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Review recommends new road safety measures to complement Manchester's 20mph zones

An evaluation of the roll-out of 20mph zones in Manchester is to be considered by the City Council’s Executive on Wednesday 8 March.

The report recommends that additional measures to create safer roads across the city should be considered, while work is undertaken to better understand the full benefits of creating further 20mph zones.

20mph zones on more than 1,000 roads and 138 schools have been introduced in Manchester and, since 2014, an average speed reduction of 0.7mph has been recorded where the lower speed limit is in effect.  However, analysis shows that so far, the amount of accidents experienced in 20mph zones has not fallen as quickly as initially hoped.

The number of pedestrian casualties in road accidents across the whole of Manchester dropped by around a third from 2012-14 to 2014 -16, but in three areas where 20mph zones have been introduced, casualty figure dropped by
less – 23 per cent in Gorton, 16 per cent in Miles Platting and Newton Heath and 14 per cent in Moss Side and Fallowfield.

The number of cyclists hurt in accidents fell by more than 40 per cent across the city between 2012-14 and 2014-16, but reductions were lower in the 20mph zones studied – 16 per cent in Gorton, 12 per cent in Miles Platting and Newton Heath and 12 per cent in Moss Side and Fallowfield.

The report recommends that more work is required over a longer period of time, to accurately assess the benefits of 20mph zones.  While more evidence is gathered, the report recommends that a further £687,000 in grant funding which is currently available to the council for road safety purposes could be used to pay for alternative schemes, such as new traffic calming measures and pedestrian crossings, plus new measures to improve safety around the city’s schools.

Support for the development of further 20mph zones through community-led projects, such as Community Speedwatch groups, is also recommended in the report.

Executive Member for the Environment, Councillor Rosa Battle, said: “It’s great to know that the amount of pedestrians and cyclists involved in collisions has fallen considerably in the last two years in Manchester and we will continue to support 20mph zones, as part of our efforts to bring those numbers down even more.

"Now it’s important that we fully understand how effective these zones have been in terms of reducing accidents so far - and determine whether we can also invest in complementary road safety schemes, to further reduce accidents on the city’s roads.”