Cycle Campaigning Simplified No 5 – ’20’s Plenty’

I can't wait to hear the Conservative Party reason for eventually scrapping this idea

Before we get started, The Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club would like to make the following announcement:

IF YOU START A ‘20’s PLENTY’ CAMPAIGN IN YOUR AREA, FOR THE SWEET LOVE OF VICTORIA PENDLETON DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MAKE IT A CYCLING CAMPAIGN.

A little while ago, my local paper (Worthing Herald) launched an online poll as to whether we should have 20mph as the default in the town. I assume they were expecting ‘poor beleaguered motorists’ to be up in arms resulting in a juicy battle of words on the internet and the letters page. Their pages are usually choked like a peak time school run with moans about NCP as they control the parking in Worthing (so you would assume that high parking costs would be a good incentive to encourage walking and cycling but that’s another story).

Imagine everyone’s surprise when a majority voted in favour of such a scheme. As this would mean printing something positive, the story was dropped like a stone. However, the fact remained that people supported the idea of safer, more pleasant streets.

The principle of 20’s Plenty is simple; instead of having small 20mph zones outside schools, hospitals and shopping areas which are always ignored, make 20mph the default speed limit across a wider area with the exception of strategic or arterial roads which remain at 30 or 40.

The benefits are potentially numerous; reduced casualty rates, walking and cycling suddenly looking like better and safer options for getting around, school zones would be linked to the residential areas that children would be walking/cycling in from and as a result, people would be able to engage with their communities again increasing well being and stronger neighbourhoods.

Basically returning to how things used to be before the car took control.

Although another benefit is the potential reduction of  ‘rat running’ which bedevils many residential streets, The Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club thinks that this should eventually go further with the layout of such streets being changed with planting schemes and removal of street markings – in essence to return more pleasant streets back to their residents and physically keep people off the accellerator pedal. It’s not enough to say that a default 20mph limit negates the need for traffic calming. It would have a very positive effect on property prices if you needed another positive.

In the Netherlands, over 60% of residential roads are 30kph (18mph) making them much more pleasant for walking and cycling. Its been claimed that on average casualties have dropped by 70%. It must be stated at this point however, that changes to Dutch traffic laws ” require motorists to anticipate unsafe walking and cycling.” If a car-bike collision involves a child or a elderly person, “the motorist is usually judged to be entirely at fault.” “When a crash is caused by an illegal move by a cyclist or a pedestrian, the motorist is almost always judged to be partly at fault.” If you or your campaign group were to succeed in implementing that over here, you would have testicles or the female equivalent the size of Wiltshire and I would fight for a Bank Holiday to commemorate your valour.

In regard to my announcement at the beginning of this post, this is clearly a campaign that could benefit everyone except fans of ‘Top Gear’. Make sure that any 20’s Plenty campaign you instigate or get involved with remains totally separate from cycle campaigning. Many people still regard cycling as something weird people do involving funny clothing or even no clothing at all They have to be allowed to draw their own conclusions and reap their own benefits.

The reason I’m writing this in such an enthusiastic way is because Worthing Borough Council voted unanimously this week to get the 20mph ball rolling in our town. They have also changed a Traffic Regulation Order reducing the requirement for signage which reduces the potential project cost by a sizable margin (to roughly the same cost of running Cycling England for a year, I believe). Basically they’re making 20mph the default limit unless signed otherwise.

For further information please go to the 20’s Plenty for Us Website

To see what’s been happening in Worthing as a good campaigning example, their website is here.

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16 thoughts on “Cycle Campaigning Simplified No 5 – ’20’s Plenty’”

  1. Jim

    Lewes Green Party wish any organisation that can convince any local authority to put money where their mouth is and commit to such a zone, but more importantly police such a scheme. I have campaigned for many years now for both Lewes District and East Sussex County Councils to introduce a 20mph zone in a local community in Lewes. Living Streets wanted the whole Town of Lewes to have a blanket speed limit. ESCC have no intention of doing this, in fact of you look at their recent cost cutting review, they have eliminated their road safety budgetfor the next annual year (and probably beyond). There just wasn’t the commitment from the Tory car-centric East Sussex County Council. Good luck around Worthing. Matt Kent (Prospective Green Councilor for Lewes Bridge)

    1. The reason Worthing Borough Council have been so proactive (from all party councillors) is due to a number of reasons; the poll in the local press, the fact that unlike Lewes, Worthing is flat with an above average cycling rate and finally the realisation that by changing traffic regulation orders, not as many signs are required having a massive impact on overall project cost. There has also been a groundswell of petitions in support too.

      What’s strange is that Lewes has the political will and it has a beautiful town centre that could be improved further for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists. Lewes Council have to stick to ESCC like glue until they do get the budget. And get petitioning!!

  2. Here in Edinburgh the council is introducing a (near) city wide 20 mph speed limit next year, which will be great for all of us in the city. However, what really need is Strict liability Law, the UK is one of only five countries western Europe which does not have a law of strict liability, and while we are at it, here are a a few more manifesto suggestions 😉

    Good luck in getting your ’20′s Plenty’ zone, just don’t suggest the Ms Pendleton sticks to 20 mph while on a bicycle, not until after 2012 anyway. She can stay below 20 mph in Glasgow in 2014…

  3. Spot on. We Brits may regard cycling with suspicion but we are a great nation of walkers, and I do think any campaign for active travel has to start with walking because that’s where the votes are. Some of the best ‘cycling’ infrastructure we have in our area is dual use and while there are problems with dual use facilities the good ones can be really good. It does mean that as cyclists we have to be ambassadors for our mode of transport and do everything we can not to p*** off pedestrians (in fact not calling them ‘pedestrians’ but ‘people’ might be a good start…)

    1. Absolutely. We have to start from the simplest form of transport – our feet. Worthing has also recently reinstated cycling back on the promenade but our campaign group successfully argued that it should be shared use – the reasoning being that a marked narrow path doesn’t allow for slow family cycling, it would create more scope for conflict and is pointless when you consider that in many places the prom is wider than the main road next to it.

      Although there have been no problems so far (touch wood) it would only take one incident for there to be a call for a reinstatement of the cycling ban. This despite the fact that anti-social driving occurs every day in the town, somtimes with nasty consequences. For some reason we just accept this. I’m looking forward to seeing if people start seeing driving as a problem instead of a solution after 20mph is put in place. Anything that promotes debate about cycling and walking in Worthing we regard as a good thing and all we can do is our best which to me is cycling with responsibility, happiness and style.

  4. IF YOU START A ‘20’s PLENTY’ CAMPAIGN IN YOUR AREA, FOR THE SWEET LOVE OF VICTORIA PENDLETON DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MAKE IT A CYCLING CAMPAIGN.

    Absolutely not – that would be honest and the cycling lobby dont do honest.
    Still, I’m sure when you’ve got lots of 20 mph zones to criminalise ordinary motorists with in your desire to force us all to drive …
    …that’ll be really useful when they’re all completely unenforced by traffic calming or speed cameras because that would violate the Tory manifesto.
    Do you not think that the same politicians who give you 20 zones are not busy brewing an equal batch of contradictory lies for the motoring lobby?
    Fools. Rules without enforcement are useless.
    And how sinister it is to cloak your real agenda in this way – we all know you hate cars …be honest about it.
    You dont have to be Jeremy Clarkson to believe that doubling journey times will neither reduce pollution nor congestion.
    Unless by reducing congestion you mean making everything move so slow it’s technically impossible.
    But of course all the traffic will “evapourate” and there will be no problems with driver fatigue or increased pollution from running engines for longer.
    There will be a backlash against your new puritanism. Just wait and watch. If you have to lie to get your policies implemented …

    1. Why, thanks for your comment! sorry to see that Christmas cheer doesn’t seem to have infiltrated your neck of the woods 🙂

      Could you please qualify why the ‘cycling lobby doesn’t do honest’? I wrote that bit you quote because, to me, 20’s Plenty is not a cycling-specific issue. At all. It’s a road safety and community issue and should be lobbied as such.

      I drove to Gatwick Airport this morning to pick up my wife who had been visiting her sister in Aberdeen. On the weekend, I drove my two year old son to visit my parents so I certainly don’t hate cars – especially with a father that spent a life building parts for performance cars and motorcycles. Over the last weekend, like all weekends, I am a cyclist and a motorist and a pedestrian. It would be easier if I did hate cars for a troll like you though wouldn’t it? Trolls like polarised views because it allows them to apply their Jeremy-Vine-Show-Inspired-Wetherspoons-Pub-Bore views more easily.

      I have been to the Netherlands and seen 20mph work perfectly (in fact, its 18mph, or 30kph!!). I would certainly agree that more needs to be done other than just putting up signs, just as the Dutch did by cutting off rat runs, forcing traffic out to the main routes and creating through routes for bicycles and pedestrians. Funnily enough, their 30kph roads aren’t strewn with burnt out engines from cars that died at low speed, nor are they failing to meet their pollution targets like the UK is. It works, it is proved to work (they have a better road safety record than us) and even they would acknowledge that cultural change does not happen overnight. They just waited, watched and continually improved.

      And I quite like Jeremy Clarkson. You should read the article recently in the Sunday Times he wrote on how our cities should be more like Copenhagen. And do go for a bike ride. It might cheer you up, especially for Christmas.

      1. I note that it is ‘part financed by the ETA’. They also do Holiday insurance. Therefore it’s also a holiday campaign. They also do motor breakdown cover. Therefore it’s also a motor campaign.

        Troll.

      2. Jolly good. Now you can answer the points in my original reply as opposed to confusing me with Rod King. Troll.

      3. It’s not that my views are polarised so much as when u say you’re only going to add 30 seconds on my journey time I dont think anyone else’s life is worth 30 seconds of mine.

        Arent the Netherlands slightly flatter with a different population density spread…?

        We’ve known cars are potentially leathal for 120 years. Why should I suddenly care more about it now? Empirical evidence it works is scant and I think the hundreds of thousands wasted on changing signage would be better spent on actually enforing existing limits. Further the law is virtually unenforcable. Drivers dont slow dont because nice people tell them to. The only things that make drivers slow are humps and penalty points. Divorcing speed limits from enforcement is bonkers

      4. Also I would point out the very title of the article is “Cycling Campaigning number 5 – Twenty’s Plenty”. It then goes on ro say if yo start a twenty’s plenty campaign … Do not make it a cycling campaign. It is you who has connected the two. The point of twenty is plenty is to socially engineer drivers off the road by giving bikes dominance. Then thinking is take away one of the advantages of the car – speed – and we’ll all stop using them. But if you have no other choice you cannot be socially engineered out your car in this way. If you can have a TWENTY is plenry for US campaign, I can have a TWENTY is tedious campaign – because it is.

      5. Your points in turn:

        ‘It’s not that my views are polarised so much as when u say you’re only going to add 30 seconds on my journey time I dont think anyone else’s life is worth 30 seconds of mine.’ A horrid statement, and what’s there to say you lose any time.

        Arent the Netherlands slightly flatter with a different population density spread…? A stupid statement. Road safety and infrastructure should be good whatever the topography.

        We’ve known cars are potentially leathal for 120 years. Why should I suddenly care more about it now? Empirical evidence it works is scant and I think the hundreds of thousands wasted on changing signage would be better spent on actually enforing existing limits. Further the law is virtually unenforcable. Drivers dont slow dont because nice people tell them to. The only things that make drivers slow are humps and penalty points. Divorcing speed limits from enforcement is bonkers
        The Netherlands is living breathing proof that it works which is why this country is so Hell bent on ignoring it. In some home zones, their speed limit is ‘walking pace’. Go and get mad about that. I do think however that rat runs need to be closed off as well, just as the Dutch did.

        Also I would point out the very title of the article is “Cycling Campaigning number 5 – Twenty’s Plenty”. It then goes on ro say if yo start a twenty’s plenty campaign … Do not make it a cycling campaign. It is you who has connected the two.
        Erm…no. You are trying to connect the two in another desperate attempt to polarise views again. I’m trying to keep them separate as it would of course be beneficial for any local cycle campaign to support it but they would be ignoring the fact that many others in the community would support it too from parents to mobility scooter users to elderly groups or in fact anyone who gives a toss about their local community. It is a road safety issue that also benefits everyone. A cycling specific campaign is not the way to address this.

        The point of twenty is plenty is to socially engineer drivers off the road by giving bikes dominance.
        I had to laugh when you wrote this. You write about social engineering motorists of the road whilst forgetting that for years we have had social engineering to get people into their cars. It simply isn’t sustainable, particularly in urban areas and the Dutch worked this out decades ago. They worked about that the car has it’s place but the people come first. In Britain the people have their place but the car comes first. Funnily enough, the Dutch don’t have our road rage or obesity problems either. And it’s still nice to drive there.

        If you can have a TWENTY is plenry for US campaign, I can have a TWENTY is tedious campaign – because it is.
        Maybe it is and there’s nothing to stop you. You’ll just look like yet another motoring troll, but carry on. I don’t know why you think I speak for ’20’s Plenty for Us’ as I don’t even campaign for them. I’m just writing about what I’ve seen.

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