CAMDEN Council has been banging on for yonks about making the borough (or the streets it manages at least) a flat 20 miles per hour zone and this hearts-in-the-right-place policy was finally approved by senior councillors at the last cabinet meeting. Good luck to them. Slower speeds clearly have their benefits. The council’s stats show a big leap in danger as the speed limits go up, and nobody needs to get the shops quicker for the cost of somebody else getting a broken leg. Or worse.
In their neighbourly game of one-upmanship Camden Labour hate admitting when Islington Labour council does something which looks good first, but Islington did do it first. At the end of 2011. So maybe it’s Islington where we should look to see how it might work.
Here you’ll find that before starting his scoop-laden career at the Manchester Evening News journalist Tom Brooks-Pollock brought in a little investigation for the Islington Tribune in which he showed that while the roads might be set to 20 miles per hours, nobody was going to chase down anybody who dared driving between 20 and 30. The police had to remind confused residents that the 20 mile per hour roads was only self-policing.
“ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) policy is that we should not routinely afford it, ” said one local sergeant in emails uncovered by Tom.
Camden has already said that it recognises police resources are stretched and does not expect them to collar motorists speeding above 20 miles per hour. So slower speeds clearly have their benefits, but whether the council gets them might be another question.
A little anecdote to keep it mind: A friend of mine, you probably know him too but we’ll spare his blushes and keep his identity secret, recently was ordered to attend a speed awareness course recently after narrowly knocking over the 20 mph limit on Tower Bridge. It was way past bedtime, nobody was around and so he lit up the road by doing a massive 22 or 23 miles per hour, probably trying to impress a girl. He got stung by a camera.
So there is a way of catching drivers who go rock n roll up to 21, 22, 23 miles per hour.
You just need to install a hell of a lot of cameras – you’d probably get the money back in fines – but a hell of a lot of cameras nevertheless.