The Argus teamed up with Speedar Radarguns in Crowborough to find out how many of Brighton and Hove’s drivers would be adhering to the new 20mph speed limit imposed by the council yesterday – it wasn’t many.

Throughout the city, 95.77 per cent of the 142 vehicles were recorded speeding at four different locations – Upper Lewes Road, Edward Street, Cromwell Road and Palmeira Avenue.

Among the culprits were two cyclists, one who clocked 26mph on Edward Street and another on Upper Lewes Road who reached 21mph.

The new, city-wide speed limit has divided opinion among drivers, pedestrians and businesses, but one thing remains consistent – speeding.

Former council leader and Tory councillor Mary Mears is opposed to the sweeping changes, and thinks the current council has rushed the policy.

She said: “I think this is an absolute waste of time because to try and actually do 20mph in some places is very, very difficult.

“I agree with 20mph around schools because children are going about their business without much road safety awareness.

“The problem is, it’s only enforceable by the police, who have already said they haven’t got the money – the council have spent all this time and money on trying to cure congestion and pollution, but in all honesty, I think this is only going to make it worse.”

Covered signs

The council has also come in for criticism because not all of the 20mph signs around the city have been unveiled, many still with black tape covering the speed limit. The total cost of all three 20mph zones, to be introduced over the next three years, will be £1.5million.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Signs at entry points to the 20mph zone should all be uncovered by the end of Monday (April 8).

“The smaller repeater signs within zones should all be uncovered by the end of Wednesday.

“Most people will understand it takes time to uncover 1,000 signs – to do them all simultaneously would have entailed spending taxpayers’ money specially employing large numbers of staff.

“The purpose is not to prosecute people but to get them to drive more slowly to reduce accidents.”

It’s caused confusion among drivers with 20mph speed limits painted on the roads, but the signs covered up on the side of the road.

Gill Mitchell, Labour group leader, said: “I think the word is out now that it’s not going to be enforced, which really undermines the whole scheme.

“When I was involved in a similar sort of thing with the Central Brighton Parking Scheme changes, we had to get out in the early hours to ensure all the signs were uncovered by 8am – it’s obvious the council haven’t done that.”


A police spokesperson, who confirmed nobody would be liable to prosecution while the signs were still covered, said: “I understand the Local Authority is currently going through the process of uncovering all the signage advising of the new limit which will allow road users to understand that a new limit is in place.

“The concept of 20mph areas is that they are self enforcing.”

Despite nearly 96 per cent of drivers ignoring the new limits, chairman of the council’s transport committee Coun Ian Davey remained optimistic on the subject.

He said: “It is early days and it’s premature to be assessing the effectiveness of the new speed limits after just a few hours – particularly as the signs are only just being uncovered.

“However anecdotally it has been reported, including in The Argus on Monday, that drivers are already reducing their speed.

“This has to be good news as these changes are about reducing accidents and saving lives.”

The worst speeding culprits were taxi drivers, of which 100 per cent were recorded exceeding 20mph – an issue Streamline Taxis Brighton and Hove refused to comment upon.


“Whatever the limit, people will go over it by a certain amount," added Coun Davey. “If in a 30mph zone people tend to go 35-40mph, in a 20mph zone they’ll drive at 25-30mph and that’s still an improvement.

“Most importantly it should become safer and more enjoyable for cyclists no longer having to worry about sharing roads with speeding cars that can put them off balance when passing.

"It ought to dampen safety concerns and encourage more people to cycle more often, which has benefits all around.”

The council decided to pursue the policy following a “clear majority” of 55% in favour of the proposals at the public consultation stage between June and August 2012.

Road user Mary Mears added: “It’s only enforceable by the police – the police don’t have the money – what is the point?

“I think it’s a road safety is a concern, but they’ve not given it much thought.

“It’s another one of their ideological ideas that they’ve thought up and they’re using the tax-payer’s money to implement it.”



Vehicles per 20 minutes – 22

Average speed – 28.95mph

Fastest speed – 36mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 95.45%


Vehicles per 20 minutes – 78

Average speed – 24.37mph

Fastest speed – 35mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 93.58%


Vehicles per 20 minutes – 10

Average speed – 25.4mph

Fastest speed – 32mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 90%

PALMEIRA AVENUE: Vehicles per 20 minutes – 36

Average speed – 26.19mph

Fastest speed – 38mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 97.22%


TAXIS (13):

Average speed – 26.23mph

Fastest speed – 32mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 100%

BUSES (8):

Average speed – 20.38mph

Fastest speed – 22mph

Percentage of vehicles speeding – 50%