Ex-Top Gear star James May backs more 20mph zones

Ex-Top Gear star James May backs more 20mph zones

James May, the former Top Gear star, has endorsed more 20-mile zones because it’s “much quick enough”.

The presenter said the lower speed limit “makes perfect sense” and threw his weight behind new planning guidelines that would make 20mph the standard on new or remodeled city streets.

The Department of Transport (DfT) is developing a new planning guide for road design, which is due to be published later this year.

A draft version titled Manual for Streets, consulted by the Sunday Times, states: “The default setting should be to work in urban environments with a 20 mph speed limit.”

It added that “for residential streets, a maximum design speed of 20 mph should normally be a target, with significantly lower speeds usually being desirable”.

This would be a significant shift as 30mph is currently the national speed limit on single and dual lane streets with streetlights unless signage says otherwise.

Mr May, who now presents The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, said he “hates saying I’m very right” but said motorists would be “absolutely delighted” to follow along in cities like London, Manchester or Birmingham Traveling 20 miles per hour.

“I would agree that a blanket speed of 20mph would probably be a bit stingy, but in many urban locations, downtown, towns and cities, 20mph actually makes perfect sense,” he told Today from BBC Radio 4.

“I live in Hammersmith, west London, an area where people particularly like to just run out into the street without looking, which is their prerogative, because they’re human and not machines, but 20mph is fast enough and 30 feel fast too.”

The new guidance would not create a new, lower default national speed limit, but councils would have the power to set the limits locally.

Wales and Scotland are currently lowering their limits to 20mph in many areas, while in England Cornwall is introducing a 20mph limit in residential areas by 2026.

It came as Mr May criticized a “confusing” two-way cycle lane introduced by Labour-led Hammersmith and Fulham Council along a two-way road in west London, adding that “ending sectarianism in road traffic ‘ indicates a ‘mindful attitude’ rather than changing signage or infrastructure.

Separately, the former BBC Top Gear presenter was asked about the dispute over co-star Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun article, which called for the Duchess of Sussex to be publicly shamed on Britain’s streets.

In his initial comments on the series, he dismissed rumors that Mr. Clarkson had been banned from filming on Amazon, saying “I don’t think the Grand Tour is under threat”.

He added: “I wouldn’t have written that, I think it sounds a bit too creepy, but I’m also very pro-freedom of expression and for the haters to be able to hate so we can see what they have to say. “

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