MORE 20mph zones in residential areas have been called for.
Huddersfield road safety charity Brake says that a restriction of 20mph in built-up areas would make roads safer for walkers and cyclists.
But 20mph zones have proven divisive – some believing they are “wholly ineffective” in tackling speeding. Others have called for speed enforcement rather than restrictions.
In Kirklees Almondbury, Meltham and Honley centres are 20mph zones, with a council spokesman saying “research from the DfT research laboratory, and also other councils, shows that 20mph zones don’t have the desired effect when they are used in isolation.”
Elland and Stainland in Calderdale also have 20mph zones and Stainland’s Clr Malcolm James says: “I think the scheme, as far as I can determine from observations and from speaking to people, has had no significant effect whatsoever.
“In fact here and there it has produced some negative consequences because there have been cases of people going along at 20mph and it has caused frustration among other drivers and has led to overtaking.
“Along one section it is not unreasonable to be going at less than the speed due to the nature of the road and volume of traffic.”
In March 2011 Stainland saw the introduction of the first community-wide 20mph speed limit trial, which cost around £56,000. A survey one year on showed average speed reduced by around 1mph to 26mph.
So far this month two drivers were fined for speeding at 37mph and 41mph and two will face court for going at 40mph and 50mph. On Saturday three Stainland drivers were caught speeding – one at 54mph.
Last April Calderdale Council conducted a survey as part of its Local Development Framework which reveals: “Residents believe (speeding) presents a clear danger to life resulting in stress and fear” and adds that the “current 20mph speed limit is regarded as wholly ineffective in dealing with the issue”.
Ann Rutherford, chair of the Brighouse Road Safety Committee, which campaigns for road safety improvements to reduce accident and injury, said: “If you can save one life then it must be tried.
“I don’t know what I feel about the zones, I think it can sometimes lead to impatience and in Elland I don’t think you could do more than 20mph in some places.
“Our aim is to reduce injury and accidents and the lower the speed the less serious the injury caused if there is an accident.”
In 2010 Meltham became a 20mph town and Clr Terry Lyons says: “I believe it has had some improvement but you are not going to get everybody sticking to it all of the time.
“But with the amount of traffic, particularly around the supermarket, I would be surprised if you can even go at 20mph at busy times.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The monitoring study for Honley and Meltham schemes is not yet complete, but the 20mph zones in Kirklees form only part of our safety measures.”
Among other measures are zebra or puffin crossings, pedestrian islands, signs, road markings, vehicle activated warning signs, speed indicator devices, safety cameras, mini-roundabouts and chicanes.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend says research shows that more people say they would walk and cycle if it was safer, while three-quarters of people (74%) support use of 20mph limits on residential streets.