Speed limits and accident levels in York

The media are today reporting a move to extend the use of 20 mph speed limits in the City. In reality most residential roads already have such a limit. Some, including the 20 mph limit in The Groves part of the Guildhall ward, were introduced about 20 years ago.  

Most were introduced 5 years ago at a cost of £600,000. Their supporters claimed that this would result in a reduction in accident levels.

In reality the numbers killed or seriously injured on our roads has remained stable at about 60 per year.

Most of the accidents occur outside residential areas with many on roads with 60 or 70m mph limits. A lot of information is shared on the Councils “open data” pages. This includes the background to each accident and details the type of vehicles involved, driver characteristics etc.

Paradoxically, average speeds on some roads actually increased after 20 mph limits were introduced. The road covered by 20 mph limits can be downloaded from the Councils web site click

So should we be worried about accident levels in the City?

One of the disappointments of recent years has been the lack of attention given by Executive Councillors to road safety strategy. Too often reports have been tabled along with other issues which have restricted the time given to analysing trends.

 The York Councils famously limp “scrutiny” process barely touches on the subject of road safety.

Unless local leaders engage more positively in addressing issues then we can expect 60 people to be seriously injured on our roads each year for the foreseeable future.

….and changes to speed limits? Technology change means that it will be possible to automatically govern vehicle speeds shortly.  This would allow speed limits to be varied to meet prevailing road conditions.

If speed is an issue in causing accidents (it isn’t in most cases) then technology might provide a new solution.

Disappointing response to road safety concerns in west York

The Council will consider many requests for road safety improvements at a meeting taking place on 14th September.

In the Westfield area, 7 requests for changes to parking restrictions have been made by residents.

Only 2 are recommended for approval. They involve providing double yellow lines to protect the entrance to Lown Hill while double yellow lines on part of Beaconsfield Street will be removed.

Locations where officials are suggesting that no action be taken are;

Foxwood Lane/Bellhouse Way junction

  • Foxwood Lane/Bellhouse way junction (on street car parking causing sight line problems)
  • Cranfield Place (where parking is obstructing access to driveways)
  • Askham Lane/Vesper Drive (parking on verge causing sight line problems and verge damage – all properties in the area have off street parking space)
  • Morrell Court/Walker Drive (parking causing safety problems)

We think that the Council, needs to find a way of addressing some of these issues.

On Cranfield Place, there is Adequate off-street parking available to the rear of the Community centre

At the Foxwood Lane/Bellhouse Way junction there is room on the verge to provide a parking layby. This would take parked vehicles back from the junction.

Residents can attend the meeting and make representations in favour of, or in opposition to, any proposal.

Council set to put road humps on Thanet Road

The York Council announced last year they they were considering putting a chicane on Thanet Road.  The scheme was apparently aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian causalities near the Lidl supermarket and presumed that vehicle speeds were to blame for the problem.

Residents reacted strongly against the scheme claiming that a chicane would simply add to the congestion problems in the area

Now the Council have published a new plan which would see road humps installed in the area and a 20 mph speed limit imposed.

The road forms part of an important bus route which are normally excluded for 20 mph zones.

We think that much of the problem could be tackled by channeling pedestrians to an optimum location at which to cross the road. This might be done by using guard rails plus the installation of a pedestrian refuge.

We doubt that the new scheme represents value for money

Thanet Road proposed road humps Feb 2017

Thanet Road proposed road humps Feb 2017

Road Safety report reveals big increase in cyclist casualties in York

Still 4 school crossing patrol vacancies in City

Accident levels in the City started to increase in the wake of the ill judged wide area 20 mph speed limits introduced by the last Labour led administration in 2013. Comparing 2014 to 2015, total accidents involving a fatality or serious injuries was stable at around 74.

However serious accidents involving cyclists increased from 21 to 24. 

In 2015, of all casualties recorded in the City 30% were cyclists, (141 slight, 24 serious 0 fatal).

This is an increase in overall cycling casualties of 16% from the 2012 recorded figures.

This may be partly due to the significant rise in the number of people cycling for both transport and leisure, with monitoring showing an approximate 20 per cent increase in the volume of journeys undertaken by bicycle in York.


National statistics show that York has the third highest percentage of adults cycling once a month in England. The increase in people cycling is thought to be due to a combination of cycle infrastructure improvements, local promotion through i-Travel York and the Tour de France and subsequent Tour de Yorkshire.

The report also highlights the work of the Road Safety team in three areas, including, Road Safety Training, the School Crossing Patrol Service and Regional Safety Partnership work.

The report highlights the road traffic casualty statistics for the York area and the work that is being done to continue to ensure that York has the lowest levels (per 100,000 of population) in the Yorkshire and Humber region for people killed or seriously injured. Understanding the types of accident and where these accidents occur helps the council and partners to better target campaigns and other safety measures.

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

York police make report speeding concerns easier

You can put forward your concerns about speeding in your local area through the speed management protocol.
PC Andy Collinson, local Safer Neighbourhood Officer, showing a pupil from Colburn how to use the speed gun

York Police have issued the following advice,

“Please first consult the ’95 Alive’ Partnership pdf icon Speed Management Protocol [999kb] for York and North Yorkshire, which will provide you with all the information you need before you make a complaint about speeding in your community, or whether your complaint is better addressed somewhere else.

You can complete the online Speed Concern Report form, completing ALL required details.

Alternatively, you can download and print the word icon Speed Report Form [819kb].

Please provide a suitable email address – we will communicate with you by email when such an address is provided.

If you are aware of a road in York or North Yorkshire which you feel is hazardous (for example, you’ve had a near miss and you feel that the conditions of the road were a factor), you can report it via the Roadwise website“.

Free safety training for York primary school children

City of York Council is offering York primary school students’ free pedestrian safety training in partnership with the region wide 95 Alive campaign.

Green cross code“Between April and July 2015 nearly 800 children received this vital pedestrian training and over 300 children have already benefitted from training since the start of the new academic year.”

The pedestrian training is delivered by City of York Road Safety Instructors and teaches children aged from 7 – 9 how to be safer pedestrians. Road Safety Instructors take children out onto roads and show them how the right decision-making and behaviour can really help them to keep safe and is the start of life long learning about road safety.

During the training children are helped to recognise dangers and hazards and identify alternative crossing places, they are also taught about using different crossings correctly. Pupils are taught to use the Green Cross Code, with the key words being Stop Look and Listen. Children are also encouraged to wear something bright when crossing roads particularly on dark mornings and after school.

For more information on road safety visit www.itravelyork.info/journey-planning/road-safety-and-skills/

Cllr Ian Gillies, Executive Member for Transport and Planning, said: “Road safety training with school pupils is an important part of their learning. By teaching pupils to keep safe and negotiate risks on the roads it gives them essential skills that they will continue to use for years to come.

Global Road Safety Week: York joins national forum to raise profile of road safety

Road safety experts from City of York Council are joining fellow officers to raise the profile of road safety among children during Global Road Safety Week (GRSW) between 4-10 May.

Road safety kiss ground

Parents, teachers and other interested parties are being invited to submit questions for a series of online forums covering child road safety issues, which will be held on the Road Safety GB website during the weeklong event.

The four forums are free of charge and cover children as pedestrians, as cyclists, travelling in cars, and how to set up and run a Junior Road Safety Officer scheme, and will be held daily on Tuesday 5 to Friday 8 May inclusive, between 12 – 1pm.

Trish Hirst and Lynne Thomas, both road safety officers from City of York Council, will be joining the London Borough of Hackney Council for the first forum on Tuesday 5 May to discuss ‘children and cycling’.

Questions can be submitted in advance or during the forum itself, and the panel of road safety expert facilitators will answer in ‘real time’ during the forum.

Trish Hirst, Road Safety Manager at City of York Council, said: “York is one of the top cycling cities in the UK, so we are proud to take part in this national forum to offer advice on children cycling. In recent years we’ve seen a huge increase in young people cycling, which is fantastic, but it’s also just as important that we provide practical information and advice too. We hope this forum will help many people and we encourage everyone to tune in!”

Road safety professionals and other stakeholders are being encouraged to alert schools and other groups in their local areas, in order to give teachers, parents and others the opportunity to participate in the forums.

The forums are part of a comprehensive suite of initiatives here in the UK in support of GRSW 2015. Other initiatives include:

  • A series of child road safety resources – including activity sheets, maps and country profilers – which are available free to download.
  • A series of simple ‘how to’ guides to help educators and others teach basic road safety to children. The guides cover children as pedestrians, cyclists, travelling in cars and on public transport, and setting up a Junior Road Safety Officer scheme.
  • A database of road safety professionals with expertise with regard to child road safety, who are willing to provide advice and support to people in other parts of the world.

Find out more about road safety in York by visiting www.itravelyork.info .

The full online forum programme is as follows:

  • Tuesday 5 May – Children and cycling (featuring City of York Council officers)
  • Wednesday 6 May – Setting up and running a Junior Road Safety Officer scheme
  • Thursday 7 May – In-car safety for children
  • Friday 8 May – Children as pedestrians

Find out more at: www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/pages/roadsafetyweek/rsw-forums.html

York Council to spend £5.8 million on transport improvements over next 12 months

No ring road improvements scheduled. Little being spent on reducing congestion

The Councils transport investment programme has been published. As usual the devil will be in the detail and the programme could be scrapped if there are major changes in the make-up of the Council at the May 7th polls.

Bus Services

Around £775,000 is to be spent on improvements to bus services.  £250,000 of this will go on the delays Rougier Street bus shelter while £200,000 will address “pinch point improvements”. Once again sub-urban areas fare badly in the allocations (separately on the agenda for the same meeting a £20,000 plan to improve facilities in Rawcliffe is recommended for rejection)

Traffic congestion

Proposed extra lane for A19 pinch point

Proposed extra lane for A19 pinch point

£2 million is being spent easing the “pinch point” on the A19 near the Designer Outlet. Much less is being spent elsewhere in the £2.4 million budget although the modernisation of variable message boards – which have been increasingly unreliable – is welcome.

Cycling/Pedestrian schemes

£468,000 is being spent on a range of small schemes. The biggest is the provision of a cycle link at Scarborough Bridge. This is mostly being covered by central government grant.

Road Safety

Wetherby Road VAS

Wetherby Road VAS

This is only being allocated £450,000 in the programme which is still driven by Labour priorities.  School safety schemes, school crossing warning signs, “speed management” and the renewal of the vehicle activated signs (VAS), like those on Wetherby Road and Green Lane, will all get a boost.

Money is also asset aside to develop future improvements and to continue maintenance of the City Walls. The alleygating programme will also continue.

No expenditure on improvements to the northern by pass is expected over the next 12 months despite promises from the Labour Council leadership that this was now one of their priorities.