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Oxford's new 20mph speed limit is unenforceable
OXFORDSHIRE County Council has admitted new 20mph speed limits are not yet legally enforceable on some city roads — because insufficient signs have been put up.
Despite announcing in July the £300,000 scheme would begin on September 1, the council last night said that more than 150 repeater signs had yet to be fixed on to lampposts.
It means the new lower speed limits cannot yet be enforced in Morrell Avenue, East Oxford, and some roads in Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys.
However, County Hall refused to name the affected streets or say when the problem would be fixed.
Three years ago, a new 50mph speed limit on the Eastern Bypass was unenforceable because a sign had been missing for five months.
The limit was cut from 70mph to 50mph between Horspath Driftway and the Green Road roundabout after a crash in 2005 that killed three schoolboys and a 21-year-old student.
Colin Prickett, 58, a driving instructor from Headington, said: “This is typical, it’s the council all over. They do not think things through beforehand.
“They have not won the battle for hearts and minds, so people are not going to obey the limit, regardless of the signs.”
On the first day of the new scheme, our investigation found that 90 out of 105 vehicles (85 per cent) clocked on the Morrell Avenue cut-through from Headington to St Clement’s, were driving at more than 20mph.
The council claimed all terminal signs — which signify the beginning and end of speed limits — were in place, but some so-called repeater signs in between were missing.
Hugh Jaeger, Oxfordshire representative of the British Motorcyclists’ Federation, said: “This is disgraceful. This is like a lazy student asking their tutor for an extension so they can get their essay in on time.
“What do they expect the public to do when they can’t even finish the job for their own deadline?”
The chairman of Oxford Pedestrians’ Association, Paul Cullen, who fought a two-year campaign for reduced speed limits, said: “I’m surprised and disappointed.
“It isn’t a good omen for the start of this bold scheme.
“While there’s this half-hearted message, people will think they can carry on driving as they did before.
“This can only add to the confusion and it suggests the council isn’t behind the idea.”
Council spokesman Paul Smith said: “Our contractor is putting up signs in Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys. As such, this is a constantly ongoing and changing picture so there is no full list of streets to provide.
“Obviously, in areas where the 20mph repeater signs have yet to be erected, the limit is yet to officially fully come in to force.”
- Road safety officers will be out and about in Oxford over the next two days to inform residents about the 20mph limits.
Today, officers from the county council’s road safety team will be in London Road, Headington, from 10am to noon, near Barclays Bank.
They will then move on to Cowley centre from 1-3pm.
Tomorrow, they will be in Summertown between 10am and noon and outside Tesco at the Oxford Retail Park in Cowley from 1-2pm.
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