Friday, July 25, 2014

20mph But Not For Cyclists: Bus Users Fear Cyclists Clogging Bus Lanes: Should Cycling Helmets Be Mandatory? Jim Thomas

London Council to push for borough Wide 20mph speed limit. But it's one rule for Motorists and another for Cyclists.

The London Borough of Southwark this week dismissed reports it wants to enforce 20mph speed limits on cyclists.

Confusion about the council’s intentions emerged after an objector to the council’s proposed borough-wide 20mph speed limit said the choice of the word ‘vehicle’ in the traffic management order should be changed to ‘motor vehicle’ to reflect the fact that the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 governing speed limits specifically refers to the latter. 

But Southwark defended the existing wording, saying: “The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 does indeed refer to ‘motor vehicles’. 

However, since 1984 cycling as a modal share has grown substantially and the council receives a number of complaints from residents particularly pedestrians about the excessive speed of cyclists. Therefore it would be inappropriate to treat cyclists differently to any other form of traffic and effectively tie the hands of police when it comes to speed enforcement.”

Ralph Smyth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s senior transport campaigner, who is a barrister and a resident of Southwark, told LTT: “Southwark is seeking to include pedal cycles within the scope of its borough-wide 20mph speed limit. But the legal power it is relying on – section 84 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 – only enables highway authorities to create local speed limits for motor vehicles.

So the order is ultra vires – outside its powers – and this risks making the borough 20mph limit unenforceable for motor vehicles too.”

Smyth added: “You might expect to hear about such a hare-brained proposal in some far-flung town where cycling has largely died out. It is really surprising, however, to find it close to the beating heart of the mayor’s cycle revolution in a borough that claims to want to be the best in London for cycling.”

The objector to Southwark’s speed limit order said: “It is not realistic to expect those in control of all non-motorised vehicles to know their speed accurately, and therefore it is unreasonable for them to be subject to maximum speed limits. For example, a cyclist travelling downhill could easily but unknowingly exceed 20mph even without pedalling and it would be unjust for them to receive punishment for doing so.”

A DfT spokesman told LTT that the only mechanism by which cyclists could be prosecuted for speeding was via Section 28 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which covers “dangerous cycling”. 

Southwark this week sought to clear up the confusion. Mark William, Southwark’s cabinet member for transport, said: 
“The council sees the establishment of a 20mph borough as a significant step forward in ensuring the safety of all road users not least cyclists and pedestrians. To achieve this we feel that all vehicles should limit their speed to 20 mph.

“The report to determine the statutory objections relating to a borough-wide 20mph speed limit makes it clear that orders made under Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 can apply to motor vehicles only and as such any prosecution by the police for breaches of the speed limit under that Act would be limited to motorised vehicles only. 

Accordingly the traffic order will be amended to make reference to ‘motorised vehicles’ only.”

Other Cycling News:
Bus users fear cycle lane snarl-up

London Travelwatch is pressing Transport for London to quantify the delays that buses will experience from a proposed new cycle superhighway.

TfL is consulting on plans for superhighway 5 through Vauxhall and a redesign of the junction outside Oval Tube station. The plans include a 1.4km two-way segregated cycle track from Oval over Vauxhall Bridge to Pimlico, which will be created by taking road space away from general traffic and buses.

“TfL’s documentation gives great detail about the benefits it sees from the proposals,” 
said Stephen Locke, chair of the passenger watchdog. 
“It also acknowledges that there will be some delays to bus passengers because the space available to buses will be reduced. But it doesn’t give bus passengers any idea of just how much longer their journey will take.” 

Locke has also voiced concern that plans to install bus stop bypasses on the route, will create conflicts between cyclists and passengers.

Mandatory helmet law wouldn’t discourage cycling, says Transport Research Laboratories:

Helmets: TRL says attitudes to helmet wearing more favourable:

There is no evidence to support the belief that compulsory helmet-wearing for cyclists would lead to a big drop in cycling, consultant TRL said this week.

TRL’s intervention in the helmet debate came as Jersey became the first jurisdiction in the UK to pass a helmet law, making it compulsory for child cyclists under 14 to wear a helmet. Parents face a £50 fine if their child is caught cycling without one.

    Source: Transport Extra.


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