Speed limits are used for safety reasons and to keep traffic moving at a steady pace.
They're the maximum speed at which vehicles may legally travel − they're not target speeds. You should always reduce your speed when:
- the road layout presents hazards, such as bends
- you're sharing the road with pedestrians
- there are adverse weather conditions
- you're driving at night as it's harder to see other road users and possible obstructions
South Yorkshire Police are responsible for enforcing speed limits.
National speed limits
The Department for Transport (DfT) issues guidance for the setting of speed limits; for cars these are:
- 60mph on single carriageways
- 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways
- 30mph on roads in built up areas with street lights (unless there's a sign telling you otherwise)
You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.
Local speed limits
We're responsible for setting speed limits on all public roads in Barnsley, except for motorways and trunk roads, which are the responsibility of Highways England.
Following DfT guidelines, when setting or changing speed limits, we have to apply for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). This is a lengthy legal process, which involves consulting with the police and other emergency services, councillors, and people who live in the local area.
As part of the process, we also have to take into account:
- the general character of the road or area
- the type and extent of roadside development
- traffic composition
- collision history
- current traffic speed
- the frequency of junctions
- the presence of amenities that attract pedestrians and cyclists
- environmental impact, such as increased journey times, vehicles emissions, and the visual impact of the signing.
20mph speed limit
The latest thinking on reduced speed limits is that slower is safer; that 20mph speed limits encourage more considerate driving, leading to safer roads and streets for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
We're currently monitoring the 20mph speed restriction already in place on 115 of our roads and would only consider extending it to other areas across the borough based on the evidence and if funding was available.
When we're building new housing estates, they're specifically designed by the developers to achieve low speeds as advised by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.