Safety group unconvinced about 20mph Edinburgh safety scheme

20mph speed limitRoad safety charity IAM RoadSmart says Edinburgh’s 20mph city-wide speed limit set to come into force on Sunday 31 July is a cheap, blanket approach that doesn’t address specific safety issues.

The Scottish capital will be the first to impose a 20mph speed limit on more than 80% of city streets, an initiative intended to make roads ‘safer and calmer’.

But the IAM says it’s potentially confusing because drivers take their cues from the environment and, on some roads, it “looks and feels safer to go over 20”.

The new Edinburgh speed limit will be policed in the same way as other speed limits: transgressors will be hit with a £100 fine and three penalty points.

Councillor Lesley Hinds leads Edinburgh’s transport division and admitted to the Edinburgh News that it “would take a bit of time for it to become second nature.

“It’s a change of attitude. People used to drink and drive and that attitude changed.”

The IAM believes there’s some way to go: “Covering whole areas in one 20mph limit and putting up some signs is a cheap way to do it,” said policy and research director Neil Greig.

“If you look at the evidence, what seems to work is measures like speed bumps and narrower roads.

“We’d rather see investment made in dealing with the streets where there will be most benefit.”

Managing Director at @editorial_mr. Runs a bit. Loves the motor industry.

Pin It
  • IAM aren’t very Road Smart when it comes to 20mph limits. They keep referring to them as “blanket” when they actually exclude most main roads. They also talk up the benefit of speed bumps knowing that they are unpopular and cost 50 times as much as changing the speed limit. That way they can only be afforded for a small number of roads. In fact signed 20mph limits which rely on behaviour change are 6 times more cost effective in reducing speed than expensive bumps.

    Drivers should be setting their speed not by the “width of the tarmac” but by how the road is used and in residential and city streets its the “presence of people” that should take precedence over the “need for speed”.

    Well done Edinburgh City for joining the many cities in UK and Europe where 20 is plenty.

  • Thanks for your feedback, Rod. Sounds sensible to us: certainly, speed bumps drive us nuts!

    Driving at a speeds that reflects the presence of people is also good advice. Many’s the time in crowded urban areas I feel even 20mph is too fast.