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Great Britain

Not one driver caught speeding in new city centre 20mph zones since scheme started

QUESTIONS are being raised about whether new 20mph speed zones in Bradford city centre are being enforced.

New figures show that since the zones were introduced on September 2, no drivers have been caught speeding.

The statistics, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph & Argus, have led to suggestions that the £120,000 scheme is not being enforced.

The RAC thinks this is more likely than drivers all slowing down, but adds that just having the limit will have curbed the speed of some motorists.

Bradford Council, though, insists it is too early to determine the success of the scheme and that a speed survey will take place in due course. The authority says it does all it can to ensure drivers stick to the limits.

Most roads in the centre were made subject to the reduced speed limit after council bosses said such a move would support regeneration of the area by making it safer for people to walk or cycle. However, officials did admit that consultation on the scheme had not attracted 'a huge amount of feedback'.

The new zones cover the city centre within the inner ring road, including Bradford College and university campuses. Main roads such as Hall Ings and Manchester Road are not involved.

An RAC road safety spokesman said: “It’s probably not a great surprise that no drivers have been caught speeding in the new city centre 20mph zones.

"This is almost certainly due to a lack of enforcement, but the very presence of a lower speed limit will have reduced the average speed of vehicles using these roads even if they haven’t stuck exactly to 20mph. This is positive for road safety.

“Research for the RAC Report on Motoring 2019 shows that 44 per cent of drivers admit to breaking the 20mph speed limit. While this is not good in itself, it shows most drivers do stick to the limit.”

The Bradford Council spokesman said: “Speeding enforcement is a police matter, however, the Council does everything it can to ensure drivers stick to the limits.

"The new city centre 20mph zone has only been in place for two months so it is too early to determine the success of the scheme. But it has been well received locally and nationally.

“As with similar schemes elsewhere in the district, in due course we will carry out a speed survey to measure its effectiveness. 20mph zones are a proven and nationally-recognised way of protecting children, pedestrians and cyclists and bring down average speeds when installed in suitable areas.

"Slower speeds save lives and make streets more liveable environments, encouraging people to walk and cycle. The 20mph zones around schools and nearby streets are helping to protect children from the dangers of speeding.

“If we are considering a 20mph zone and general speeds are higher than 24mph, we usually introduce self-enforcing measures such as traffic calming signage or road markings. This in line with the Department for Transport guidelines.

“The new zones are supported by the police, highways engineers and leading road safety campaigners such as BRAKE and RoSPA.”

Baildon councillor Debbie Davies, who did not favour the scheme from the start, said: "It is hard to say which this information points to - that the system is working well or there is a lack of enforcement. Personally, I would question the enforcement aspect.

"My feeling at the time was that we should be targeting people who drive really badly and go way over the speed limit, not those going about their daily business. If people drive at 30 that's not a problem in my view. It is those doing over 40 and tearing through the streets.

"I find it hard to believe that everyone is doing 20mph and it is more likely not being enforced. I have not noticed any difference in driver behaviour in the city centre. I am sceptical, let's put it that way."

West Yorkshire Police said they had 'nothing to add' to the Freedom of Information data.

In August, ahead of the new zones being implemented, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw said 20mph zones were a proven way of making roads safer.

The portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport said: "Our city centre zone will help make it a safer and more attractive place for pedestrians and cyclists as well as making it generally more inviting to live, work and visit."

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