A SUCCESSFUL scheme aimed at halting speeding motorists has been rolled out onto more roads.
Council chiefs have joined forces with police, fire and rescue plus NHS chiefs to unveil a ground-breaking £1.5m policy for the borough’s residential Streets first revealed by town hall leader Lord Smith last summer.
Previously the ‘20’s Plenty’ programme restricting motorists to 20mph to boost road safety was for areas outside school entrance gates only.
Wigan’s public leaders this week jointly signed a pledge to introduce the new speed restriction across residential roads in the borough.
The majority of residential streets within the borough are to be included within the 20mph speed limit areas which should be completed by 2015. Experts highlight new evidence to suggest that a carefully implemented 20mph speed limit contributes to improvements in road safety – and it will be introduced consistently to make driving at 20mph in these areas the norm.
A pedestrian struck by a vehicle at 20mph is only likely to suffer slight injuries, but if the car is travelling at 30mph they would be severely hurt, while at 40mph and above they are likely to be killed.
Highways which don’t qualify for the 20mph restriction are those that form the borough’s Strategic Road Network (mainly A and B classified roads) due to the speed and composition of traffic using them.
Once introduced, the 20mph speed limit will be fully enforceable by police, although compliance, rather than prosecution, is the long term aim along with an attempt to change driver’s attitudes and behaviour when travelling along residential streets.
The council is also now looking to develop Community Speed Watch schemes in support of them, where residents will monitor speed limit supported by police.
New 20mph residential zones will be marked with 20 MPH signs – with small repeater signs place at regular intervals to remind them.
Coun David Molyneux said: “We have worked hard with our partners to continually bring down the number of fatalities on our roads, but eight lives were lost in 2011 alone due to road traffic incidents.
“And that is eight too many.
“This scheme will improve road safety and reduce the number of people being killed or seriously injured.”
While the total annual value of prevention of all road accidents across the borough is estimated at an astonishing £36m.”
The speed limit is legally enforceable by GMP, though compliance rather than prosecution is one of the long term aims of the plan.
Residents are encouraged to sign up to the pledge to support safe driving at or below 20mph on residential streets via the web page www.wigan.gov.uk/20mph.
Residents are assured by highways officers that there won’t be any disruption while travelling, and no road humps will be constructed – just road signs alerting drivers when entering a 20mph area.