40mph plan for country roads (and cycling issues)

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Ivo

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A plan has surfaced for rural roads to have their speed limits reduced to only 40mph.

From the BBC:

Speed limits on many rural roads in England could be cut from 60mph to 40mph under government proposals.

The reduction should be considered by councils on roads with "many bends or junctions", the Department for Transport (DfT) says in draft guidance.

Some 49% of road deaths in 2010 in the UK took place on single carriageway rural roads with a 60mph speed limit.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said it was "vital that speed limits are suitable for local conditions".

The vast majority of rural single-carriageway roads are subject to the national speed limit of 60mph.

Under the plans, which are open to public consultation, a reduction to 40mph should also be considered where there is "substantial development" or where there are "a considerable number" of horse-riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

A reduction to 50mph would be considered for "lower quality A and B roads" with "a relatively high number" of bends or junctions and where mean speeds are already below 50mph.

DfT figures for 2010 show that 68% of road deaths in Britain took place on rural roads.

Ralph Smyth, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, called for "a presumption that minor rural roads, the narrower winding ones, have a lower speed limit".
Now, in the cases of genuinely narrow roads, i.e. those that typically have hedges on either sides with a width of only 3m or so which have passing places and are common only in quiet areas such as Cornwall and the Highlands, I can understand this. But otherwise, 60 is fine.

As usual, Brake and the like are using the horrendously clichéd line that speed kills to back this up. It doesn't. Carelessness kills.

There are even suggestions that it is ridiculous that the difference between motorways and these roads is only 10mph. Whilst I do agree with that, I think it works both ways; not only should narrow winding roads (but only those) be 40, motorways ought to be 80...
 
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rail-britain

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There is effectively a rolling program of such speed reductions in place anyway
Many roads which were previously National Speed Limit (60mph or 70mph) have already had lower speed limits applied to them

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this could see the A9 reduced to 40mph for its entire length (TS following DfT lead)
The main advantage is that the majority of vehicles are then doing the same speed (as HGV should already be doing 40mph)
 

NSEFAN

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I wouldn't be suprised if reductions in speed limits are used/will be used to try and reduce the cost of repairing road surfaces from high traffic levels.
 

455driver

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Travel along the Southern end of the A303 through the Blackdown Hills, the A303 is 50mph but all the single lane roads off it have the GLF sign so are 60mph maximum, I wouldnt do more than 20mph down them.
 

Bungle73

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Now, in the cases of genuinely narrow roads, i.e. those that typically have hedges on either sides with a width of only 3m or so which have passing places and are common only in quiet areas such as Cornwall and the Highlands, I can understand this. But otherwise, 60 is fine.
Actually you'll find those sorts of roads all over the country. I've only got to travel a little way outside of the town where I live and there are plenty of them about.

As usual, Brake and the like are using the horrendously clichéd line that speed kills to back this up. It doesn't. Carelessness kills.
Speed does kill. The faster you go the more likely you are to do serious damage to something.....or someone..if something goes wrong.

It really is ridiculous that the sorts of roads being talked about have a speed limit of 60mph.

, motorways ought to be 80...
Um, why? What's wrong with 70mph. Maybe if motorists weren't in such a hurry to get everywhere, at whatever cost to themselves and anyone else, we'd all be a lot better off.
 

455driver

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Speed on its own does not kill, inappropriate speed and poor driving kill.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
motorways ought to be 80...
So mixing 56mph HGVs with 80mph repmobile/ got to get there now drivers is a good idea is it?

I think not.
 
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A plan has surfaced for rural roads to have their speed limits reduced to only 40mph.

From the BBC:



Now, in the cases of genuinely narrow roads, i.e. those that typically have hedges on either sides with a width of only 3m or so which have passing places and are common only in quiet areas such as Cornwall and the Highlands, I can understand this. But otherwise, 60 is fine.

As usual, Brake and the like are using the horrendously clichéd line that speed kills to back this up. It doesn't. Carelessness kills.

There are even suggestions that it is ridiculous that the difference between motorways and these roads is only 10mph. Whilst I do agree with that, I think it works both ways; not only should narrow winding roads (but only those) be 40, motorways ought to be 80...
Agree with you about this.
 

SS4

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There are even suggestions that it is ridiculous that the difference between motorways and these roads is only 10mph. Whilst I do agree with that, I think it works both ways; not only should narrow winding roads (but only those) be 40, motorways ought to be 80...
If speed doesn't kill why not 100?

I'd be inclined to say momentum (the product of mass and velocity) kills.
 

90019

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Speed does kill. The faster you go the more likely you are to do serious damage to something.....or someone..if something goes wrong.
Presumably you'd be in favour of limiting all vehicles of any type in the country to 5mph - that should be a safe enough speed to not kill everyone.

It really is ridiculous that the sorts of roads being talked about have a speed limit of 60mph.
It's only rediculous if you're genuinely stupid enough to try and do 60 on every road that's NSL.
On an NSL road, just like any other road, you should be driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions. If you are unable to judge whether it's approprate or not, you shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car in the first place.

Um, why? What's wrong with 70mph. Maybe if motorists weren't in such a hurry to get everywhere, at whatever cost to themselves and anyone else, we'd all be a lot better off.
Why don't you tell us what's wrong with 80mph?

What is so inherently dangerous about 80mph over 70mph?
Have all the people who regularly do 80 on the motorways anyway been killed because it's such a dangerous speed for a road with separated carriageways and restrictions on what is and isn't allowed on them?




Seriously though, does anyone genuinely believe this will make the slightest bit of difference?

To quote someone from another forum:
"Speed is a factor in most rural accidents". Is what they will say.

What they really mean, though they will never admit it, is: "They were above the NSL when they crashed". In other words, they weren't obeying the higher speed limit. Nothing to suggest that making the limit lower will have any effect on those who already speed.
 

SS4

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Why don't you tell us what's wrong with 80mph?

What is so inherently dangerous about 80mph over 70mph?
Have all the people who regularly do 80 on the motorways anyway been killed because it's such a dangerous speed for a road with separated carriageways and restrictions on what is and isn't allowed on them?
It's dangerous to the planet ;)
 

causton

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So mixing 56mph HGVs with 80mph repmobile/ got to get there now drivers is a good idea is it?

I think not.
Yes it is. It happens right now. Probably literally right now. And again now. And again now.

If the speed limit on motorways was increased I could deal with the limit on NSL roads being lowered - but at the moment you know that you can safely do faster than 70 on the M1 and a country lane signposted at NSL should really be done at 40. That is common sense. The people that do 60 down the country lanes marked as NSL will still do them when they are marked as 40 I bet you!
 

starrymarkb

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Speed on its own does not kill, inappropriate speed and poor driving kill.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


So mixing 56mph HGVs with 80mph repmobile/ got to get there now drivers is a good idea is it?

I think not.
It works in on the continent. Plus are the German Autobahns not one of the safest motorway networks despite the very high speeds (150mph+ is not uncommon). The difference is high standards of driving are expected and enforced.
 

DavidBrown

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There seems to be an alarming attitude amongst many motorists that because the speed limit is 60, you must do 60. The standard of driving has decreased so much that many people will follow either speed limits blindly and do whatever the sign tells them, or just do 40mph everywhere - from fast, wide open dual carriageways to village centres. They will not take into account bends, hills, width of the road, how far you can see ahead, the road surface, other motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, animals....need I go on? There is such an obsession with speed that I believe that it's actually CAUSING more accidents than reducing them.

One example I find is here on the A361 near Barnstaple.
The junction is dangerous as there is a lot to look out for. There's the busy side road, which is very busy due to a neighbouring Garden Centre. There's the traffic island and footpath crossing it, meaning plenty of pedestrians and cyclists. There's the bus stops, which mean both pedestrians and slow/stationary vehicles and the chance that they'll pull out. You're at one end of a dual carriageway here, which means a lot of people have just tried/about to try to overtake, so tailgating and different speeds are highly likely. On Sundays, due to a nearby car boot sale, you have a lot of U-turning traffic here (despite signs banning it), and this leads to congestion. But, due to one feature here, most drivers don't see any of that - it's the speed camera. The speed camera means that most motorists just stare at their speedometer, so they don't creep over the artificialy low 40mph speed limit. What we need is to look at engineering solutions to make dangerous places safer - in this case a roundabout would slow all traffic down even more but allow the driver to observe all the above hazards - simple.

Look at speed limits, and more importantly the standard of driving, this way. We all would appreciate higher rail line speeds where the infrastructure allows. We know that the train driver is capable of driving the train at those speeds, and can react to any potential hazards, even though a train obviously takes much longer to stop. Why is driving a car different? Why do we allow people on the road who can't react to hazards at whatever speed?
 

Lampshade

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There are some roads near me with a 60 limit that I daren't do more than 30 on, especially at night - small wonder Salwick station gets such low patronage, it's not lack of passengers, they've all crashed on the way :shock:
 

melena

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I dont get it, They want the speed reduced because of horse riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists? Im in a rural area, rarely see any horses on the road, cyclists and pedestrians are/should be on the footpath if there is one and if the speed limit for motorcyclists was properly enforced us drivers wouldnt be having to crawl round bends anyway in case some 2wheeled idiot comes blasting round it at 90mph. Theyre the main problem.

Anyway, it sounds like this is the answer to everyone getting off the motorway when tolls are rolled out. Drive down a non tolled road at 40mph in a long slow tailback, probably behind someone that drives 10mph below roadspeed whatever the max speed is, or pay to drive at 70mph...
 

Oswyntail

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...cyclists ... are/should be on the footpath if there is one .....
No comment.
On most of the rural roads round here there is no possibility of reaching above 40 anyway, and, as has been said, on most of the others above 40 wouldn't be safe anyway. However, if the limit is set at 40 and someone going over that is in a crash they will be culpable, whereas at present they would not be.
Now if they could do something about the milk tanker that kept tailgating me on the A65 the other night - as the limit changed I would accelerate up to it, leave the tanker behind, then find it had caught up (and all I could see in my mirror was the grille). Speed limits do not deter bad driving.
 

Ivo

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Can we not revise the NSL completely?

For narrow roads such as these (width of less than 4m not including passing places), the NSL is 40, or 30 for anything that would have a limit of 50 or less on a standard single carriageway road. The present 60(/50/40) is maintained for standard roads. For dual carriageways, the limit becomes 80(/60/50). You can still use 70 signs and the like to enforce lower speed limits if there are any stretches where they are necessary, such as the M4 in Newport.

On an NSL road, just like any other road, you should be driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions. If you are unable to judge whether it's approprate or not, you shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car in the first place.
What he said.
 
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No comment.
<snip>
Why not comment?

I have thought for a long time that many footpaths could become cycle paths as well, as long as priority is given to walkers.

After all, I can drive past mile after mile of footpath and no one is using them. Obviously, ones in town centres would be walking only, but away from there I cannot see why the occasional pensioner, mother pushing a buggy, or schoolchildren would be too much of a problem to a cyclist on the same path.

It just needs a bit of common sense.
 

chris89

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Can't really comment since i do not drive.

But since many places i have lived involve going down country lanes and cycling down them i can.

The speed limit on them does not matter at all. Its the fact people seem to try and go the fastest possible without a care in the world and not taking into account the normally poor road conditions that are on these roads and lanes.

Several in Billingsley area near myself have terrible road conditions including always damp and wet, lots of leaf fall. Yet people still believe they can go nearly up to 60mph or as fast as they want.

When lived in Somerset in Ditcheat all the back roads towards Glastonbury and Pilton were just as bad, but more due to the amount of blind bends and everything else that uses them.

@melena It is illegal for Cyclists to use footpaths unless it is a cycle path. Also they have just the same amount of rights to use roads as well. When i have cycled on those country roads it is i, who is mostly pushed into the verge by car drivers or worse and most common tractor drivers who are going to fast for the conditions.

Horses can be easily spooked and can throw the rider off and cause him or her serious injury, so always expect them to be on country lanes, as i do the same on a push bike.
 
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Can't really comment since i do not drive.

But since many places i have lived involve going down country lanes and cycling down them i can.

The speed limit on them does not matter at all. Its the fact people seem to try and go the fastest possible without a care in the world and not taking into account the normally poor road conditions that are on these roads and lanes.

Several in Billingsley area near myself have terrible road conditions including always damp and wet, lots of leaf fall. Yet people still believe they can go nearly up to 60mph or as fast as they want.

When lived in Somerset in Ditcheat all the back roads towards Glastonbury and Pilton were just as bad, but more due to the amount of blind bends and everything else that uses them.

@melena It is illegal for Cyclists to use footpaths unless it is a cycle path. Also they have just the same amount of rights to use roads as well. When i have cycled on those country roads it is i, who is mostly pushed into the verge by car drivers or worse and most common tractor drivers who are going to fast for the conditions.

Horses can be easily spooked and can throw the rider off and cause him or her serious injury, so always expect them to be on country lanes, as i do the same on a push bike.
When I have cycled on country roads, I have found that certain drivers are careful when they come up behind me on my bike, and others are not.

The worst drivers in that respect seem to drive certain makes of vehicles, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo being the regular transgressors. The drivers of these vehicles seem very reluctant to slow down for something a lowly as a pushbike, if there is traffic coming in the opposite direction, and they try and pretend that the cyclist is not there.
 

jon0844

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all the single lane roads off it have the GLF sign so are 60mph maximum, I wouldnt do more than 20mph down them.
But that's why I don't see the point in lowering the limit. Anyone with half a brain knows that a country road at 60mph doesn't mean driving at 60mph all the time.

There are places where you can, and others where you crawl. Thanks to brakes and gears, cars can vary speeds.

What you get are idiots that just drive at the limit and are totally careless. They'll maybe slow to 40mph but still end up having huge accidents with other motorists driving equally carelessly (a nice 80mph closing speed head on) and nothing will change, except massive frustration for the people who can drive. And easy pickings for the police as it is easier to go for those driving over 40mph on a straight bit of clear open road than look for the dangerous drivers - causing more resentment.

Finally, for anyone that argues speed kills - well, clearly that's true.. but we don't ban trains or planes do we? Inappropriate speed can kill, but pop over to Germany to see how doing 200mph on a road, legally, doesn't leave a trail of destruction and death. It's a far too simplistic argument that the less intelligent seem to have taken to mean that it's only about speed. Drive like a tw*t but within the speed limit and you'll be just fine. And that seems to be how many people drive, as you can see from any day out (especially weekends). In fact, you even get those who drive well below the limit probably because they think they're even safer (just as they pull out to overtake a car at 20mph when there's another car in lane two doing 70mph, or turn out of a junction with no desire to accelerate at all as a faster vehicle is closing in on them).

I'd even argue that in many accidents, the LACK OF speed is probably the cause of death.
 

Failed Unit

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The thing is it is totally unenforceable! Many roads in rural Lincolnshire are single track, no passing places and lucky to see 2 cars per hour. Hardly enough to send a patrol car down or put up a camera. To be honest not many people do 60 on the rural roads and those that do won't respect the speed limit anyway.
 

SS4

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Why not comment?

I have thought for a long time that many footpaths could become cycle paths as well, as long as priority is given to walkers.
Would never happen. If cyclists don't think red lights apply to them why would they respect pedestrians? Such a measure is analogous to giving HGVs priority in all cases.
 

jon0844

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The people that do 60 down the country lanes marked as NSL will still do them when they are marked as 40 I bet you!
Yes they will, but now you can install cameras and give them a ticket. Kerching!

Brake and other organisations might want to try and push for better driver training, and harsher penalties for dangerous driving - not just going after speeding.

The IAM isn't against higher limits and will even penalise advanced motorists for driving below the limit without good reason. Good reasons being not driving beyond your line of sight or slowing down for the road conditions, not being early and wanting to kill time (to hell with fellow motorists) or driving slow to make a statement and deliberately hinder the progress of other motorists.

Why is it that the people causing most trouble aren't likely to be the advanced motorists, but the timid ones that should probably keep well away from the wheel.

There seems to be an alarming attitude amongst many motorists that because the speed limit is 60, you must do 60. The standard of driving has decreased so much that many people will follow either speed limits blindly and do whatever the sign tells them, or just do 40mph everywhere - from fast, wide open dual carriageways to village centres. They will not take into account bends, hills, width of the road, how far you can see ahead, the road surface, other motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, animals....need I go on? There is such an obsession with speed that I believe that it's actually CAUSING more accidents than reducing them.

One example I find is here on the A361 near Barnstaple.
The junction is dangerous as there is a lot to look out for. There's the busy side road, which is very busy due to a neighbouring Garden Centre. There's the traffic island and footpath crossing it, meaning plenty of pedestrians and cyclists. There's the bus stops, which mean both pedestrians and slow/stationary vehicles and the chance that they'll pull out. You're at one end of a dual carriageway here, which means a lot of people have just tried/about to try to overtake, so tailgating and different speeds are highly likely. On Sundays, due to a nearby car boot sale, you have a lot of U-turning traffic here (despite signs banning it), and this leads to congestion. But, due to one feature here, most drivers don't see any of that - it's the speed camera. The speed camera means that most motorists just stare at their speedometer, so they don't creep over the artificialy low 40mph speed limit. What we need is to look at engineering solutions to make dangerous places safer - in this case a roundabout would slow all traffic down even more but allow the driver to observe all the above hazards - simple.

Look at speed limits, and more importantly the standard of driving, this way. We all would appreciate higher rail line speeds where the infrastructure allows. We know that the train driver is capable of driving the train at those speeds, and can react to any potential hazards, even though a train obviously takes much longer to stop. Why is driving a car different? Why do we allow people on the road who can't react to hazards at whatever speed?
Jonathan likes this.
 
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Oswyntail

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The thing is it is totally unenforceable! ...
Often stated, and in essence true (as with many laws). But that alone doesn't mean it should not be done. If a driver writes off a car by accident, and the insurance company refuses to pay up because they were over the speed limit, the driver himself will enforce that law better in future.
Speed alone does not kill. But speed does reduce the time available to make critical decisions.
 

Bungle73

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I dont get it, They want the speed reduced because of horse riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists? Im in a rural area, rarely see any horses on the road, cyclists and pedestrians are/should be on the footpath if there is one and if the speed limit for motorcyclists was properly enforced us drivers wouldnt be having to crawl round bends anyway in case some 2wheeled idiot comes blasting round it at 90mph. Theyre the main problem.

Anyway, it sounds like this is the answer to everyone getting off the motorway when tolls are rolled out. Drive down a non tolled road at 40mph in a long slow tailback, probably behind someone that drives 10mph below roadspeed whatever the max speed is, or pay to drive at 70mph...
I don't know if this a troll post or what.....

First, the types of roads being discussed don't have pavements, and secondly cyclists have a RIGHT to use the road. It really ****es me off the way some drivers want to deprive cyclists of their lawful right to use the road. For your information cyclist are there by RIGHT, you are only there by LICENCE.

The reason you should "crawl round bends" on these roads is because you probably cannot see if there is an obstruction like a pedestrian, horse, cyclist or even another car.
 
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Yes they will, but now you can install cameras and give them a ticket. Kerching!

Brake and other organisations might want to try and push for better driver training, and harsher penalties for dangerous driving - not just going after speeding.

The IAM isn't against higher limits and will even penalise advanced motorists for driving below the limit without good reason. Good reasons being not driving beyond your line of sight or slowing down for the road conditions, not being early and wanting to kill time (to hell with fellow motorists) or driving slow to make a statement and deliberately hinder the progress of other motorists.

Why is it that the people causing most trouble aren't likely to be the advanced motorists, but the timid ones that should probably keep well away from the wheel.



Jonathan likes this.
I might have misinterpreted this; but IIRC I think, I read in a motoring column of a newspaper advice about speed limits? It was something do with, never driving at exactly the marked speed limit (particularly at night) as any following police officer would be suspicious? How true this is I don't know.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't know if this a troll post or what.....

First, the types of roads being discussed don't have pavements, and secondly cyclists have a RIGHT to use the road. It really ****es me off the way some drivers want to deprive cyclists of their lawful right to use the road. For your information cyclist are there by RIGHT, you are only there by LICENCE.

The reason you should "crawl round bends" on these roads is because you probably cannot see if there is an obstruction like a pedestrian, horse, cyclist or even another car.
If Britain went along the Dutch way: and was more serious about cycle lanes, I as a driver would be more than happy. I've lost count, of the number of harrowing tales, I have been told by friends who cycle to work. I know of, at least two who have been hospitalised by the stupid actions of motorists.
 
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