In Brief

‘Safer’ 20mph zones can make roads ‘more dangerous’

Council says it’s too expensive to scrap them

Lowering speed limits on country roads from 30mph to 20mph has made roads more dangerous, according to a new report.

A study into the slower speed zones found the rate of people killed or seriously injured had increased in “seven of the 13 areas studied”, Auto Express reports.

The research, by Bath and North East Somerset Council, also found that the slower zones brought average speeds down by just 1.3mph.

While the study concludes that there is “no simple explanation for this adverse trend”, it claims that the traffic control measures are a national issue, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The review speculates as to the causes of this rise in deaths and injuries. “It could be that local people perceive the area to be safer due to the presence of the 20mph restrictions and thus are less diligent when walking and crossing roads, cycling or otherwise travelling.” 

The infrastructure cost the council £871,000 when it agreed to introduce 13 new 20mph speed zones on rural roads just a year ago, the Daily Express says. 

But the cost of returning the slow speed zones back to 30mph limits could be just as expensive. 

“We just haven’t got the money,” says the council’s deputy leader Patrick Anketell-Jones. “I’m pretty sure the 20mph zones will stay in place for the foreseeable future.”

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