Edinburgh's 20mph zone gets off to slow start as drivers flout rules
Thousands of drivers have been flouting Edinburgh's new 20mph zones amid lack of enforcement and complaints over poor signage.
The limits came into force across the city centre and rural west of the Capital on Sunday – but not a single speeding ticket was issued by police in first 48 hours.
While some motorists reported slower traffic heading into the city centre, many said they and other drivers were continuing to travel routinely at 30mph when possible.
A lack of clarity over affected streets and signage that is not visible enough have been the most common gripes, as some who did adhere to the new rules said they were being regularly overtaken by bikes and facing frustrated gestures from other drivers.
However, one community leader in the outskirts of the Capital said there was a noticeable difference on the roads and that drivers were slowing down.
But cabbies told how some passengers had grown “furious” during the time it’s taken to get them home – particularly when the roads are clear at night.
Speaking from the rank outside the Caledonian Hotel, several taxi drivers said motorists were under no pressure to slow down, with no active police enforcement or new speed cameras in place.
Police confirmed that there would be “no crackdown” and that they would patrol the new zones in the same way as any other road.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “As is the process for enforcing the 30mph and 40mph speed limits in Edinburgh, we will respond to reports of speeding in a proportionate and appropriate manner.
“Vulnerable areas, particularly around schools, will be given due attention in the interest of casualty reduction. To date we have not received any complaints about drivers speeding within the new 20mph zones.”
Councillors were split on the lack of active enforcement, with Green Party transport spokesman Nigel Bagshaw saying he believed it was reasonable that no fines were issued in the first few days. But he added: “After that, the scheme will have to be actively enforced if it is going to work fully.”
Meanwhile, Tory transport spokesman Councillor Nick Cook said he “wasn’t surprised” there was no tickets issued without additional enforcement from the police.
In the rural west of Edinburgh, chairman of Kirkliston community council David Buchanan said he believed drivers were generally adhering to the new 20mph limits, but repeated concerns about the lack of a police presence.
Councillor Adam McVey, the transport vice-convener, said he was “delighted” to see the first phase of the new 20mph network come into effect.
He said: “We want to make our neighbourhoods more people-friendly, encouraging active travel and reducing the likelihood and severity of road collisions. Obviously, the change will take some getting used to, and we’re making every effort to raise awareness of new speed limits amongst the public while working closely with Police Scotland to ensure they are adhered to. It’s still very early, but I look forward to seeing its benefits in all parts of the city.”