20 is not Plenty

As a man who has been driving a blue automobile for a number of years now, I have finally fallen into the throng of men who are entitled to complain about:

  1. Women Drivers
  2. Student Drivers
  3. Lorries Overtaking
  4. Campervans
  5. Slow Drivers
  6. Overly Fast Drivers
  7. People Who Don’t Use Their Indicators
  8. Tailgating
  9. Slow People At Petrol Stations
  10. ‘P’ or Recently Pass Drivers
  11. Undertakers
  12. Drives on Their Phones
  13. Loud Music Drivers – If It’s Awful

…And a deep hatred of 20 is Plenty Signs.

Let me explain. I have absolutely no problem with obeying speed limit signs that the Road Speed Limit Enforcement issues. However, what drives me up the wall is when the general public have some bizarre revelation and take it upon themselves to place 20 is Plenty signs on roads that have already been clearly marked as a 30mph zone.

jFhRes on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

For those not in the know: the 20 is Plenty campaign is to make 20mph the default speed limit for residential streets across the UK. By gazing at the 20 is Plenty Focus site, we see not only a layout that appears to have been fashioned in 1998, but a shotgun blast of statics that shed-light on the hazards of 30mph zones:

“More than half of road deaths and serious injuries occur on roads with 30 mph limits”. (Transport Statistics for Great Britain)

“More than half…” is an intentionally vague statement as “More than half…” could mean anything from 51% to 90%. Also, after spending a large amount of time looking at the Transport Statistics for Great Britain, I stumbled upon this nifty table on Reported Road Accident Statistics – last updated on 24th October 2013 – in which it states:

table 2“Around two-thirds of all reported accidents occur on roads with a 30mph speed limit. However, only 0.6% of accidents on 30mph roads results in a fatality, compared with 2.8% of accidents on 60mph roads, and 2% of accidents on the fastest (70mph) roads”.

By reading the above paragraph we learn while – yes – there seems to be a high accident rate in 30mph zones, however, the percentage of fatalities are well below the fatality rates on 60 and 70mph roads.

What we should also take note of is, it seems that drivers in 30mph zones are statically more likely to speed – as seen in the table below:


So it seems speeding in 30mph zones is more likely the cause of accidents, meaning, even if the zone was legally changed to 20mph – though the accident rate may drop slightly – the number of mishaps would still take up a large percentage of the overall accident count.

20 is Plenty also state that:

“Britain has one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school in Europe… British parents consistently cite traffic speed as the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school”.

As there was absolutely no reference for these facts, I went to do a little snooping online and discovered that:

“…busy roads and stranger danger [stopped] them [children and parents] walking more”.

I completely understand that a busy road would worry a parent, but the 20 is Plenty Focus’ statement that “…cite traffic speed as the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school” is fear mongering.

Finally, the last statement that made me question from what place of knowledge the group was coming from was this:

“It time for our residential roads to be equitably shared with all the users by setting an appropriate speed limit that protects the young and the vulnerable”.

… What?

“…residential roads to be equitably shared…”? How does that make a lick of sense? Roads are for vehicles, not people. Do you hear groups campaigning for the rights of motorists to drive on the bloody pavement? No, because that would be bloody mental. I understand what they’re trying to say with that statement – safer roads and whatnot – but it’s said in such a stupid fashion.

share the road

Whilst writing this, I find myself more than ever on the side of not decreasing the speed limit. I am, however, for campaigning about the dangers of speeding, particularly in residential areas.

Here’s a fancy site that shows the various accidents in the UK as they happen.

Tom Hunt
Tom Hunt
Tom has written damning articles for various websites and now writes here. Interesting right?