In the last few weeks there has been a flurry of petitions for and against speed limits up and down the country.
Some say speed limits are unnecessary, some say they are too strict and some say the limits don’t go nearly far enough.
Hopefully these petitions will help identify the sweet spot between efficiency and safety and usher in a new era of traffic eutopia.
In Transport Scotland’s Speed Limit Review, the section for Invergarry to A87 Viewpoint reads as follows:
“Given the character, mean speed and accident rates, the assessment concludes that the 40mph speed limit is appropriate.
“The low traffic volume, of 596 vehicles per day, has distorted the accident rate to give a recommended speed limit of 40 mph. But, the mean speed of 47.4 mph would suggest that 50 mph would be more appropriate.
“The character of the road through this section is generally representative of a national speed limit. However, the low mean speed suggests that the driver’s perception of the route hazards necessitates travelling at a reduced speed. No common causation factors were found when assessing the accidents, which would be better supported by accident remedial measures.
“It is recommended that consideration be given to reducing the speed limit for this section to 50 mph.”
Despite claims from the government agency that a lower speed limit would improve road safety, local residents are staunchly opposed to both the proposals and justification.
Shona MacLennan was so unhappy with the proposals that she launched a petition urging Mark Paterson, Director of Trunk Roads and Bus Operations, to turn down Transport Scotland’s suggestions.
MacLennan claims that there’s a disparity between the speed of frequent and infrequent users, and this causes tailbacks. She goes on to identify this stretch of road as one of the few places overtaking is safe and possible. Implementing a lower speed limit, says MacLennan, will encourage overtaking when the road is not safe.
MacLennan’s petition has gathered 768 supporters (correct as of 17/02/15) and has attracted widespread media attention.
The petition’s supporters are a mixed bag. Some object to implementation of any new speed limits, many complain that it will unnecessarily slow down their commute and others question whether a reduction will have any appreciable effect actual road safety.
If you want to weigh in on the proposals, Mark Paterson is inviting comments until Thursday 26th February. Simply email transport minister Derek Mackay and explain why you support or object to the proposals, or write to Mr Paterson at the following address:
58 Port Dundas Road
It’s not only in the Highlands that speed limits are changing. Back in January a spokesperson for Glasgow City Council announced:
“The council has a commitment to make all residential roads mandatory 20mph zones.
“At the moment we have 54 20mph zones now covered by a mandatory 20mph speed limit. To conform with current regulations, these zones must have traffic calming measures such as speed cushions on the road. The zones therefore become self enforcing and require little or no enforcement from police.
“We are in the process of implementing a further 11 zones in the following areas: Anniesland West, Anniesland East, Barrowfield, Hillhead, Kelvindale, Knightswood, Mansewood,Robroyston, North Kelvin, Swinton and West Drumoyne.
“The aim is to ensure drivers reduce their speeds to 20mph or less in identified residential areas, making it safe for all road users particularly those who are more vulnerable such as older pedestrians and children.”
Then came the announcement that councillors had given final approval to a 10-year transport strategy for the city centre.
The strategy will introduce substantially more 20mph speed limits across city, designate principal cycle routes and evaluate the feasibility of a Low Emission Zone.
However, some in Glasgow feel the proposals do not go far enough. After a brief bureaucratic hiccup, cycling campaign group GoBike launched a petition urging councillors to reduce the default urban speed from 30mph to 20mph.
The petition has gathered 94 supporters (correct as of 17/02/15) and has one month left to run.
Considering the sustained vocal opposition targeted at similar limits in Edinburgh, it will be interesting to see how far councillors are willing to press ahead.