20mph speed limit rollout by Lewisham Council (effective September 2016)


I think that this is almost universally accepted regardless of people’s personal position on the limit. I personally feel that the dangerous drivers now seem empowered to take risks when driving behind a car doing less than 30 mph.

It is, however, still relatively soon after the speed limit was lowered and I think that we need to see how people adjust over the next few years. Historical road safety measures and more general public safety measures are nearly always deemed unnecessary by sections of the public when they are legislated (e.g. seat belts, seat belts in the rear seats, lower blood alcohol limits when driving, mobile phone use at the wheel, compulsory motorcycle helmets for motorcyclists, public smoking ban). People will complain about a reduction of freedom and/or state that it is not necessary for them personally, but society will generally accept the change and move forward. I believe that there is a plan for busses to be speed limited to local limits on local roads, so this may get people used to driving at 20 mph as, after all, twenty is plenty.


I’m quite sure this will increase pollution and worsen congestion (although I’m sure some bright spark will dig out a study that suggests the opposite…).

Bus timetables will be hurt, making them even less appealing as a means of mass transit (no doubt someone will claim that busses already travel at 20mph hence timetables won’t change - begging the question: why speed limit them?)

Cars overtaking busses will become more frenzied and more risky.

It seems policy decisions like this are made in a total ideological bubble. The council believes in a zero sum approach - that hurting car users will convert them into eco friendly cyclists. Utter tosh, IMO.

I have a bike. I’ll be less inclined to use it if I’m gonna be stuck behind a speed-limited bus, breathing in its appalling diesel fumes and trying to avoid drivers who are understandably infuriated by inappropriate speed limits.


Buses around Epsom are limited to 26. Which is weird as some of the roads are 40.


Chris oh Chris - we all hear the beat of your drum on this one.
When did anyone in London ever rely on a timetable for bus routes? Aspirational fantasies at worst and something about which everyone could thereby complain about.
It’s a modern world now - we have bus countdown and it is available on every type of mobile device on the market. It’s a game changer of the greatest order. People no longer look at timetables - they look up when precisely the next buses will turn up.
We all live happily in the shade of this progress.


I think you misunderstand my concern. It’s not the timeliness but journey lengths that are the issue. Like you say, few people care about buses sticking to rigid timetables. But obviously we care about journey times.


Not necesssrily so - I have commented earlier on how much the average speed of travel in London has increased and decreased over the years without the 20 mph limit.
The introduction of this limit is almost inconsequential as most routes never get close to that speed and have never done so.


As predicted:


Sorry. Was the 20mph speed limit introduced to regulate buses and their timetables? I missed that.

As for buses and their fumes you should check out Mayor Khan’s new London Plan. Some great stuff in there.


You may have missed this post:


GIve it 10 Years and driving will be in the same league as Smoking and plastic straws, private car ownership as it is, is not sustainable


As London’s population rises - seemingly inevitably - from 8M to 10M, something has to give, for sure. Feels like congestion is getting exponentially worse.

The calamitous response of our council is to a) slow traffic down and b) narrow our congested roads.

I’m sure it all makes sense to those who view the situation as an ideological battleground between different modes of transport.


This sure is a soapbox issue to you isn’t it? I would counter that the only person who is ideologically obsessed on this is your good self.

Buses being limited to 20mph is a great idea as this will help keep general traffic speed down to a reasonable level. You will not be breathing so many fumes as these progressively become hybrid/electric and there are already some stop start types on the P4 route for instance (much nicer as a passenger too).

In terms of journey speed, this is much more about traffic flow than maximum speed of individuals. This is the sort of thing that is taught in foundation courses at Maths degree level (as of 30+ years ago in my case but probably at school now I imagine). But we have already been round this buoy and it doesn’t suit your conclusion so on we go.


I’m trying to avoid this being a personal dispute and I’d appreciate you doing the same, @Brett

Doesn’t that depend on one’s definition of “reasonable” speed?

I’m familiar with queueing effects. I’ve seen no convincing scientific evidence that artificially restricting drivers to 20mph improves traffic flow in Lewisham.

On the subject of queuing effects - how do you think speed humps, chicanes and other unpleasant road clutter might contribute to queuing effects? These are all being advocated alongside the 20mph signage.


To be fair Chris, that did not seem overly personal - your opposition to the limit is, not exclusively but quite clearly, ideological. And if you counted up, there are around 360 posts on this thread, I wonder how many of them are yours, and how many of those complain over and over again that the policy is unpopular, and ideological? You’ve made your point, but of course great social changes have come from ideology, some you’ll agree with some you won’t. The 20mph limits are a very popular social policy, as evidenced in this thread many times, and Lewisham people voted heavily for the candidates that promised to introduce them.

I do not criticise you in saying this - as one large scale study of attitudes found: -

˜there is a possible ideological opposition to 20mph with 30% of all drivers agreeing that *20mph is an example of the nanny state, but rather tellingly 65% of opponents of 20mph limits think this (over four times as many as supporters)’


If you read my posts you’ll see my concerns are mostly practical concerns, not ideological concerns. But in any case this shouldn’t be a personal dispute, so let’s stop making it one.


I had an experience whereby an entire community complained about the speed limits on two main roads. So a reduced speed limit was introduced and monitoring carried out to assess the speed of cars using said roads.
The results interestingly revealed that 85% of cars exceeding the limit belonged to local residents the highest recording belonging to the Chair of the Parish council and the vicars wife!


Similarly we had the same a good few years ago with cars driving the wrong way down Manor Mount. Complained and the police turned up. Most caught lived on Manor Mount. It seems people do sh*t on their own doorsteps.

Back to the 20 mph limits. It seems a lot like them, a lot dont, a lot feel safer with them but quite a lot dont because of pressure from those who want to go faster than 20mph. The police are not interested unless it’s an accident hotspot. So, I would surmise, it has been a well rounded and thought out scheme.



Interesting nugget, spotted on another local forum:


so what is the evidence to justify your spreading of this rumour? it sounds unlikely, but serious if it were true.


Not quite “legislation”. LA’s have powers to implement Traffic Management Orders (TMO) and these must describe and authorise specific restrictions or rules…

It is a simple matter to write to the relevant local authority and ask for data such as evidence of the TMO having been processed and on what date.

In a borough wide scheme it may require several TMO’s to be in place.

It is one of the standard techniques promoted by firms who represent drivers with speeding charges.

The absence of a corresponding TMO means that any restriction is not valid.