Lasswade speed change fails to work

Lasswade High Street.
Lasswade High Street.

Signs reducing the speed limit through a village to 20mph led to traffic speeds falling by just one mile per hour and more road accidents than on a neighbouring 30mph road, it has been revealed.

A report by Midlothian Council officials on the reduction of speed in Lasswade reveals it made little impact on drivers and recorded six accidents – two causing serious injury – since it was introduced.

In neighbouring Bonnyrigg, where residents are calling for action to be taken against speeding motorists on the main road, which has a 30mph limit, the number of accidents recorded over the last five years on that stretch was just three.

The report, which was due to be presented to Midlothian Council’s petitions committee this week, says: “In this instance, the results have demonstrated that installing reduced speed limit signs does not necessarily mean that road safety and traffic speeds will reduce in accordance with the speed reduction.”

A petition signed by more than 112 people, with over a third giving their address as Bonnyrigg, calls on the local authority to “stop speeding and misuse of villages whereby roads may be classified as ‘B’ but are residential”.

It wants more to be done to address areas of concern, citing the B704 Hillhead/ Bonnyrigg High Street as a main example.

However, the council report reveals that during a six-day-long traffic survey on the road, which captured the speed of around 10,000 vehicles, the mean average speed was under 30mph in both directions, with only seven vehicles recorded over 41mph and 138 between 36mph and 41mph.

The report said the petitioner had drawn comparison to neighbouring Lasswade, where the speed restrictions were introduced using only signs.

It said: “Comparing before and after speed limit results in the Lasswade area had shown only a minor reduction (less than 1mph in traffic speeds).

“On examination of road crashes that have caused injury within the 20mph speed limit since its introduction, there have been two crashes causing serious injury and four crashes causing slight injury.”

By comparison, it said two accidents were recorded on the B704 at Bonnyrigg in 2014 and one in 2015.

It added that one of the crashes caused serious injury to a motorcyclist who “lost control on the bend and struck a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction”.

The report concludes that the road in Bonnyrigg is no worse than other junctions within the area and other towns within Midlothian.

It added: “Vehicle speeds were not excessive and were mostly observed around the existing speed limit.”

The committee was due to hear arguments from officials and the petitioner this week.