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Lorry speed limit on rural roads to rise to 50mph

By DaveCDM  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

50mph sign

Comments (8)

Lorries will be able to travel at 50mph on single carriageway rural roads after the Government decided to raise the limit from its current 40mph.

Transport minister Claire Perry said the increase would save the haulage industry £11 million a year, with hauliers and motoring organisations welcoming the announcement.

But the British Cycling organisation said it was “staggering” that limits were being increased when many trucks were “simply not fit for purpose”.

The change in speed limits for lorries on single carriageways will come into force in early 2015 and will bring England and Wales in line with other European road safety leaders, such as Denmark and Norway.

The Government has also launched a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for lorries on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph.

Mrs Perry said: “We are doing all we can to get Britain moving and boost growth. This change will do exactly that and save our haulage industry £11 million a year.

“Britain has one of the world’s best road safety records and yet speed limits for lorries have been stuck in the 1960s.

“This change will remove a 20mph difference between lorry and car speed limits, cutting dangerous overtaking and bringing permitted lorry speeds into line with other large vehicles like coaches and caravans.

“Current speed limits for HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) were introduced around 50 years ago and need to be updated given improved vehicle technology.”

British Cycling’s campaigns manager Martin Key said: “It’s staggering that the Government has increased the speed limit for these vehicles when many of them are simply not fit for purpose.

“HGVs are involved in a fifth of cyclist fatalities and many of the vehicles have large blind spots which prevent drivers seeing people near the cab."

He went on: “The Government has failed to close the loopholes allowing certain HGVs to forgo fitting additional mirrors and safety equipment. This move is in direct conflict with the Government’s aim of creating a cycling revolution in Britain.”

AA president Edmund King said: “This seems like a common sense move. Every driver has probably experienced being stuck behind a lorry travelling at their legal 40mph limit on a single carriageway main road with a national default speed limit of 60mph for cars.”

He went on: “This 20mph speed differential can lead to bunching and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. So we welcome the plans to allow trucks to legally travel at 50mph on these roads to end this frustrating, dangerous, historic anomaly.”

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “For drivers there is nothing more dangerous than single carriageway rural roads, with two-thirds of car occupants dying on these types of route.

“The hope is that the raising of the limit will bring vehicle speeds closer together and reduce the temptation for people to overtake where they should not.

“We would expect the Department for Transport to closely monitor the change to make sure this is the case.”

Geoff Dunning, from the Road Haulage Association, said: “This evidence-based decision by ministers to increase the limit to 50mph will be strongly welcomed by hauliers and their drivers.

“The current limit is long out of date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risks.”

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  • Charlespk  |  July 26 2014, 8:42AM

    The biggest problem on country roads are the 'nouveau riche', country dwelling townies in their 4x4s, with as many brains and as much respect for the countryside as a Sherman Tank on Salisbury Plain; particularly for equestrians. . And of course the young 'Boy Racers'.

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  • DipStick  |  July 25 2014, 11:13PM

    josdave: you pay road tax for your CAR! Not your bike as well. And please explain why it's "... guaranteed to make it even more dangerous for cyclists on rural roads ...". Enquiring minds wish to know. ..DS

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  • josdave  |  July 25 2014, 1:19PM

    That's guaranteed to make it even more dangerous for cyclists on rural roads. As for the bigoted comments from twin*********'ll find most cyclists are also motorists and do pay road tax. Flouting of the Highway code is also done by motorists.

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  • Kernowchris  |  July 25 2014, 1:10PM

    @TWINSCREW - What a fool I ride a bike. I also like 90% of bike riders have a car. Therefore we do pay a Road Fund Licence. We are saving the country millions in NHS bills due to our healthier lifestyle. If you think the Road Fund licence goes anywhere near road maintenance you are an even bigger idiot than you make out.

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  • Free2opine  |  July 25 2014, 10:18AM

    or even "country road"

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  • Free2opine  |  July 25 2014, 10:17AM

    One assumes, that just because lorry drivers are permitted to drive at 50 MPH, they are only going to do so if it is safe ahead and if the conditions allow them to. Personally, I am sick to death of some, not all, lorry drivers, tailgating. If a sign states 40 MPH, then I assume it is for a very good reason and if I am driving at 40 MPH, I don't expect the lorry (or come to that anybody else) pushing me to do travel at 50 MPH, or more. I particularly enjoy Formula 1 and driving fast cars, but, on specialised tracks, not the run of the mill county road and especially not round country lanes!!!!

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  • TWINSCREW  |  July 25 2014, 9:31AM

    When the British cycling organisation and it's members are contributing to our road network by paying for a road fund licence, buying insurance for themselves and obeying the highway code, they will have a voice in this consultation.

  • DipStick  |  July 24 2014, 5:09PM

    The pertinent bit is "... and will bring England and Wales in line with other European road safety leaders ...". As usual we have to go with EU regulation which trumps our own! ...DS

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