Speed limits | Road safety | Oldham Council

2. 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 Partnership 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.

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.

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.

Speed cameras

The purpose of speed cameras is to change driver behaviour - they are only triggered when people break speed limits. When this happens a camera detects the offence and provides evidence for a fixed penalty notice.

Drivers who exceed the legal speed limits will incur a minimum penalty of £60 and three penalty points on their driving licence.