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.

Sir,

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.

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.

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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.

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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] http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/WhyChildrenDieFINAL.pdf 1 May 2014

[2]http://birminghamnewsroom.com/2014/04/health-boss-welcomes-20mph-limit/ 30 April 2014

[3] PHE https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/obesity-and-the-environment-briefing-increasing-physical-activity-and-active-travelNov 2013

[4]http://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/Health_Inequalities.cfm “If you could do one thing..”guide for Local Authorities 16 Jan 2014

[5]http://www.fph.org.uk/uploads/Take_action_on_active_travel.pdf 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”

http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/WhyChildrenDieFINAL.pdf

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

 

 

 

 

Sheffield on the Move/Motorists Forum talk

Sheffield on the Move/Motorists Forum talk 03/10.04.2014.

Hello, my name is Richard Attwood, I’m a member of the ‘20splentyforsheffield’ campaign group, which is affiliated to the ‘20’splentyforus’ organization, the National campaign group promoting the value of lower speeds where people Live, Work, Shop and Play.

 So what’s it all about? In some ways Sheffield is at a crossroads.

In my experience driving in Sheffield has become increasingly stressful, competing for space on congested roads, umpteen signs saying do this/don’t do that, cyclists and pedestrians all over the place, cameras, humps and chicanes to negotiate, trying to get a parking space and so on.

Sheffield council (SCC) wants to improve this and has a “Vision is for excellent transport in Sheffield” – the stated aim is to empower people to make informed choices about the way they travel, with a Transport policy that contributes to the social, economic and environmental improvements we want for this city, thus creating:

•       Increased opportunities for everybody

•       A competitive low-carbon economy

•       A better environment

•       A healthier population

•       A culture where the car is not always the first choice

Laudable aims, however right now our city is congested and air pollution is worsening. Public health is worsening, public health budgets are being cut whilst levels of obesity and heart disease are rising. Climate change is here, and we must make profound changes to the way we live, work and travel if we are to pass healthy cities to our own children.

 It’s about a Modal shift for personal and societal health:

The Government’s chief medical adviser, Councils (eg SCC’s  ‘Fairness Commission’ report) and umpteen various bodies have produced evidence papers and guidelines saying we need a Modal Shift in our Travel Choices.

Around two thirds of UK journeys under five miles are made by car, compromising our health, our environment and our communities.

 ‘Active Travel’ on the other hand, be it using our feet or our cycles and/or public transport, means we build health giving and social exercise into our everyday lives, rather than maybe driving to an expensive Gym.

People who are active have significantly lower risk of physical problems such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes and also mental illnesses such as Anxiety and Depression are reduced. (This author’s own high Blood Pressure/Cholesterol levels were reduced by adopting cycle commuting, avoiding the need for medication.)

So why don’t more of us do this, and encourage our children too?

 It’s about Choice: People tell you the reason they don’t choose healthier travel modes is Fear, people get anxious for themselves and for their children around speeding vehicles.

Fear of traffic keeps children and old people shut up at home while those who would like to get out and lead a healthier life find that their anxieties in our street environment stop them from doing so. Tragically, our road safety record is now worsening, and more than half of road deaths and serious injuries, mainly children, occur on roads with 30 mph limits.

Britain has the highest percentage of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe (22.5%) and one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school. Sheffield parents consistently cite traffic speed as the main reason why they drive children to school, rather than letting them walk or cycle.

 20’s Plenty for Sheffield believes there is a solution: Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has been found to decrease child pedestrian accidents by up to 70%, whilst increasing urban journeys by just 40 seconds maximum. In Portsmouth the 20mph limit on all residential roads has reduced casualties by 22%. In Bristol walking and cycling increased significantly. That’s why so much of the UK is adopting 20mph as the default speed limit in residential areas, and places where the main business of the road; shopping, schools, leisure and work, is around people and their movements, rather than vehicles.

It’s about ‘Place’: In cities like London, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Hull, Leicester, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Warrington, council officials are using the recent DfT Guidelines, and now monies from the public health budget, to introduce blanket 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. In Friday rush hour traffic in Coventry this author witnessed:

  • More and safer people using a more inviting/relaxed city centre.
  • Vehicles queues reduced or eliminated as flow improves.
  • Improved parking provision for motorists.
  • Taxis and buses moving easily (contrary to their initial fears)
  • People in vehicles/on foot/cycles interacting calmly for shared space.
  • Not one angry car horn blast!!

As a result Coventry is finding satisfaction and retail confidence is up.

Better public realm and streets where traffic is perceived as less threatening are seen as more attractive to investors, having greater ‘footfall’ as people get out and about, spending their money locally, facilitating a more resilient local economy.

 It’s about road use: It doesn’t mean that all roads should be 20mph.

We need to decide speeds on the basis of how the road is used, not whether it’s a ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or a “distributor” road. Some of these roads are the very roads that children could walk or cycle to school on, or older people use to walk to the local shops in comfort and safety.

It is time for appropriate roads to be equitably shared with all users, setting an appropriate speed limit that protects the young and the vulnerable. Streets where people concentrate to Live, Work, Shop and Play should be 20mph – it’s as simple as that.

It’s about Culture shift: implementing a 20 mph limit requires an active public education campaign, consultation, signage, and/or road markings, changing traffic regulation orders through advertising in local media plus local authority officer time, and the move to considerate and calm driving will take time to become established as a social norm, just as initiatives such as seat belts and the indoor smoking ban took years of education and culture shift before they became custom and practice. But like lower speeds the benefits are clear.

‘Light touch’ (ie normal) policing can enforce 20 limits in the usual manner. ACPO now says that where drivers are regularly and wilfully breaking the law ‘we would expect that officers will enforce the limit and prosecute offenders speeding over 24mph.’

It’s about Taking the 20 Challenge! Try sticking to 20mph as you drive the new 20mph roads, and in doing so you may notice two things:

Personally I became aware that I really could stop quickly if I needed to, avoiding the stress and potential tragedy of a collision, rather than my usual ‘hoping I don’t have to try’ approach when I travel at 30mph.

I also noticed that I invariably end up at the next junction or queue in pretty much the same manner as before, with the same vehicle in front of me, regardless of its speed down the same stretch of road in the interim.

As a 20 driver I am less stressed, use less fuel, feel safer, and I know that I am having much less impact on my neighbourhood, increasing the chances that others will feel safe enough to begin making healthier travel choices for themselves and their children. I’ve noticed too that all these benefits come at little or no cost to my journey time.

It’s about talking to your Councillors:

Councillors set speeds and are required to do what’s best for us.

Ask your councillors to push for lower speeds and safer, more people friendly streets where you and your family live, work, shop and play, aand do so sooner rather than later. Sheffield City Council has had 20mph ‘zones’ for years, and adopted the principle of city wide 20mph in 2011, but progress implementing it is too slow. By taking an area by area approach over 10+ years, our Council is going down a path that denies the many benefits of lower speeds to many Sheffielders, confuses drivers, and increases the costs of implementation by at least double SCC’s 2012 cost estimate of £3m for whole city implementation.

It’s about us all pushing for 20mph across Sheffield by 2020! 

Team Hillsborough Letter to Clr Leigh Bramhall – March 2014

Letter from Team Hillsborough to Leigh Bramhall & Jack Scott received by 20s plenty for Sheffield.

Consideration of wider 20 mph zones to cover the Hillsborough area

I write following a meeting of Team Hillsborough to ask you to consider the potential positive impact wider a 20 mph scheme across the whole of Hillsborough could have on the safety, usability of local facilities, health, transport use and other improvements in the area.

We were advised of the wider “20 is plenty” campaign, and we recognise that at the present time it is very difficult to even consider asking the Council to put more onto its agenda.

However, we think there could be positive benefits in a medium-term consideration of the potential impact and benefits, and would like to make the following points:

1. The planned road-works renewals in a couple of years time in the Hillsborough area, by Amey, would provide a good opportunity for a general improvement of the current confused and multiple speed limits across the area;

2. The costs of a single broader scheme would appear to be less that the cost of the considerable number of micro-schemes, on the evidence of some other cities, hopefully resulting in a reduction in cost to the Council;

3. We believe that the impact of such a scheme on the usability of the Hillsborough shopping area, its affect on the residential areas, and other benefits would assist a positive improvement in the regeneration of Hillsborough, and could be part of any Business Improvement District proposal that emerges in the coming months;

4. We recognise there might be a concern that it might be felt to need more police enforcement, but it is suggested in the group also that most people take account of the limits, and that community consent would be a positive step in the right direction, even without increased policing.

We would like to assure you that we understand that Team Hillsborough has no formal representative role, and we recognise that there are many interests involved in such a move. We understand that such a proposal would need consultation, a policy change on the part of the Council, and the integration of such a plan across other local initiatives.

But we would like to ask you to consider how the proposal might assist the overall improvement of an area that feels a bit “left out” in the regeneration stakes.

Thank you

Team Hillsborough