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Plans to make 20mph the new 30mph in Oxfordshire

on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 3:24pm

Ambition: to create a safer place and a safer pace

Communities could soon find it easier to make their streets safer and more pleasant by reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet will decide later this month [19 October] whether to endorse plans to make it simpler to lower speeds to 20mph as part of its aspiration to see limits lowered on most urban areas and village streets in places where it is suitable and supported by residents

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance, said: “It’s a hugely ambitious vision for Oxfordshire that can create a safer pace and a safer place. Making 20mph the new 30mph sits at the heart of all our active travel plans. Without this shift we'll never be able to persuade residents to make cycling and walking the natural first choice and reduce the dominance of vehicles in the hearts our towns and villages.

"I firmly believe this is an important step on the road to improving health and wellbeing. Combined with other measures it can create healthy, dynamic community spaces. There is huge local interest and desire to deliver 20mph within the county and the proposed policy and approach should make it easier and more cost effective to implement.

“We want the streets where people live, work, play and shop to benefit from this policy change with the aim to make Oxfordshire’s roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Last month, as part of the policy change work, 20mph limits were introduced in the south Oxfordshire village of Cuxham on a pilot basis, while four more pilot schemes are planned – in Long Wittenham, Wallingford Central, Wallingford North and Kirtlington – following consultations.

Although Oxfordshire County Council would be working alongside Thames Valley Police, there would be an emphasis on drivers adhering to the new limits through a change of mindset, rather than enforcement. It is hoped that as 20mph areas become more common, breaking the limit would become socially unacceptable for drivers.

There is a clear link between the speed of traffic and the likelihood of accidents happening in which people are killed or injured. You are seven times more likely to survive if you are hit by a car driving at 20mph than if you are hit at 30mph.

If the proposals are approved, a countywide survey of parish councils will be carried out to understand the potential level of interest.

The authority is committed to working with key stakeholders including bus, taxi, and haulage companies, as well as major businesses, throughout the process.

More information, including details about how towns, parishes and villages can register an interest in bringing in 20mph limits, are available on Oxfordshire County Council’s website <here>.

From an OCC press release received 13/10/21.