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

Published: 9 February 2018

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.  

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.

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 www.wandsworth.gov.uk/20mph.