Speed limits

Speed causes about one third of road accidents in the United Kingdom. Especially in urban areas, where speeding vehicles can adversely affect the quality of life of many communities.  Consequently speed limits have been introduced to improve road safety.

The police are responsible for enforcement of speed limits.

Speed can be restricted in two ways, legislative and physical. Speed limits fall into the first category, whereas traffic calming devices would fall into the second.

Comprehensive information on speed limits you might expect to come across on the different categories of road is given in chart form in The Highway Code.

How do I set about getting a speed limit lowered, raised or extended?

The main roads in Tower Hamlets are covered by a 20mph speed limit.  Some Red Routes have a 40mph speed limit.

The council will work with the Police to review the justification for any request for an alteration to speed limits. If Red Routes are involved, the request would be forwarded to Transport for London who are responsible for the these main roads.

Account would also be taken of the characteristics of the road, such as its alignment, the level of activity alongside the road, the accident record and the degree of severance caused to a community because of traffic speed.

In urban areas, speed limits should fit into a rational and easily understood hierarchy if they are to be observed by drivers. Before deciding to change an existing speed limit. the Highway Authority must consider all the relevant factors:

  • expected accident savings
  • improvement to the environment
  • improvement in amenities
  • reduction in public anxiety
  • improved facilities for vulnerable road users
  • delays to traffic
  • costs of implementation
  • costs of engineering measures and their maintenance
  • costs of enforcement, especially where the speed limit is regarded as unreasonable by drivers.