City of London 20mph Speed Limit

On 20th July 2014, a blanket speed limit of 20mph was introduced in the City of London:

20mph City of London Limit

20mph City of London Limit

Why did they decide to do that? It was apparently part of their “Road Danger Reduction Plan“. And yet, reading that, it’s not speed that’s the issue with the highest at-risk groups of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.


  • “… 84% of casualties are involved in collisions at intersections or junctions. This is in line with the Greater London average.
  • Collisions are more likely to occur in the middle of junctions rather than on their approaches.
  • Failure to see a cyclist appears to be a significant causal factor.
  • The main contributory factors identified in cyclist casualties are “turning right”, “changing lanes”, “opening vehicle doors” and “undertaking of large vehicles turning left across cyclists path”. The last factor being the most significant in KSI casualties.”

Uh-huh. So speed isn’t really at issue at all here and indeed it looks like the main issue is cyclists with a deathwish undertaking – no pun intended – large vehicles.

Motorcyclists and Scooterists:

“…As 72 per cent of motorcyclists were injured due to the actions of other road users, a significant reduction in motorcyclist casualties will only be achieved by addressing the behaviour of other road users, particularly car, taxi, and goods vehicle drivers and by increasing motorcyclists’ awareness of other road users. The most common causes of a motorcyclist being injured are pedestrian lack of attention, motor vehicles turning right across their path, and vehicles U turning.”

I see. So the trouble here is pedestrians and vehicles doing right and U turns, neither of which are speed-related.


“Goods vehicles, coaches and buses are disproportionately involved in collisions….

“Pedestrian inattention” has been identified as the main contributory factor for pedestrian casualties.”

Interestingly, it also notes that there are clusters of casualties around the stations where “the City experiences considerable over-crowding of footways, particularly at peak times, with pedestrians stepping onto the carriageway.” So it appears that people stepping off the overcrowded pavements into the path of slower-moving vehicles is the risk here, again rather than speeding. Perhaps investment/improvement into the pedestrian walkways is the key here?

According to the London Evening Standard:

Michael Welbank, speaking on behalf of City of London council, said: “For the City of London to continue its success as an international business hub it is critical that its streets should be safe for all who use them be they commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, motorcyclists, shoppers or cultural wanderers and dreamers.”

So maybe infrastructure investment might be a better idea, along with enforcement of other legislation and education of pedestrians and cyclists? Or why not simply reintroduce the Locomotive Act 1875, although this would mean fewer speeding fines and less “Being Seen To Be Doing Something”:

"Red Flag" Act

“Red Flag” Act

Robin Hood, Or What Is “Fair”?

So we had a new Budget with the Chancellor, Gideon, heralding things that won’t happen for another year in the hope that we will assume he means April 2012 when he refers to “next April” when in fact it’s April 2013.

But apart from that, the Government continue to bang on about everyone paying their fair share in taxes, unless you’re Simon Hughes MP, in which case it’s a “fare share“…

This latest statement by Simon Hughes MP is headlined “Budget makes sure the richest pay their fare share – Simon Hughes MP” but then goes on to fanfare that:

“…hundreds of thousands of South Londoners on low and middle incomes given a tax cut, paid for by raising the burden of tax on the wealthy.”

“Liberal Democrats have made sure that this government has done what Labour never did – make sure the richest pay their fair share … despite a cut in the top income tax rate to 45p next year the richest will pay five times the amount in taxes they do today.”

Oh I see! So that’s fair is it?

And where does this magical “five times the amount” come from? I haven’t seen that calculation shown anywhere, or is it just another case of “lies, damned lies and statistics”?

What’s wrong with a proportional tax system whereby everyone pays the same tax in percentage terms? Does a “rich” person use more of what the Government provides from taxes by way of health and welfare than a lower paid person? I’d wager not; probably the opposite with private healthcare being a likely perk. Education? Surely the “rich” are more likely to pay for Quentin and Letitia to go be educated privately too. Local services are paid through Council Tax which increases with property size so the better off are already paying more for local services that way.

If you are going to look at taxation based upon affordability, why not own up and call it that?

For the record, I’m not rich by any means and by a quirk of the tax system which appears bewilderingly complex and confusing, HMRC has already decided that I somehow paid less tax through PAYE then I should have last year – HMRC helpfully provided my tax code which calculated the “incorrect” deductions – and taking that and the tax rules into account, for 2012/2013 I will have a negative code, i.e. I will pay tax on more than I actually earn.

Which is “fair”, if you happen to be a Liberal Democrat politician, obviously. Or a Conservative. Tricky to tell them apart…