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The labels are off and now it’s official: the speed limit in Haringey’s side roads is 20mph. There is no doubt that impacts at lower speeds greatly reduce the risk of serious injury. I have my doubts, however, whether this new limit with be observed. Driving regularly in the boroughs of Hackney and Islington, where the 20 mph limit is widespread, I am aware that 20mph speed limits are observed infrequently and then only 100 or so metres beyond the boroughs’ speed cameras. The speed limit through Alexandra Palace has been 20mph for a number of years and, despite this being a busy, public route, observance is extremely low. I wanted, therefore, to know how Haringey Council intended to enforce the new limit in our quiet side roads. In a response to an enquiry Cllr. Goldberg wrote:


“The council will be monitoring the speed limits in the borough... and consider the  introduction of additional measures, such as traffic calming,  where this was deemed necessary.  The council will also work with Metropolitan Police who will take appropriate action where speeding problems are raised.”  When the same limit was introduced in Islington, Scotland Yard’s traffic management unit wrote: “An unrealistically low speed limit in these roads will create an enforcement problem where one does not currently exist. We will not routinely enforce 20mph speed limits and zones”. (Islington Gazette.) Since then on the spot fines have been handed out but this form of enforcement is, by its nature, piecemeal. Cllr. Goldberg did not specify how the council will monitor the new limit.


The Transport Research Laboratory conducted a study for the DfT which brought together a series of findings from local authorities and international case studies of traffic calming measures. It found that the use of speed limit signs alone only had a small effect on the mean average speed, by around 1-2 mph, whereas more extensive traffic calming measures such as speed cameras produced greater speed reductions. Islington, Brighton and Bristol saw a decrease of only 1 mph the the year following the introduction of a 20mph limit.


So, in terms of reducing speed, signs have proven largely ineffective: but this is the preferred choice of Haringey Council. And the cost? A hefty £900,000. Given that the borough’s roads are in a parlous state, a patchwork quilt of repairs, I would have thought that this money could have been better spent protecting the safety of road users by repairing pavements and road surfaces: a view I imagine which would be shared by a colleague who required extensive dental reconstruction when his bike went into a pothole sending him over the handlebars.


At a time of government cuts, as Haringey representatives are constantly reminding us, it would be reassuring to think that funding was spent wisely: I fear our unsightly 20mph speed limit signs will prove, however, to be little more than a very expensive gesture.




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You seem to assume that nobody obeys speed limits unless there is someone looking over their shoulder and enforcing them. In fact many citizens are law abiding and will keep to the new limits because it is the right thing to do. I remember similar arguments when the smoking ban was introduced on London Buses. How will it be enforced? Is there going to be a policeman on every bus? Well no, it worked because most people are law abiding with a social conscience. Do you ever see anyone smoking on a bus now?

Yes everyone creeps over the speed limit from time to time, but I think the overall effect will be to reduce speeds, even if it is only to 25mph on average. The telling statistic is that if a pedestrian is hit by a car at 30mph they have an 80% chance of being killed. At 20mph this reduces to 20%. So it should reduce road accident deaths significantly.

I can foresee the 20mph limit eventually being rolled out nationwide, so I think Haringey is simply anticipating the inevitable.  

Well if you happen to drive across through a red route (30mph limit).. beware as i got caught (and fined £100 and 3 points off) for doing just 26mph..  So now you know at some point the Met traffic unit will trap some of us near a red route in Haringey, their hit rate is close to 100pc.. and it's all legal. Yes 26 miles per hour = 3 points.

No quite fair but sadly impossible to defeat in court.



Well the driver who revved through the lights by the Clocktower around 7:20 this morning and accelerated along the Broadway clipped a pedestrian crossing the road. Very luckily the person who was hit did not seem badly injured but it was a shocking thing to witness. 20 mph signs had no influence at all.

Awful. I myself was hit whilst on a zebra crossing.  I suffered numerous injuries which will effect me for the rest of my life. Very sad to hear some drivers are not obeying the 20mph limit. This limit is to protect cyclists and pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable on the road. Any driver who doesn't obey this limit is selfish and should be penalized.

Did the driver stop at least?  

Hi Ella yes the driver did stop but it took a good few minutes before he came over to the chap he hit. Since everyone waiting for the bus saw the accident and there is probably pleny of cctv at that spot, it would have been recklessly stupid not to stop. The pedestrian was clearly shaken but not badly hurt. Sorry your experience was so much more serious. Sadly some drivers will never consider other road users. Just look at the guy who smashed into the shops and flats on Park Road - amazing that no one was hurt there.

Well it is my house at number 12... nothing to do with a 20mph limit - he was doing about 50.. as it was a police chase.. with large quantities of stuff in the boot..

I challenge anyone to stick to 20 going either up or down say Ferme park road, many car engines going up or down struggle to find the right engine speed between second gear (too many revs) or third gear (two few revs - engine chokes). If anything it should be set at 25 not 20. Not to mention the extra pollution at trying to run an engine at 20mph...


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