Sadiq Khan’s war on motorists goes up a gear as 18 miles of roads in five London boroughs will be turned into 20mph zones TODAY
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Every major road in five London boroughs has become a 20mph zone from today in what will be seen as the latest salvo in Sadiq Khan’s ‘war on drivers’.
The new limits for Camden, Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets will cover 17 miles of roads including major routes such as Euston Road, Pentonville Road, Mile End Road and Seven Sisters Road.
The changes form part of plans by Transport for London (TfL) to cut the speed limit by 10mph on a further 87 miles of roads in inner and outer London by May 2024.
This would take the overall total of reduced limits to 137 miles by the end of next year – a target which is part of Mr Khan’s ‘Vision Zero’ goal that aims to eliminate death and serious injury from the capital’s transport network.
But the RAC has told MailOnline that ‘a lot depends on how well drivers obey the limit’ and warned TfL would need proper enforcement or traffic-calming measures to ensure compliance.
The new limits for Camden, Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets will cover 17 miles of roads including major routes such as Euston Road, Pentonville Road, Mile End Road and Seven Sisters Road
Meanwhile, a study by experts at Queen’s University last year found that while speed limits reduce traffic they do little to stop accidents.
Researchers compared four different years before and after 20mph zones were introduced and showed little change in short or long-term outcomes for crashes, casualties or driver speed.
It comes amid a backdrop of criticism over Mr Khan’s ‘war on motorists’ which has also focused on the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez), constant roadworks, low-traffic neighbourhoods and cycle lanes. Mr Khan has denied such a war exists and insists he has a duty to tackle ‘poisonous air’.
READ MORE: Sadiq Khan claims that Nazis have infiltrated anti-Ulez protests
TfL announced plans to cut speed limits in Camden, Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets last November.
That followed the implementation of 8.5miles of lower limits that began in February last year, after a 20mph limit was brought in on all TfL roads within the Congestion Charge zone in March 2020.
Reacting to the new proposals, RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘We believe it’s important that 20mph limits are used in places where they stand to make the biggest positive impact to road safety, such as where there are large volumes of motorised traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.
‘Our research also shows drivers are less likely to take notice of 20mph signs if they don’t believe they’re appropriate for the type of road, so we hope TfL has thought carefully about where best to reduce the limit.’
He added: ‘Reducing an urban speed limit to 20mph undoubtedly improves safety for everyone, but a lot depends on how well drivers obey the limit.
‘Without enforcement or traffic-calming measures, compliance is unlikely to be as good as it should be, which unfortunately limits how successful the lower limit will be.’
TfL said safety concerns were the primary driver behind the plans, saying that lower speed limits play a ‘critical role’ in Mr Khan’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan.
The changes form part of plans by Sadiq Khan to cut the speed limit by 10mph on a further 87 miles of roads in inner and outer London by May 2024
Bosses added that people hit by a vehicle at 20mph are about five times less likely to be killed than at 30mph.
TfL said the new speed limits would be supported by new signs and road markings, and existing speed cameras would have their enforcement threshold changed to reflect the new speed limit.
Banners attached to street lamps in the new 20mph areas would also be put in place.
TfL said it was working with the Metropolitan Police to increase the levels of speed enforcement, with the aim of being able to enforce up to one million speeding offences per year by 2024/2025.
It said that this year, 2022/23, the police will enforce around 650,000 speeding offences, which is a rise of about 30 per cent on the previous year.
In 2021/22, the Met enforced 476,685 speeding offences, which was itself an increase of 72 per cent compared with the year before.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: ‘The facts are clear, a person hit by a vehicle at 20mph is five times less likely to be killed than at 30mph.
‘We are determined to build a safer, greener London for everyone and the continued expansion of the 20mph programme on TfL roads is playing a vital role in making the capital’s roads safer for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
‘This forms an important part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan and we will continue to work with colleagues in boroughs to keep improving the safety of London’s roads.’
RAC has told MailOnline that ‘a lot depends on how well drivers obey the limit’ and warned TfL would need proper enforcement or traffic-calming measures to ensure compliance
And Penny Rees, TfL head of Healthy Streets Investment, said: ‘We are determined to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads in line with our Vision Zero goal.
‘Millions of walking and cycling journeys are made across London every day and a person is five times less likely to be killed if hit at 20mph than at 30mph.
‘That’s why we’ve committed to reducing speed limits on our road network in the capital – and these proposals will make a real difference in cutting road danger and enabling more people to walk and cycle.
‘We really value people’s feedback on our proposals and I’d encourage everybody to use this opportunity to share their views on our plans.’
But earlier this month, Giles Orpen-Smellie, the Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said that the 20mph signs that have sprung up across the UK are ‘usually advisory’, meaning motorists who ignore them can’t be taken to court.
Mr Orpen-Smellie told a public meeting: ‘It’s extremely difficult for police to prosecute… if it goes in front of magistrates they will throw it out.’
The response to a question at a Norfolk County Council meeting triggered consternation among road safety organisations.
Liam Calvert of charity Living Streets said he was ‘amazed’ at the comment, adding: ‘I will be very keen to hear about the advice he has received from officers on the issue.’
And Rod King, director of campaign group 20’s Plenty For Us, dismissed the Conservative PCC’s claim as ‘absolute nonsense’.
Research has shown just one in 40 pedestrians die when hit by a car going at 20mph, compared to one in five at 30mph.
However a four-year study commissioned by the government found that the zones, introduced in 1990, had failed to make roads any safer.
Prominent motoring legislation solicitor Nick Freeman – also known as Mr Loophole – previously warned that a ‘lottery’ on 20mph speed limits exists across the country.
He said the zones must be formally created by a traffic order issued by the local authority and have the correct signage.
‘If either is missing it is civil, not criminal. So you won’t get penalty points but you could get a fixed penalty from the council,’ he said.
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