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Page last updated at 07:54 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 08:54 UK
Council proposes speed limit cut

Speed limit sign
The new zones could feature in east and south Bristol

New 20mph zones could be introduced in residential areas in south and east Bristol in a bid to cut accidents.

Councillors are proposing zones in Ashley, Easton, Eastville, Lawrence Hill and St George West in east Bristol.

In the south of the city they could lower the limit in Bedminster, Lawrence Hill, Southville and Windmill Hill.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Rogers, the transport portfolio holder at Bristol City Council, said the move would cost the council more than £300,000.

The areas involved will be part of a pilot project to see if the 20mph zones slow down motorists and cut accidents.

"We are proposing all the roads in the residential roads in those areas should become 20mph zones," said Cllr Rogers.

"Most of them people do tend to drive fairly slowly along there, but there are exceptions.

"Just by slowing cars down - and the evidence from elsewhere such as Portsmouth, for example, which introduced these last year - cars do go slower."

He added the Portsmouth zones slowed drivers down by "three or four miles an hour".

It's an incredibly cumbersome process to do anything with traffic in this city and usually it seems to take forever.
Councillor Jon Rogers

Cllr Rogers said that if motorists are involved in collisions with pedestrians then lower speeds mean a better chance of survival.

"It makes a huge difference if someone's hit at that speed.

"At 20mph a child will survive, at 30mph then it's beginning to get dodgy, and it's at 40mph then almost all the children are killed."

So far, the transport boss said members of the public he had heard from were in favour of the move.

"We're getting a very positive response all the way around - in fact, people are very impatient.

"There is a great deal of interest - I think people see it as a safe [measure] and it makes our streets more attractive and more enjoyable."

But Cllr Rogers warned that any further changes to the transport infrastructure in Bristol would take more time.

"It's an incredibly cumbersome process to do anything with traffic in this city and usually it seems to take forever."

The council is consulting with residents at the moment with an aim of introducing the zones in the spring of 2010.

A selection of your views...

It's a good idea, but unenforceable. Therefore it's a waste of £300,000. Unfortunately, it's more tinkering at the edges of a far larger issue - that of improving Bristol's public transport to a point that means people will readily leave their cars at home and use alternatives.
Steve, Bristol

I am a car driver and I fully support 20mph zones. But there has to be support from all users of the road and pavements. Cyclists using the highway code, people to start using pedestrian crossings at all times on the main road, people on mobility scoters respecting other road users (yes, I do use one myself). Why is it people are in a hurry all the time? There is no need for speed in the city just allow more time for travel.
Max, Bristol

How is 20mph going to be enforceable, if 30mph isn't? I think we should spend more effort getting drivers down to 30 first. Most drivers travel at 45mph+ along my road and use it as a throughroute at rush hour between Bath and Bristol. The road is a 30mph. Drivers are able to do this because the road is quite straight and flat and years ago wasn't originally populated by houses, but fields and so wasn't designed for fast traffic. It is an accident waiting to happen as there are usually people crossing on blindspots, people on horses, bikes and parked blocking two-way traffic.
Leigh, Frampton Cotterell

It's all very well having 20mph speed limits - but does the constabulary have the manpower to police that law? Does the council have the extra funds to pay for it? Or does the public want to pay for it? Will the police make sure that cyclists adhere to that law too? We can't even get Bristol's awful cyclists (let alone motorists) to obey the highway code as it is. Do we have an adequate justice system to deal with it? I doubt it can done.
Bryan, Bristol

I think 20 mph limits would be sensible in all built up areas of the city, and see no point in them being selective. (It works in Holland and Germany) It would need to be written into the Highway Code, we would not then have the problem of policing it, as it would be replacing the 30 mph limit. I think we should also make cycle helmets, knowledge of the Highway Code and some form of insurance compulsory for cyclists, especially as there are so many more on the road these days and they are very vulnerable.
Ellie, Bristol

The major city routes like Gloucester Road and A37 should also be 20mph zones as they are so heavily congested. The behaviour of road users as a whole is a cultural issue. We all have a duty of care to other road users. Blaming one group like cyclists is just a denial of responsibility. Education and advertising, rather than rigorous enforcement could be affordable.
John, Bristol

Speed limits are not the answer. In urban areas drivers are constantly required to vary their speed by the prevailing circumstances. A safe speed in any one location can vary between 5mph and 50mph, depending on time of day. The issue can be understood from the accident statistics. In 1995, there were 18,138 child pedestrian injuries in built up areas. According to the DETR, in 20mph impacts 5% of child pedestrians are killed, which would equate to 907 deaths if all the impacts happened at 20mph. Since the actual number of urban child pedestrian fatalities in that year was 106, it is clear that forcing people to drive at an inattentive 20mph rather than allowing them to gauge speeds for themselves by paying attention to the road conditions has the potential to bring about another 801 child fatalities.
Mark, Bristol

I am fed up of constantly looking at my speed dial to make sure that I am within limits. I have almost crashed on many occasions as I spend more time looking down at my dial instead of looking at the road ahead of me. With cameras and signs everywhere there are so many distractions that take our attention away from the road. Yes, there are idiots out there who feel the need for speed but the vast majority of road users use common sense whilst on the roads and don't need the added distraction of constantly checking their speed.
Jacque, Bristol

Having seen the positive benefits of the extensive use of 20mph zones in cities such as Norwich I would welcome such a move in Bristol. The zones shouldn't be restricted to the specific areas mentioned but should apply to all residential areas.
Richard, Bristol

I'm up for it! If they guarantee we can drive through those areas at 20mph then that's quicker than you can go at the moment. People saying speeds need to reduce are mad, you cant physically drive quickly through Bristol's congested roads. If though we are unable to keep at a steady 20mph can we complain to the council and make them impose speed increase measures? Think not.
Garry, Bristol

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