Vehicle speeds in York – Comprehensive stats released by police

The North Yorkshire Police have published updated statistics which reveal the speed of vehicles using roads in York. The figures have been derived from automatic equipment which has been deployed over the last 4 years. Usually the sites for the equipment have been selected following complaints raised by members of the public.

The stats are separate from those collected by the speed camera vans which are sometimes deployed in the area. The request for the data was partly prompted by a concern that the speed vans weren’t concentrating their time on roads with poor accident records.

250 roads have been checked in the York area during the last 4 years.

Information covering the results for the whole of North Yorkshire can be downloaded by clicking this link

The information for the monitoring equipment was routinely reported to a York Council meeting until 2015.  The process was centralised in North Yorkshire thereafter and largely fell out of the public gaze.

The published information shows the mean speed and the 85%tile speed recorded on each road. The latter figure is the speed that 85% of vehicles drive within. It is most commonly used by professionals to decide whether a road has a speeding problem. (Vehicles exceeding that limit could include emergency vehicles)

The stats also record the number of accidents – where speed is an issue – recorded on each road.

There are several conclusions which can be drawn from the data:

  1. A 30-mph speed limit is observed by most drivers using roads in the urban area
  2. 20 mph speed limits are not being observed although on those roads there have been no speed related accidents while mean speeds generally remain below 30 mph. The only monitored road with an 85% speed of less than a 20 mph limit was St Johns Walk
  3. The only roads where there have been speed related accidents, and where drivers were routinely exceeding the speed limit, were North Lane (Huntington), Jockey Lane (Huntington), Heworth Green, Intake Lane (Acaster Malbis) Osbaldwick link Road, York Road (Naburn) and Huntington Road (nr Cats Protection office). Accident prevention works have subsequently taken place at some of the these sites.
  4. Of the roads with speed issues in the York area, during the early autumn, the speed camera vans visited Millfield Lane (Poppleton), Strensall Road (Huntington), the Monks Cross link road,  Temple Lane (Copmanthorpe) and Tadcaster Road in Dringhouses. However, the vans  spent most of their time on the A64 and A59.

Overall the figures suggest that excessive speeding is not a problem on most monitored roads in the City.

Speed related accidents are also relatively low. In the City, since the beginning of 2017, there have been 5 serious injuries caused by speeding vehicles plus a further 13 accidents which were classified as “slight”.

The York Council would be wise to reintroduce a regular public monitor of the statistics and the action taken to reduce the possibility of accidents in the future.

They could usefully begin by reinstating the missing speed warning signs (VAS) on streets like Wetherby Road.

Speed camera vans in North Yorkshire generate £1.9 million in income

The annual report into the performance of North Yorkshires 12 speed camera vans has been published.

We have been critical of the Crime Commissioner in the past for failing to demonstrate a link between the deployment of the vans and a reduction in accident rates.

The latest report makes some attempt to do so.

Overall speed related accidents, resulting in death or serious injury, have fluctuated since 2010 when the first vans were deployed.

There were fewer serious accidents recorded  in 2017 that in 2016.

However, safer roads may result from several factors. Local Council proactively carry out engineering work at accident black-spots while passive measures, such as signs which flash a vehicles speed, can also have an effect.

So, we must look closer for evidence that the cameras are reducing speeds and accident levels.

The vans mostly concentrate on locations where there is a known speeding problem. This includes sites like Whitwell on the Hill on the A64 where 4686 violations were recorded during 2017.

We looked in vain for a trend over the years in both average recorded speeds, the percentage of drivers speeding and accident levels for this section of road.

There are, however, around 20 serious accidents on the A64 each year, so some speed monitoring is clearly justified.

We remain supportive of the deployment of mobile cameras. In addition to monitoring speeds they can now spot other infringements like mobile phone use and lack of a seat belt.

The ANPR facility allows professional criminals to be identified as they move into and around the county.

But we remain sceptical about whether 12 mobile cameras can be justified. They cost taxpayers a net £263,000 last year.

Yet many local roads like Wetherby Road and Green Lane in west York didn’t receive a single visit for a van last year. Anyone monitoring the flashing signs on these roads will see that around 10% of drivers are exceeding the speed limit.

In a residential area that is a potential safety risk which requires some attention

Major traffic changes planned for Thanet Road near Lidl

The Council is expected, at a meeting taking place on 22nd June, to sign off major highways changes near the Lidl store on Thanet Road.

The plans involve imposing a 20 mph speed limit enforced by speed tables and humps. Currently for most of the day vehicle speeds are around this level anyway, although the Council has not provided any measurements.

The northern bus lay by (near the rugby club) will be removed altogether meaning that stopping buses will block the highway. This is a busy bus stop and carriageway waiting will artificially create additional congestion and pollution as well as limiting sight lines.

(The Council’s original plan had bizarrely been to reduce the carriageway to a single lane by creating a “pinch point”. Thankfully this potty idea has been abandoned).

The Council has been criticised in the way they have sought to reduce accident levels in this area.

The Council report says, “10 collisions were identified between the roundabout at Foxwood Lane and the junction with St James Place. Four of these collisions had comminality with children either stepping out or running into the road in front of a vehicle. Two of these collisions were located outside the Lidl supermarket, with the other two located at different positions along the route”.

Unfortunately no further analysis of the individual accidents has been provided although the implication is that excessive vehicle speed was the cause.

The most obvious remedy, when pedestrians are involved in accidents on a carriageway, is to ensure that they cross the road at the safest location. This can be achieved by fitting guard rails (and is certainly the obvious way to address any concerns about children running out from the store access path).

There already is a Toucan crossing at the Kingsway end of the road while a pedestrian refuge is available at the other end.

The Council failed to consult properly on their revised plans resorting to lamppost notifications which were highly unlikely to be read by anyone, and certainly not by drivers. Strangely the Council doesn’t advertise proposed traffic orders of this type on their own web site.

If the scheme goes ahead as planned – without safety railings – we fear that it will make things worse rather than better. Drivers will become frustrated and will try to overtake stationary buses and other vehicles at points where traffic currently runs freely for most of the day.

Time for a last minute rethink perhaps?


20 mph speed limits flop – road accidents increasing in west York

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the York Council has published updated figures indicating the effect that the revised 20 mph speed limits have had on average vehicle speeds and accident levels.

The figures reveal that the new limits have had little or no effect on average vehicle speeds while some accident levels have actually risen.

The data updates that published in March 2015 which showed similar results.

The data covers the 20 mph wide area limit in western York implemented in 2013/14. The project cost £600,000 to implement and was widely criticised for failing to recognise that such limits were unenforceable and, in any event, would have a negligible effect on accident levels.

Opponents wanted the money spent directly on safety improvements at accident black spots.

On some 20 mph roads such as Alness Drive the maximum speed recorded this year has been as much as 68mph – well above levels seen before the speed limit change

Overall there has been a reduction of only 1.3 mph in mean speeds.
Accident levels in the area have increased from 62 recorded in 2012 to 78 in 2015

On a related issue, North Yorkshire police are to be asked to justify their decision to increase the number of mobile speed enforcement cameras vans to six.

The Police responded to an FOI inquiry indicting that they only held information relating to the total number of offences which had been recorded when a van visited a particular location. This information had been published on their web site for couple of years now.

The police also publish how they they are dealing with specific speeding complaints raised by members of the public (although there is a backlog). click here

However, it doesn’t provide a measure of how effective the vans have been in controlling vehicle speeds or in reducing the number of accidents on the roads being monitored.

The number of drivers exceeding the prevailing speed limit is only a crude reflection of the “success” of the cameras.  Changes in offender numbers may simply reflected changes in traffic volumes.

Against a background of increasing numbers of road casualty’s, residents need to be convinced that roads are now safer as a result of police investment.

A further request for the information is now being drafted.

Comparative vehciels speeds in west York pre and post 20 mph limits

Comparative vehicle speeds in west York pre and post 20 mph limit change

Road accident trends in west York

Road accident trends in west York

Chicanes threat as Council ponders accident reduction options on Thanet Road


The Council is consulting local Councillors on plans for accident reduction initiatives in the area. By far the most controversial is likely to be a proposal to introduce a chicane on Thanet Road outside Lidl.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The initiative was prompted by the 11 accidents which have been recorded on the stretch of road between the Gale Lane junction and St James Place. Four of these were due to children running onto the highway. All of the accidents were recorded as “slight” (i.e. no major injuries)

While chicanes do slow traffic, they are unpopular as they lead to increased congestion.

We think that the installation of guard rails would be a better idea.

The Council is also considering removing the guard rails at the Cornlands Road/Gale Lane mini roundabout (to improve sight lines) and installing a traffic island at the Kingsway West/Tudor Road junction.

Details can be found by clicking here

Police urge bikers and drivers to keep safe

“We are getting towards the end of the motorbike season and for many bikers it’s been a great season – they have got lots of miles in and confidence is up.

Motorcycle crash

 Over the summer we have had a lower number of biker deaths than we have seen over recent years, which is great news. So it’s really sad to say that already this autumn we have seen four bikers die in road accidents in North Yorkshire.

If you are thinking about getting the leathers on and going out for the last few weekends of good light and good weather, please do take care. Read the road, slow down for junctions and be particularly careful on bends and when overtaking.   Also to keep safe assume that other road users haven’t seen you.

Insp Dave Barf of the Roads Policing Group said – ‘I want you to enjoy your driving and rides on the roads in North Yorkshire.  Most importantly I want you to go home at the end of your trips to enjoy your homes and families. Please treat the roads and other road users with the respect that you yourself would expect.’

‘Car drivers should make sure that they make good observation and take account of motorcycles.  Check your mirrors before altering position or turning.  Bikers keep an eye on the vehicles around you.  Expect the unexpected and don’t assume you’ve been seen”.’

30% increase in serious road traffic accidents in York

The numbers killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in York increased from 58 to 75 last year.

KSI figures to 2015

Figures obtained using Freedom of Information legislation reveal that accident rates in York increased significantly in 2014.

All types of road user were affected including pedestrians and cyclists.

The increase was the largest since the “95Alive” task group was set up 10 years ago to counter a peak in road causalities.

The increase is bound to reopen the debate about wide area 20 mph speed limits. One of the claimed objectives of that project – launched in 2013 – was to reduce accidents. Opponents warned that the consequences could be that police enforcement time was reduced at accident black spots and that the deterrent affect, of focusing lower speed limits at key sites like schools and shopping areas, would be lost.

It appears that these concerns were justified.

Up to 2011, the Council’s Executive member used to receive a regular public report on road traffic accidents. The reports included details of the type of accident and the location. Officials made recommendations about possible remedial works (road alignment, signage, speed enforcement etc) which might avoid accidents in the future. This approach was abandoned by the last Council when it fell under Labour control. 

It is time for a targeted approach to accident reduction – covering the activities of all agencies – to be reintroduced

Bad day for accidents on York roads

Serious collision at Fulford Road, York, woman dies in crash at Bishopthorpe

Emergency services are at the scene of a collision at Fulford Road, York, involving a car and a pedal cycle.


The cyclist, a woman in her 20s, has received serious injuries.

The road was closed for a short time but has now reopened.


Earlier a woman died in a village near York.

Officers were called at 11am to Drummond View, Bishopthorpe, where a car had crashed into a lamp post.

The driver, a woman, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say they are not yet in a position to name her.

Witnesses are asked to come forward by ringing police on 101, asking for the Force Control Room and quoting reference NYP-17022015-0117.