A FOUR-YEAR trial to introduce 20mph zones outside four borough schools has shockingly been axed – because motorists were ignoring the new speed limit.
The trials – which took place at Hatchford Brook, Daylesford Infant, Balsall Common Primary and Windy Arbor Junior schools – saw motorists reduce their speed by an average of just one or two miles per hour.
This flouting of the restrictions was recorded by strips laid out across the respective roads, which revealed the new limits had been completely ineffective.
But instead of clamping down on those breaking the law Solihull Council has decided to scrap the unsuccessful scheme at the trial schools.
And the decision has been slammed by worried parents.
“It is beyond me why every school hasn’t been insisting on 20mph limits – it’s a no-brainer,” said one angry parent who asked not to be named.
“And then for the entire idea to be scrapped – because people were speeding – is preposterous and is playing with children’s lives.”
A spokesperson for the Council said that while the current trial had resulted in the abolition of these specific 20mph zones, there were 166 roads across the borough – mostly outside schools – where there were permanent 20mph limits in place.
The main locations of these are in central Solihull, Hampton in Arden, Olton, Smiths Wood and Kingshurst.
Once the Council creates the new mandatory, not advisory limits, invigilation of them becomes an issue for the police, who then rely on communities and neighbourhood policing to alert them to any speeding issues and then step in to take action.
The decision to discontinue the current trial comes at the same time the Council is re-introducing speed cameras to parts of the borough and Birmingham.
The average speed cameras will be used to target motorists breaking the limit in built-up areas and areas where ‘safety is a concern’.
Yet, they are not being introduced outside the schools where nearly all motorists flouted the 20mph limits.
A report published by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), based on a UK study of accidents, found that at 20mph there was a 2.5 per cent chance of being fatally injured, compared to a 20 per cent chance at 30mph.
Councillor Ted Richards, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, said: “Improving road safety remains a priority for Solihull.
“In the future this type of solution will by no means be discounted from consideration as part of the range of traffic calming measures which we can and do employ.
“I would remind all motorists to take extra care when travelling along streets that are close to nurseries, schools and colleges and in a similar vein to desist from inconsiderate and illegal parking outside of school gates.”
Coun Max McLoughlin (Green/Shirley South), who, alongside fellow Green councillor Andy Hodgson is calling for the 20mph limit to be rolled out across the borough, said: “I know the council can’t control the way people drive, but they can control the speed limit – and the way that it is signed.
“Both of those things are shown to reduce road speeds and improve safety, so why aren’t we doing it?
“I understand the council is trying to save money, but its first responsibility is to save lives.”
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