20's Pointless?

Five questions to ask 20’s Pointless:

For a more detailed explanation of the rebuttal to 20’s Pointless’ claims, please see here

Their Claim #1: 20 mph limits will lead to a “reduction in Bus Services”

Tell them: Hardly any of the roads used by Worthing bus routes are affected by the scheme.

You can check for yourself – compare the map showing 20 mph proposed roads with a map of the main bus routes in Worthing. On the routes which do use roads where 20 mph limits would be introduced, the total affected road length is typically about one mile of quieter residential roads. For this to result in the claimed four minute delay on a round trip, the buses would currently have to be doing at least 40 mph on these roads! Note that Chris Chatfield, MD of Compass Buses is an active member of the 20’s Pointless campaign and UKIP (who campaign against 20 mph limits).

…and ask what evidence they have that bus services would be affected?

Their Claim #2: “UK roads are amongst the safest in Europe. The Worthing roads in question are a reflection of this.”

Tell them: UK road safety is amongst the worst in Europe for children, pedestrians and cyclists and Worthing also has a very poor record for ‘vulnerable road users’.

While UK car drivers and passengers currently enjoy some of the lowest risks of death or injury in Europe, it is a different story for children, pedestrians and cyclists. Worthing has the highest numbers of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries in West Sussex. 20’s Pointless only look at people killed or seriously injured (KSIs). They ignore the other 88% of people injured on Worthing’s roads. They ignore the unrecorded ‘damage only’ collisions. They ignore the daily near misses and all the other impacts of driver’s speed – adults and children too afraid to cycle, the elderly too afraid to cross the road, increased traffic noise etc. They also fail to recognise that slowing down to 20 mph almost halves your stopping distance compared to 30 mph, meaning that far more collisions could be avoided. All recognised road safety professionals accept that reducing vehicle speeds reduces the number of collisions.

…and ask them why BRAKE, RoadPeace, Sustrans, British Cycling, the CTC, the National Children’s Bureau, the Child Growth Foundation, and Living streets amongst many others all support 20 mph? (see here for more).

Their Claim #3: “A reduction in speed from 30mph to 20mph increases CO2 emission.”

Tell them: The Department for Transport states “driving more slowly (at a steady pace) will always save fuel and carbon dioxide emissions unless a quite unnecessarily low gear is being used.”

It is very common for opponents to 20 mph limits to claim they will increase CO2 emissions. However these claims are often based on misinterpretation of data. The graph 20’s Pointless quote from the Highways Agency cannot be used to assess the impact of a change in speed limit. It was never intended for this purpose and it is wrong to try to use it this way. The reality is that if 20 mph limits result in slower, smoother traffic flows with less acceleration and braking, then they will help reduce fuel consumption. 20 mph limits are also intended to encourage more people to walk and cycle rather than using the car for short journeys – a 100% reduction in fuel consumption!

…and ask why they don’t mention that the AA says “Along shorter roads with junctions and roundabouts, limiting acceleration to up to 20 mph reduces fuel consumption.” ?

Their Claim #4: “Slower speeds will increase journey times and therefore increase congestion and driver frustration.”

Tell them: 20 mph limits will make little difference to journey times across Worthing – probably less than 60 seconds increase.

Most people will live within 500 metres of a 30 mph limit and main through routes are not included in the 20 mph scheme. Journeys across town will probably involve less than a mile of roads with a 20 mph limit – a maximum of 60 seconds increase. Urban journey times are mainly determined by congestion and waiting times at junctions. If 20 mph limits mean more people feel confident to walk or cycle rather than driving, congestion is reduced. Waiting times at junctions may also reduce as it is easier to pull out when traffic is moving more slowly.

….and ask them isn’t a few seconds worth it to make roads safer for our children and us all?

Their Claim #5: 20 mph limits are a “waste of money”.

Tell them: 20 mph limits are one of the most cost-effective policies available to local authorities.

The Department for Transport estimates the costs of Worthing’s road casualties at £15 million every year. If 20 mph limits reduced this cost by just 3%, they would have paid for themselves in less than a year! And these costs do not include the costs of damage only collisions. The health costs of people in Worthing not getting enough exercise are even bigger – over £23 million every year. If 20 mph limits encourage more people to walk and cycle and reduce this cost by just 1%, they would have paid for themselves again in the first year of their introduction. The estimated cost of £350,000 is money the council already has and can only be used for transport schemes, it will not come from council tax.

…and ask them for a better value for money improvement to our residential streets.

Finally, we often hear that “20mph is not enforced”.

A spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers has made their position clear stating: “The police will enforce all offences no matter what or where they are, this includes 20mph”

20’s Pointless like to highlight that Sussex Police have stated they do ‘not support blanket 20 mph speed limits’. What they do not mention is that Sussex Police have been involved in the process of drawing up the plans for 20 mph in Worthing, and that those plans have been designed by West Sussex County Council’s Highways department in accordance with their guidance. The proposed scheme is not a “blanket 20 mph” scheme. It is targeted on quieter residential streets and excludes 119 roads.

The Police have a duty to enforce all statutory speed limits and in other towns and cities where 20 mph limits have been introduced and some motorists have ignored them, the Police have taken action. The penalties for speeding when the limit is 20 mph can be much more severe. 40 mph in a 30 mph limit would generally result in a speed awareness course being offered as an alternative to a fine. 40 mph in a 20 mph would result in the driver appearing in court and risking having their licence removed.