Should the UK follow Berlin's 20mph tactics?

 

Transport Network is much obliged to John Lee, BSc CEng MICE MCIHT, for this letter on what the UK can learn from the German capital, Berlin, on road safety.

Mr Lee has previously worked for Transport for London (2001-until 2012) in the cycling team, leading on infrastructure, design guidance and infrastructure research.

”Local

 

Dear Transport Network,

Why not put a temporary 20mph speed limit on bumpy roads? A recent trip to Berlin showed this happens there where winter frost damage had caused deformation and surface defects on their roads. Even a wide out-of-town main road like the A4 had a 20mph limit, and motorists were sticking to 20!

This practice no doubt reduces collisions, damaged vehicle suspensions, and saves the highway authority from financial claims.

Elsewhere in Berlin there are numerous 20mph limits and some 10mph local roads. Speed cameras are hidden. Slow speeds in the city are encouraged by the give-way to the right law (our give-way to left) at minor road junctions, which meant that traffic slowed to a crawl ready to give-way if necessary. White-line markings at junctions are notably absent.

In addition the law for motorists to give-way to pedestrians and cyclists when turning into side-roads further slows motorists at junctions and so facilitates the movement of pedestrians and cyclists on cycle tracks.

German motorists may go fast outside urban areas, but within them there is a change in mindset. The benefits to cyclists and pedestrians of the lower speeds and changed priorities are substantial, with cycling levels way above that in London.

Yours sincerely

John Lee

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