Police say they’re still not going to come down heavy on drivers who break the 20mph limit in Hackney

Traffic jam in Llwyngwril, a Welsh hillside village, July 2015: © david.altheer@gmail.com
Traffic jam: where are the police when you need them? Llwyngwril in Gwynedd, Cymru, is a long way from Hackney, but some policies make some people look sheepish

Update 070317: Since this story was published, Loving Dalston has been told of a local motorist being given a penalty for allegedly exceeding the 20mph limit by almost a third in Queensbridge Road, a street in which there is a primary school. A previous version of this story misattributed the statement of Superintendent Andy Walker. The editor (and writer of the piece) apologises



WHEN HACKNEY COUNCIL introduced its 20mph limit two years ago, it promised “more walking, cycling and playing outside, [and] improved safety”.

Anyone who drives in the borough knows the optimism was not justified: pop along a Hackney street at 20mph and you’ll soon find your rearview mirrors filled with a raging motorist frantically and dangerously trying to pass.

As he/she does so, sometimes on the wrong side of a traffic island, he will toot and gesticulate at you for having had the temerity to observe the limit.

Announcing the policy, in February 2015, neighbourhoods councillor Feryal Demirci said: “[We] will be working closely with the police to enforce where cars don’t adhere to the speed limit.” Cycle-campaigning councillor Vincent Stops confirmed that police would enforce the limit.

A month later, in March 2015 Transport for London said it would introduce the limit on some of its roads “in line with Hackney’s 20mph borough-wide aspirations”.

New CCTV safety cameras would “have the capability to help police enforce 20mph speed limits”.

The key word there is “capability”: police may be capable of  enforcing 20mph — but they have not been bothering, as this site has reported.

Superintendent Andy Walker, of Hackney, said: “As far as possible, 20mph zones should be self-enforcing through the design and layout of the roads. However, if there are problems with speeding in particular locations, such as outside schools, then police enforcement remains an option.

Cyc250913: Kingsland and Balls Pond rzds Dalston junction Hackney London 250913 © david.altheer@gmail.com
The Kingsland-Balls Pond roads junction in Dalston, west Hackney: spot the vehicle ignoring the 20mph limit (clue: it has more than two wheels)

“We are determined to keep the borough’s roads safe for all users and we will target persistent problems with robust enforcement action.”

Councillor Demirci told Loving Dalston: that 20mph enforcement was discussed with the police regularly “and we have carried out speed surveys, passing information to the police on roads where traffic speeds are a concern so targeted enforcement can be carried out. Safety cameras on our [Hackney’s] road network now also enforce the 20mph limit.”

The 20mph zones were self-enforcing through the use of traffic calming features so most roads did not need police enforcement.

Pressed for more information, Hackney said that if told of an area that needed 20mph or 30mph speed enforcement, it would “work with the police to carry out some targeted enforcement on that area”.

The council did not know how many fines had been issued for exceeding the 20mph limit in Hackney, but said “enforcement has been carried out with [police] cameras and fines have been issued.

“In the last two community speed watch sessions 29 vehicles were recorded speeding and 18 were given warning letters.”

David Altheer 270217

* Backstory: Hackney limit to be 20mph; Hackney 20mph: diversions ahead 

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