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20 mph speed limit not for Bikes

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Zoe
Friday 25 July 2014 7.16am
I think they serve to remind people they are in a twenty zone, but you are right, they don't stop those who want to speed. I regularly drive into a street at thirty and wonder why the person ahead is going so slow and then realise it's a twenty zone. Often the sign is at one end and if you haven't come that way you don't realise (Abbey Street is a good example of this).

The design of the bump really matters. The best one is the raised table on The Cut, if you don't go at twenty you scrape the bottom of your car. Everyone slows down for that.
Friday 25 July 2014 7.45am
Hi Zoe

Not everyone slows down. When larger vehicles hit the raised table at speed my flat shakes! I have contacted both Lambeth and Southwark councils and no one wants to take responsibility for the raised table and the implications of it.
Friday 25 July 2014 9.00am
'Southwark Council has admitted that it does not have the power to impose a 20 mph speed limit on cyclists in the borough.' And the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 certainly makes it clear that speed limits can only apply to 'the driving of motor vehicles' - but that is surely a fault in the legislation that should be remedied?

The Road Traffic Act 1988 says that 'a person driving or propelling a vehicle' must obey ALL traffic signs - presumably they've left out a phrase that says you can ignore speed limit signs if you're 'propelling' your vehicle. So which are the traffic signs that cyclists MUST obey and which ones are they allowed to ignore?

The question of cyclists' speed may be largely a moot one, in spite of Jerry's experiences on Grange Road. According to one website, the Tour de France peleton cruises at around 25-28 mph (and spectators will know just how terrifying that looks). The average fit cyclist, we're told, may get up to 17/18 mph at best. The average cycling speed in Copenhagen, a famously cycle-friendly city, is 9.6 mph.

Clearly anyone cycling at Tour de France speeds in London's narrow and traffic-clogged streets is mad and a danger to everyone, and Southwark Council should test the legislation to find a way of applying speed limits fairly. Perhaps the old offence of 'driving furiously' can be revived.

Jules62: 'Until horses, bicycles, skates and skateboards are required to be fitted with speedometers, they cannot be held liable to breaking the speed limit.' I don't think that would apply. Not having a speedometer would be no excuse - surely no motorist could get away with 'Sorry, officer, my speedo is broken, I didn't realise how fast I was going'? In any case, a look round any cycle shop would assure you that any enthusiastic 'sporty' cyclist probably has a gadget fitted on his bike that tells him not just how fast he's going, but what his heart rate is, how many pedal strokes a minute, calories burned and blood pressure, and where exactly he is by GPS.

By the way, I can assure eDWaRD W that speed bumps are uncomfortable on a bike whatever speed you're doing - they can actually be quite dangerous!
Friday 25 July 2014 9.13am
John C wrote:



Clearly anyone cycling at Tour de France speeds in London's narrow and traffic-clogged streets is mad and a danger to everyone,


They'd also be an extremely skilled bike-handler to be able to maintain that sort of speed while weaving in and out of traffic, dodging pot-holes and cars parked in cycle-lanes, pedestrians stepping out without looking etc. In fact I'd suggest they get an entry form for Paris-Roubaix!

Back to the point, it seems ludicrous that different laws can apply to different users of the same road, excepting things like advanced stop points and cycle lanes - if we're sharing the road, we should share the same rules regarding speed, giving way, etc.
Friday 25 July 2014 10.58am
There's a relevant and very interesting article on the subject in today's Guardian
Friday 25 July 2014 1.06pm
from Guy's street:
"Back to the point, it seems ludicrous that different laws can apply to different users of the same road, excepting things like advanced stop points and cycle lanes - if we're sharing the road, we should share the same rules regarding speed, giving way, etc."

With the greatest of respect I suggest this doesn't hold up.

Firstly: Different vehicles have different characteristics (mass, method of propulsion, accelleration, protection to the driver, visibility, pollution etc.) so it is quite appropriate to have different rules applying to different vehicles.

Secondly: it is quite clear the trend for bikes in the future is segregated cycle lanes in London. That might never be achieved, but thank heavens it is heading that way in my view. Pedestrians have their own netowrk called the pavements/ cars+ trucks + buses have their own netowrk called the main A roads/ and bikes need one too for safety and convenience if cycling is to grow to a mass medium of transport - somewhere you'd let your kids cycle to school.

Sharing roadspace nicely is all very well in theory but I think once you get the fast moving cars and big sightless trucks (driven by construction trade drivers - tired and poorly paid) it is a recipe for accidents injury and death that we wouldn't accept anywhere else.
Friday 25 July 2014 1.49pm
johnnytee wrote:
from Guy's street:
"Back to the point, it seems ludicrous that different laws can apply to different users of the same road, excepting things like advanced stop points and cycle lanes - if we're sharing the road, we should share the same rules regarding speed, giving way, etc."

With the greatest of respect I suggest this doesn't hold up.

Firstly: Different vehicles have different characteristics (mass, method of propulsion, accelleration, protection to the driver, visibility, pollution etc.) so it is quite appropriate to have different rules applying to different vehicles.

Secondly: it is quite clear the trend for bikes in the future is segregated cycle lanes in London. That might never be achieved, but thank heavens it is heading that way in my view. Pedestrians have their own netowrk called the pavements/ cars+ trucks + buses have their own netowrk called the main A roads/ and bikes need one too for safety and convenience if cycling is to grow to a mass medium of transport - somewhere you'd let your kids cycle to school.

Sharing roadspace nicely is all very well in theory but I think once you get the fast moving cars and big sightless trucks (driven by construction trade drivers - tired and poorly paid) it is a recipe for accidents injury and death that we wouldn't accept anywhere else.

I agree - I was really talking about speed limits (the original topic), where it is nonsensical to slow one vehicle and allow another to travel faster. You'd end up with more overtaking manouvres and therefore more potential for conflict/accidents.

The future should be segregated lanes, like you say if people on foot have their own space, so should people on bikes, and people in cars. However, until that is reality we all have to make do and share the space that is available as safely and sensibbly as possible.
Friday 25 July 2014 2.30pm
johnnytee wrote:
Firstly: Different vehicles have different characteristics (mass, method of propulsion, accelleration, protection to the driver, visibility, pollution etc.) so it is quite appropriate to have different rules applying to different vehicles.

None of which are reasons why a subset of vehicles shouldn't be forced to keep to the general speed limit.

The 20mph zoning is to protect pedestrians. It's about driver/rider reaction time and stopping distance.

...if you press it, they will come.
Friday 25 July 2014 2.47pm
Nah.

Bikes dont have speedos, cars do - a mechanical difference between vehicles that means it is not appropriate to enforce the speed limits for bikes.

Mass - A bike hitting you at 20mph will do some damage, but a car vastly more.

Accelleration - a car can reach 20mph in a few seconds, a bike will take a long time and/or an olympic athlete! So you're just wasting public resources applying the law to it.
Friday 25 July 2014 3.19pm
johnnytee wrote:
A bike hitting you at 20mph will do some damage, but a car vastly more.

Which is the reason why pedestrians want to be protected from both potential sources of injury.

...if you press it, they will come.
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