News from Crookes Ward

Crookes Council ward priorities – all very positive

Theme 2: Transport and Road Safety – Improving road safety and the way that people move around the area

  • Work with Amey to ensure that the Streets Ahead project is effectively delivered and local people are kept informed.
  • Ensure that the Steel bank 20 mph scheme is fully implemented.
  • Progress the delivery of 20 mph zone in shopping and residential areas.

South Yorkshire PCC Elections – questions for candidates

Our friends over at cycleSheffield have sent an email to all of the 4 PCC candidates asking for a statement of priorities for actions to prevent deaths and injuries on South Yorkshire’s roads. The particular emphasis is on protecting vulnerable road users , pedestrians and cyclists.

The email is copied below as it will be interesting in particular to hear their views on enforcement of 20mph speed limits.

To: David Allen, English Democrats,; Alan Billings, Labour; Jack Clarkson, UKIP; Ian Walker, Conservative.


Cycle Sheffield has over 550 members concerned about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians and the pressing need for healthier forms of travel. To help them make their voting decisions we intend to advise our members and other interested parties on your policies for road policing.

We would be grateful for a statement from you on:

  • the priorities for road policing and possible police actions to prevent death and injury on SY roads;
  • the education and enforcement that should or could be in place to ensure that moving traffic offences and anti-social driving do not create unnecessary risks for all other road users.

We note that:

  • 32 people were killed as victims of collisions on SY roads and 23 were killed as victims of violent crime in 2013;
  • nearly 4000 people were injured in road collisions on SY roads in 2013 and disturbingly the proportion of pedestrian casualties that are children is rising;
  • press reports on hit and runs in SY are depressingly regular and frequent;
  • drivers seem unable to voluntarily change their behaviour (cf speeds on Normanton Hill where Jasmine Chan was killed);
  • our members report regular and frequent traffic offences by drivers, eg obstructing cycle lanes and access to cycle paths, queueing in yellow boxes, stopping in ASLs, speeding in 20mph zones etc;
  • Sheffield City Council wants to get more people cycling to improve health and wellbeing, reduce congestion, and improve air quality but the evidence to the recent cycling inquiry in Sheffield showed that most of the hundreds of respondents said that people were unwilling to choose cycling because they think it unsafe because of the behaviour of other road users;
  • SY traffic collision data indicates that killed and injured figures overall are steadily decreasing year on year but national statistics show that people are travelling fewer miles in cars year on year so whether SY roads are becoming safer is a very moot point.
  • We also note that 4% of the total SYP budget spend is on road policing and 42% on local policing.

We believe that

  • many collisions are the result of excessive driving speeds, particularly in 20mph zones;
  • many collisions with vulnerable road users indicate driving that is inappropriate to the conditions at the time;
  • ‘minor’ traffic offences are a severe risk to cyclists, eg obstructing a contraflow cycle lane, or queuing in a yellow box, and deter people who want to choose cycling;
  • anti-social driving, eg tailgating, cutting-up, abuse, driving into ASLs, overtaking too close (the punishment pass), is a significant deterrent for vulnerable road users like cyclists.

Excellent 20mph pilot results from Edingburgh

Edinburgh is consulting on extending 20mph widely following South Edinburgh widespread 20mph experiment.
A report on the experiment, based on 1000 before and after interviews, found that…
  • Support for the 20mph rose from 68% before to 79% after
  • Those considering cycling to be unsafe fell from 26% to 18%
  • Children cycling to school rose from 4% to 12%
  • Children allowed to play on the pavement or street rose from 31% to 66%
  • Walking trips rose 7%, cycling trips rose 5% and car trips fell 3%.


Bogus analysis of DfT casualty figures by Institute of Advanced Motorists

IAM analysis of DfT casualty figures for 2013 show that as the total number of 20mph roads increases, so do the total number of casualties, but their conclusion that this is evidence of increased danger shows a woeful lack of understanding of

If you measured the number of casualties in two adjacent town (say A and B) in 2012 and 2013 then you can compare how their roads are getting safer over that time. However if 2012-13 you changed the boundary between A and B so that now many of the roads were in A rather than B you would expect the casualties in town A to have increased. But if you kept no records of how many roads were in A or B or when they were transferred then it would be difficult to conclude anything from the figures.

Around the country most of our iconic towns and cities are changing the limit on roads from 30mph to 20mph. Hence the total length of 20mph roads is increasing and 30mph decreasing.

It therefore comes as no surprise to find that the total casualties on 20mph roads has increased (by 20%) in 2013 and decreased on 30mph roads (by 7%). In
fact with 20% of the UK now in local authorities currently making most roads 20mph this is entirely expected. DfT record no statistics on the total length of 20mph or 30mph roads and hence any conclusion that this increase reflects any increased danger would not have any foundation.

The IAM have just issued a press release that concludes from these statistics that “20mph roads are not delivering fewer casualties”. A similar conclusion was made by the Sun in August 2012 from the 2011 DfT casualty report.

The BBC “More or Less” program then felt that this was such a blatant misrepresentation that they featured the story in a programme. Their conclusion was that the claims were “phonus ballonus” and without a consideration of how the number and length of 20/30mph roads had changed then no conclusions could be made as to whether setting a
20mph limit made the roads more dangerous. (1)

One valid statistic that can be gleaned from the 2013 casualty figures is the risk of death for casualties in 20mph and 30mph roads. On 20mph roads in 2013 there were 6 deaths out of 3,164 casualties (0.2%) whilst on 30mph roads there were 538 deaths out of 111,186 casualties (0.5%). Hence on a 30mph road any casualty is 2.5 times more likely
to result in a fatality than on a 20mph road.

Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us commented:-

“We are amazed and disappointed that the Institute of Advanced Motorists should make such a woeful mistake in their conclusions from the DfT statistics. In fact, wherever 20mph limits have been piloted, on looking at the casualties in detail, councils have concluded that there was a positive effect on road safety and subsequently widened
the implementation across most areas. Now 20% of the UK population live in towns, cities or villages where the Traffic Authority is convinced that 20 is plenty for most streets. The IAM conclusion is bogus and reflects a poor understanding of either the changing numbers and success of 20mph limits or basic statistics”


12:20min i

20splentyforsheffield – letter to Sheffield Councilors

20splentyforsheffield – letter to Sheffield Councilors –  May 2014

Twenty’s Plenty For Sheffield is calling for funding for Total 20 – a default 20mph limit in residential areas to be prioritised and creatively explored, and for the council to publish a timetable for Total 20 in appropriate areas and streets by 2017.


Sheffield is at a crossroads. Our city is congested, our air seriously polluted. We need to make profound changes to the way we live, work and travel if we are to have a healthy city for our own and our children’s lifetime, and ensure we have a competitive economic advantage by reducing our reliance on fossil fueled transport.

Fear of traffic compromises our children’s educational and social attainment due to reduced independent mobility, and the costs of overcoming childhood obesity and premature elder care due to inactivity are having to be funded by taxpayers. Those who would like to get out and lead a healthier life find their anxieties in our street environment compromising their intentions and efforts.

Tragically, our road safety record is worsening, and more than half of road deaths and serious injuries occur on roads with 30 mph limits.

Britain has the highest percentage of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe (22.5%) yet one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school in Europe. Sheffield parents consistently cite traffic speeds and danger as the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school.

20’s Plenty for Sheffield believes there is a solution. Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has been found to decrease collisions with children and pedestrians by up to 70%, whilst increasing urban journey times by just 40 seconds maximum.

That’s why so much of the UK is adopting 20mph as the default speed limit in residential areas, and in places where the main business of the road – shopping, schools, leisure and work is around people.

In Portsmouth the 20mph limit on all residential roads has reduced casualties by 22%.

In Bristol walking and cycling increased significantly after wide 20 limits were implemented.

In London, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Leicester, Oxford, Hull, Bristol, Warrington, Liverpool, Manchester and many more towns, council officials are using the recent DfT Guidelines, and increasingly using monies from the public health budget, to introduce default 20 mph limits on appropriate streets. In National surveys 80% of the public and 75% of drivers support 20 mph as a speed limit on residential streets, and in places like Coventry wide 20mph areas have dramatically improved the experience for all road users.

Sheffield City Council adopted the principle of City wide 20mph in 2011.Cllrs need to provide vision and objectives and then look at how to fund. 20mph limits need to be seen as part of a phased and holistic plan that resets the social norm rather than prioritising on injury statistics or funding available. By taking the current area by area approach, the Council is going down a path that means it will take many years to cover the whole city and increase the costs of implementation by millions of pounds.
We would like to see the Council publish a timetable for a completed default 20 limit by 2017.

This doesn’t mean that all roads should be 20mph – on some of our urban streets a higher limit may be appropriate, but let’s do it on the basis of who is using the road, not whether it’s an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or “Distributor” road. Some of these roads are the very roads that children could walk or cycle to school on, or older people walk to the local shops.
It is time for our roads to be equitably shared with all users, implementing an appropriate speed limit that protects the young and the vulnerable, and makes our lovely city an even more attractive ‘Place’ to live and grow up in.

Streets where people live, work, shop and play should be 20mph. We call on Sheffield City Council to actively seek ways to speed up the 20mph program and publish a timetable to make all those streets safer for us by 2017.


Public Health Professionals Call for 20mph limits

Public Health leaders are increasingly identifying wide-area 20mph limits as key for liveability & health equality. Speed reduction tackles risk, inactivity, obesity, isolation & is child, disability, elderly & dementia friendly.

The Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health & National Children’s Bureau advocate Total 20 in built up areas[1].  Their Why Children Dieresearch, led by Dr Ingrid Wolfe found around 2,000 additional children per year– 5 a day – die in the UK compared to Sweden.Over three quarters of injury deaths in 10-18 year olds are due to traffic incidents.  Reducing the national speed limit in built up areas to 20mph is a key recommendation for child protection to cut the source of daily road risk.  More than 80% of child road casualties occur on 30mph limited streets.

As well as these direct safety gains, 20 mph limits promote health & wellbeing in many other ways:

  • By encouraging a shift to walking & which reduces obesity & heart disease
  • Lower emissions promote healthier lungs
  • Increased mobility for children & the disabled, elderly or dementia sufferers delivers gains in health & self esteem
  • Better inclusion & access to society for non-car owners & greater equality for the poor
  • Up to 50% reduction in noise from road traffic
  • Less congestion from ‘school run’ & other trips as people choose to move from car-based journey to more active ones by walking & cycling.
  • Increased social cohesion & less loneliness as people talk to each other far more on less traffic dominated streets.

Birmingham’s Director of Public Health Dr Adrian Phillips said “We talk a lot about obesity & the need for people to be more physically active but we have to take action to make that easier. It’s vital that people feel safe on the roads.  Creating safer, more attractive walking & cycling routes through reducing the speed limit to 20 mph will significantly increase numbers of walkers & cyclists & contribute towards a mode shift away from cars to active travel.  Removing barriers to walking & cycling will reduce health inequalities & provide a foundation for the citywide promotion of active travel through smarter choices initiatives.[2]

20mph limits is the top evidenced based policy to raise regular exercise levels according to a Public Health England & LGA report. In “Obesity & the environment: increasing physical activity & active travel[3]” Dr Nick Cavill & Professor Harry Rutter recommend 20mph as the best way to improve exercise by raising walking & cycling levels.

Prof Danny Dorling, from Oxford University is author of a 20mph chapter in the British Academy’s health inequality collection[4] He said  “I was asked to provide the evidence base for a single workable policy to reduce inequalities in public health. Reducing car speeds does this in a way that is far more directly obvious than any other single health policy. The effects range from reduction in casualties, right through to the encouragement of more healthy walking & cycling when people are less afraid of fast cars in their neighbourhoods. The cost is minimal & the benefits are enormous.”

All Take Action on Active Travel[5] report partners including the Association of Directors of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health & UK Public Health Association want 10% of transport budgets allocated to active travel & 20mph speed limits in towns & villages.  “Make 20mph or lower speed limits the norm for residential streets & those used by shoppers, tourists & others, close to schools or public buildings, or important for walking & cycling or children’s play. In urban areas only the busiest strategic traffic routes should now qualify for higher speed limits.”

And in Liverpool City Council, Manchester City Council, Calderdale Council & Lancashire Council the community benefits are seen as so important that Public Health teams have supported implementations of wide-area 20mph limits with direct funding. Healthy roads have slower speeds. Write to your Local Health Cabinet Councillor & Public Health lead today to work towards 20mph with transport colleagues.

[1] 1 May 2014

[2] 30 April 2014

[3] PHE 2013

[4] “If you could do one thing..”guide for Local Authorities 16 Jan 2014

[5] Sustrans 2008

Why Children Die – report lists 20mph urban speed limit as a key recommendation

The National Children’s Bureau and the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health have released a new report into the UK’s “tragic” child mortality rates,  “Why Children Die”

One of its key recommendations is to reduce the national speed limit to 20mph in built up areas.





20mph Myth Buster

20mph Myth Buster

Wide area 20mph limit critics cling to various myths. Learn to bust them!

20mph vs 30mph journey time

20mph (esp side roads) doesn’t significantly alter trip times or inconvenience drivers.
Jams & stops do. Constant 30mph is rare due to bends, junctions etc. Going fast between
obstructions = extra wait at next stop.

20mph is OK near schools in term time at drop off & pick up times only

80% of child casualties happen on non-school trips. Families need wide area limits for child protection from road injury – their top risk. Older people are even more likely to die or be seriously injured – 20mph is 10 times safer (than 30mph) for 60+yr olds compared to 7x for others

Variable limits only eg school times or not 20mph at night

Variable limit digital signs are expensive so & can’t go on a wide network – therefore limits end up inconsistent, confusing & don’t reduce fear of speed or increase active travel significantly.

Casualties fall, but what about Killed & Serious Injuries (KSI)?

Detractors cherry pick data, pointing to raised KSIs in some places – by tiny, insignificant amounts. KSIs are rare events. Small datasets are unreliable. In most 20mph places KSI fall along with total casualties.

Numbers of injuries on 20mph roads

The number & length of 20mph roads is rising (& 30mph roads falling). Absolute numbers  f injuries on 20mph roads could rise, whilst casualties per km fall. Denominator matters!

Income generation from fines

Fines are rare. Compliance is by engagement, pacer vehicles, speed watch volunteers, warning letters, speed awareness courses, occasional enforcement days with a few Fixed Penalty Notices and very rare points or prosecutions

Drivers could lose their licences

Police are not using 20mph limits to add points to licences or remove driving rights

Speedometer watching could be distracting

Drivers must check their speed whatever the limit. Speedometer checking should happen at 20 & 30 & 40mph, especially in urban areas. Highway Code

On 20mph roads people might take more risks

20mph is 7-10 times safer than 30mph. It is unlikely that people become 7-10 times more careless where 20mph limits are signed. Massive risk compensation is an unproven fallacy

Drivers don’t obey 30mph and won’t obey 20mph

Average & faster road speeds decrease eg in Portsmouth by 6-7 mph slower on previously 25mph+ roads. Even 1mph matters. Every 1mph less reduces casualties & severities by 6%

Educate pedestrians

Yes educate. Yet studies show road safety education alone hasn’t reduced casualties.

Slower speeds works & is recommended by WHO. Don’t blame the victims!

20mph & efficiency

Modern vehicles are efficient at 20mph. A lower gear isn’t always needed. Fuel use and pollution fall due to smoother driving.

Popularity effects

Drivers want 20mph & support rises post implementation. It’s a vote winner!

Nanny state

Drivers cannot self select the limit. All UK roads have a limit (Highway Code)

UK has safe roads

Not if you are a pedestrian or cyclist, where the UK is very high risk on international comparisons. Pedestrians are 24% of fatalities

Business effects

Businesses currently pick up the bill for casualties & danger on our streets. Profits &
tourism rise with slower speeds as footfall rise