of the traffic heavy Red Route Network managed by Transport for London (TfL).

The proposed changes and trial are part of a wider trend of lower speed limits in urban areas, with many calling for a limit of 20mph across London. Nine out of 12 inner city boroughs now have 20mph limits, compared to two in 2013.

The initial public consultation showed overwhelming support, with comments calling for increased police enforcement and additional traffic calming, alongside improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

An equality report by Tower Hamlets council, which uses data from TfL’s Road Safety Action Plan for London, states black and minority ethnic (BME) people are disproportionately affected by road traffic accidents. This could be significant in a borough with a high BME population such as Tower Hamlets.

Disabled people are also disproportionately affected, according to the same report, and the reduced speed limit could help to smooth traffic and improve the journeys of those using mobility transport services.

The Metropolitan Police expressed support but also aired concerns regarding higher speed roads without additional traffic calming.

A spokesperson for the Met Police told EastLondonLines: “Department for Transport guidance on the implementation of 20mph zones is that they should be designed to be ‘self-enforcing’ and that general compliance needs to be achievable without an excessive reliance on enforcement.”

Road safety charity Brake’s GO 20 campaign advocates driving at speeds of 20mph or lower in communities.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said: “We at Brake believe everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their communities without being put in danger.

“By lowering speed limits to 20mph from 30mph, we can protect the most vulnerable in society such as people with disabilities, children and anyone on bicycle or on foot.”

Leave a Reply