Strange then that today's government announcement on climate change (which hardly mentions cycling at all), headlines with the news that central government will be allocating extra money for greener street lighting for councils. Ummm, errr, wait a minute, the government is leading by providing councils money, is that not exactly what the government has told us it can't do for cycle infrastructure?!?
Anyway, I digress.
I live in East Dunbartonshire, and here we are lucky to have an excellent cycle safety campaigner. No, not me! Mark Kiehlmann has set up and runs EDs Cycle Co-op. As part of his campaigning he has been putting pressure on East Dunbartonshire (ED) to invest a small amount of money making Bishopbriggs ( a reasonable sized town) a 20mph zone. After lots of hard campaigning and lobbying ED decided that instead of implementing a pilot scheme, they would spend some money consulting on the setting up of a pilot scheme. The consultation was supposed to take 3 months.
Over a year later nothing had been heard about the consultation, so Mark pushed for information. Today he has heard back.
East Dunbartonshire will not be a 20mph zone.
The summary of the consultation (It can be found here, page 219 onwards) suggests:
The information from schemes (Edinburgh and Portsmouth) in other authorities is inconclusive and does not suggest that there would be a significant reduction in speed, nor any significant modal shift and that Strathclyde Police would not support any scheme which is not self-enforcing.Funny then that there were actually significant reductions in speed detected in Portsmouth, and that initial reaction to the scheme in Edinburgh has been very positive. Also funny that the police suggestions in the report that 20mph zones are not enforceable is not true.
However, the report fails to take into account the most important aspect of the consultation. Local opinion.
73% wanted further 20mph zones in all residential streets or more widely or just in priority residential streets.
South Edinburgh 20mph pilot indicates an increase in public support for the new speed limit a year after implementation, rising from 68% to 79%
The whole point about 20mph zones is that they make the streets feel safer, and that is exactly why residents want it applied. They want their streets to feel safer so that the feel safer walking and cycling. Something that the council has completely ignored.
But how does this relate to the latest CAPS?
As I mentioned earlier on, CAPS suggests that councils should develop these 20mph zones. This experience in Bishopbriggs suggests that even when the evidence is overwhelming for 20mph zones, and it is if they bothered to actually look, and even when the majority of local residents support the scheme, councils will still not impliment it.
So I've come back full circle to my criticism of CAPS. It passes the buck, and it passes the buck to councils too weak minded to take the necessary steps to make their streets safer for the people who live in that area.
So with the government passing the buck, ignoring the shocking casualty statistics, focusing on building more roads and no more cycle infrastructure, and some councils not willing to make the roads safer when they have a chance, we are effectively back at square 1.
Welcome to our new modern Scotland.