Speed limits

Existing Speed Limits 

We are responsible for setting all speed limits on roads within Oldham, excluding motorways and trunk roads, which are set nationally. We follow the government’s speed limit framework guidance for setting national speed limits for different road types.

The three national speed limits are:

  • 30mph on roads with street lighting;
  • 60mph national speed limit on single carriageway roads without street lighting;
  • 70mph national speed limit on dual carriageways without street lighting and motorways.

Speed limits are the maximum speed at which vehicles may legally travel and are not the target speed motorists are advised to use. Motorists are encouraged to reduce their speed when:

  • approaching hazards;
  • sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists, and horses;

driving at night or in adverse weather conditions

Speeding Issues

If you believe that a particular speed limit is being regularly contravened please contact the police in the first instance.

In certain cases where higher vehicle speeds are recorded and there are valid concerns from residents, the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Unit can designate a section of highway as a Community Concern site and undertake temporary mobile enforcement. For a site to qualify there must be a certain percentage of vehicles travelling above the enforcement threshold; irregular incidents do not necessarily lead to enforcement action being taken. Please note that the enforcement threshold is higher than the speed limit itself.

Setting New Speed Limits

Our responsibility is to provide safe and efficient roads with traffic travelling at appropriate speeds. Guidance on setting speed limits was issued by the Department for Transport Circular (January 2013), ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’. This guidance provides a framework for authorities like ourselves to follow when reviewing and setting local speed limits. We are encouraged to keep our speed limits under review and to consider the introduction of 20mph limits and zones in urban areas and built-up village primarily residential streets, to ensure greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Before introducing or changing a speed limit we make sure the expected road safety and environmental benefits exceed the cost of bringing about these changes. Considering the following factors help us to do this:

  • Road function;
  • Existing traffic speeds and whether motorists are confirming to speed limits;
  • Road geometry and its appearance to road users;
  • Composition of road user types (motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians);
  • Highway environment;
  • Estimated collision and injury savings, taking into account the road safety history of collisions, including frequency, severity, types, and causes;
  • Overall costs, including engineering and other physical measures, future maintenance liabilities, and enforcement.

When we consider changing a speed limit, we consider the characteristics of the road, the accident rate, and the relationship between the average speed and the speed limit (amongst the other factors listed above). We ensure any speed limits we set are appropriate for the individual road, reflect local needs, and take local concerns into account. Any changes in speed limit must reflect changes in the road layout and characteristics.

Our aim is to achieve a consistency in speed limits across Oldham. It must be noted that reducing a speed limit does not necessarily lead to a reduction in vehicle speeds. Without regular enforcement or physical traffic calming features, it is difficult to reduce vehicle speeds. There are limited funds available for introducing new traffic calming measures and we are only able to target the most severe accident locations in Oldham, places where a high number of injury accidents are occurring.

Speed limits are not set in isolation but as part of a package with other measures to manage vehicle speeds across the local road network and improve road safety. For example, if we set a speed limit that in unrealistically low for a particular road function and condition and drivers may not comply with the speed limit. Drivers are more likely to expect and respect lower limits where they can see there are potential hazards, for example outside schools, in residential areas or villages and in shopping areas.

Any new speed limit will be set with support from the local community and public consultation with those affected is very important. Local residents may also express their concerns or desire for a lower speed limit and these concerns are always considered. We work closely with the police and other local services, as well as neighbouring councils where needed. All new speed limits are supported by education and engineering measures where necessary to encourage reduced speeds.

Highways & Engineering Service
Henshaw House
Cheapside
Oldham
OL1 1NY
Tel 0161 770 4325