Four out of five drivers observing Brighter Borough’s 20mph speed limit

Published: Friday 9th February 18

Early research suggests that four out of five motorists are now complying with the borough-wide 20mph limit in Wandsworth’s residential streets.

A comprehensive study on traffic speeds is currently underway following last summer’s introduction of a borough-wide 20mph limit, but early indications from local police led-speed checks shows that the vast majority of motorists appear to have slowed down in Wandsworth’s quieter residential roads.  

Community Roadwatch events are helping get the message across to motorists

Police-led speed gun checks on nearly 7,000 vehicles has shown that more than 80 per cent were sticking to lower speed limits and helping keep Wandsworth streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.

The new 20mph limit applies to all the borough’s quieter residential backstreets and neighbourhoods and was brought in to make local roads safer and also encourage other forms of sustainable transport like cycling and walking.

Since its introduction traffic police have regularly joined residents and local community groups, including schools, to carry out a series of speed checks.

During the course of these “Community Roadwatch” events police and residents have used “speed guns” to check the speed of 6,945 vehicles. Of these 5,614 were complying with the new limit.

A total of 1,331 or 19 per cent of all those tested were exceeding the limit. All these drivers received a warning letter from the Met Police reminding them to slow down and notifying them that if caught again they would be prosecuted. A number of drivers did face legal action and points on their licence after driving at excessive speeds – including the worst case of a pizza delivery driver who was travelling at 56mph in a residential street in Putney.

Accidents involving collisions between pedestrians and vehicles are three times less likely to be fatal if the speed of the impact is 20mph compared to 30mph.

Studies have shown that at 30mph, 55 per cent of collisions result in pedestrian fatalities while at 20mph this figure drops dramatically to just 17 per cent.

Cllr Cook says early results are encouraging

Transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “These early results are encouraging and show that the vast majority of motorists have slowed down and are observing the new 20mph limit.

“Hopefully those who have received letters from the police will have learned their lesson and slow down from now on.

“They can be sure that we will be continuing our joint community speed check exercises with the police so if they haven’t got the message to curb their speed, then chances are they will end up getting points on their licence.”

The lower limit applies in all the borough’s quiet side streets but is unchanged on Wandsworth’s busier main roads. The change was made following detailed and extensive public consultation in 2016.

As well as being safer and encouraging other healthier modes of transport, slowing vehicle speeds reduces noise levels and helps improve air quality.

Cllr Cook added: “We hope that improving safety levels will encourage people to leave their cars at home and travel instead by bike or on foot.   

“And if we can reduce the number of vehicles on our roads then not only will our streets be quieter and safer but there should also be an improvement in air quality levels too.”

For more information about the new rules and additional background on the decision, visit

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Recent comments

You’re confusing motorists!!! 1 minute 20 next it’s 30 In truth....There is evidence that 20 mph zones working!! You should just let things be. MURDERS / RAPES / CHILD ABUSE - London ....worst than new york!!! This where valuable police resourses, time & money needs to be used and other more important issues rather than try & make money from vulnerable motorists. You councils just want more revenue ....more’re priority is not to save lives....does’nt seem like it at all!!

18 April 2018

Without being told what the comparable speeds were before the 20mph limits were introduced, this news is pointless. From it we do not know whether motorists are driving faster, slower or at the same speed as they were before. I guess the limits haven't made any difference, otherwise surely this crucial information would be included.

13 February 2018

During the tests, Drivers could see the police presence from miles away so obvs slowed down. Any road without speed bumps is still driven on with the usual complete disregard for the totally unenforceable limit.
G shaw

12 February 2018

Beware drivers flouting the One Way down Southfields Road and doing so At Speed. Pl. do something. We have nearly been involved in head on crash twice in the last fewmonths turning left from Ringford Road into their path.
Carol Tibbs

10 February 2018

Certainly not working in Ormeley Road where the tiny circular signs are fixed to a few lamp posts here and there and nothing is written on the street.
L Noble

10 February 2018

Setting up these 20mph zones cost london taxpayers over £750,000 and there is no evidence it makes our roads safer. (Bath council admitted that it made them worse last year as pedestrians take less care). STOP WASTING MONEY WE DONT HAVE AND CONCENTRATE ON SOCIAL CARE AND SCHOOLS WANDWORTH

10 February 2018

I cycle every day and in my experience the 20 mph speed limit is certainly not observed by very many cars at all. In fact down the road in which I live, cars mostly race up the road! Of course the speed limit will be observed by 4 out of 5 drivers if the police are standing by the side of the road in hi-viz jackets! I have never seen police checking speeds once since the 20mph started. I would say there has been no change in the speeds used. Such a shame, as I was so hopeful when it all started.
Olivia Ford

10 February 2018

Surely the offence should be 'crossing roads without due care and attention'. We have many pedestrian crossings which are ignored by pedestrians who are no more than a bus length from them when they step out - and sometimes in very busy roads. The more the speed limit is lowered - the more who will step onto the roads without looking. It might be an idea to make bells a bikes a legal requirement - so many cyclists are going the wrong way along one way streets - and I'm sure breaking the 20 mph speed limit.
Liz D

10 February 2018

Clearly the checks didn't take place on Blackshaw Road...where speeding is common place and dangerous... especially the lorries rushing to the cafe at the bottom of Worslade junction with Blackshaw...not to mention the dreadful parking by said lorries and vans which don't appear to have to pay parking fees either ... Parking attendant s don't bother them with tickets for reasons I cannot fathom
Nicola Stowe

9 February 2018

Councillor Cook would love this to be true but....... Some taxi drivers I have used since the 20 zones were set up have totally ignored them in the side roads of Earlsfield.
Celia Blair

9 February 2018

I find this hard to believe. Traffic in Northcote ward is still tanking along at 30.
Sam Davies

9 February 2018

Not what we are hearing from some SN Reps in East Battersea.
susan lofthouse

9 February 2018

not where I live. Erpingham Road and its surrounds often see 40mph drivers zooming around.
James Morris

9 February 2018

You are doubtless right that the majority of drivers respect the 20 mph limit but we have a real problem in St. John's Avenue - i.e. the stretch west of Putney Hill. It is used by commuters and rat-runners avoiding the Upper Richmond Road. Speeds of 30-40 mph (my judgement) are frequent as cars accelerate down the road. This is not just illegal but really dangerous. We don't want humps, and the barrier on Putney Hill has helped a lot, but can we have somebody with speed guns (I would help) for a day or two to check and to warn offenders? Or even a speed trap? Grateful if you would investigate.
John Hobley

9 February 2018

I cycle down Wandsworth Road (20 mph) every weekday and it’s pretty obvious to me that most drivers behave as though it’s a 30 mph limit. Mind you, since when was Wandsworth Road one of the ‘borough’s quiet side streets’ ?! And why does Lavender Hill, which is a continuation of Wandsworth Road, have a 30 mph limit? Lack of consistency.
richard balcer

9 February 2018

Definitely not observing the speed limits on St. John’s Avenue most doing 50/60 in the 20 zone! Since the 20 signs went up they all have speeded up!

9 February 2018

Are you living in a parallel universe? Check out the rat run - Avoca Road. The morons at the Council painted three 'false' speed bumps. Does the council have a specific hiring process for morons? I have never seen a driver comply. Even the council vans disregard the rule.
j karna

9 February 2018

Absolutely no way are vehicles sticking to 20mph speed limit on Bolingbroke Grove. Headline should read "Four out of five drivers are NOT observing 20mph speed limit". I respect you WBC, but why do you ruin your fine reputation with this relentless good news agenda? I just don't know if anything you say is 100% correct.

9 February 2018

Please come and measure the speed of traffic on Romberg Road at Both rush hours Traffic breaking 20mph speed limit
Peter McNally

9 February 2018

You obviously haven't checked the drivers speed on Longley Road!!!

9 February 2018

It clearly depends which 'quieter residential' roads are being measured. Between 7.30am and 8.30am Streathbourne Road turns into a rat run and very few of the many cars and vans appear to observe the 20 mile an hour limit.
Carol Griffiths

9 February 2018