Hitchin councillors push for town-wide 20mph zones

Councillors are calling for 20mph zones

Councillors are calling for 20mph zones - Credit: Archant

COUNCILLORS are continuing their push for a town-wide 20mph speed limit, ahead of a special meeting today (Thursday).

Cross-party Hitchin councillors want to introduce the limit across the town, having previously voiced their support at area committee meetings.

Herts County Council’s overview and scrutiny committee are meeting now (Thursday) to discuss the provision and implementation of such zones.

It comes after months of pressure from Hitchin councillors to take action.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday), Cllr Lisa Courts, who has long campaigned for such roads, said: “I want to see it town-wide. It makes cyclists feel safer, walkers feel safer, and people aren’t in and out of speed zones.

“It’s cheaper to implement it as town wide, rather than individual roads.

“If Liverpool can do it and Birmingham can do it, why can’t we do it?”

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Cllr Deborah Segalini also called for something to be done.

She said: “All political parties agree on this, yet we have seen nothing done.

“If we wait any longer, someone will get run over and die.

“There are no costs involved other than new signs.”

Figures released by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reveals 95 per cent of pedestrians survive if hit by a car at 20mph, compared to 55 per cent at 30mph. Just 15 per cent survive at speeds of 40mph.

Charity Headways, which helps people with head injuries, including those sustained in road collisions, welcomed the possibility of such zones.

CEO of the Herts branch Julia Ajayi said: “Any measures to reduce road accidents would mean that the incidents of brain injury would be reduced. We would welcome this measure.”

A report prepared ahead of the meeting says that roads currently considered for a limit should have existing speeds of around 24mph or below.

But it also refers to a scheme in St Albans, where around 50 roads are being trialled with the limit. Speeds on some of those roads averaged more than 25mph.

Currently, county council guidelines differ from the Department for Transport’s guidance, which was updated this year.

The authority will look at whether to bring those in line with the DfT.

For the outcome of the meeting, see next week’s Comet.

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