50mph speed limit ‘will reduce deaths’ on outer ring road, says highways chief

outer ring road
Speed limit proposals: Outer ring road

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

Plans to slash the speed limit across part of Leeds’ outer ring road would reduce the number of ‘nasty fatals’ on some stretches, a highways chief has said.

Limits on the road vary across different sections as it orbits the city, but drivers can travel at either 70 miles per hour (mph) or 60 mph on stretches at either side of Dawson’s Corner at Pudsey.

As part of a raft of measures on the outer ring road, the city council yesterday revealed plans to cut that section to 50 miles per hour, to reduce the risk of collisions and deaths in the area.

The new limit would be enforced by speed cameras.

The move follows an inquiry into road safety across Leeds by a group of backbench councillors, following a rise in the number of fatal accidents in the years before lockdown.

Among 20 recommendations the group have put forward is to explore the use of more speed cameras.

Speed concerns: Gary Bartlett

The issue was raised at a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, at which the council’s chief officer for highways, Gary Bartlett, was asked about the stretch of the ring road between Dawson’s Corner and Horsforth.

Mr Bartlett said: “One of the concerns we have in that part of the world, certainly on the ring road north and south of Dawson’s Corner are the high speeds that are experienced outside peak hours.

“We’ve had some very nasty fatals on certain sections as you will be aware.

“On that section hopefully there will be a 50mph speed limit and it will be governed by cameras.

“Everyone will have to move through that system very calmly and safely at those speeds.”

Mr Bartlett likened the approach to certains sections of the A1, which currently have enforced 50mph limits because of roadworks.

He said those parts of the motorway were “a very calm environment because everyone is sticking to the 50mph, because they know they will be prosecuted (if they don’t).”

He added: “We want to get that on certain sections of our ring road.

“We want to bring forward this change in criteria to put them on that part of the ring road at the earliest opportunity.

“We want to extend it to perhaps across the whole of the ring road in due course.”


  1. As usual, this shows how out of touch our council leaders are. Reducing limits/yet more cameras will only impact the legal. As someone who travels almost daily on these roads, you find its often the same demographic driving dangerously and extremely aggressively, heading to and from Bradford, who in many instances won’t be legal anyway (1 car 6 drivers), which won’t give a hoot about limits/cameras. Eg, coming along the ring road in Farnley Sat, 2 cars racing each other in heavy traffic, cutting in and out of lanes while one at one point was 3 abreast and went onto the grass. Usual demographic who we wouldn’t be allowed to say. But needless to say, why Bradford has a well earned reputation for crashes /unlicenced/uninsured and dangerous driving.

  2. About time, there needs to be speed cameras near both slip roads as well leading on and off near Swinnow Road as people hurtle off at 50/60 mph in a 30/40 area

    • There’s too many cameras as it is. You spend far too much time watching your speed, looking for humps than concentrating on ssace driving. Cameras will only catch the legal. Many racing or driving aggressively won’t be legal anyway. As a example, I’ve done a speed awareness course (marginally over a limit miles from anywhere), my 82 Yr old ex father in-law, 66 Yr old neighbour, both people I worked with 65 yrs and 55yrs. None fast drivers but a momentary lapse of concentration on the speed. Spend too much time watching your speedo you don’t see that child between those cars and slow appropriately. Cameras just raise revenue.

      • “You spend far too much time watching your speed”

        I never spend time “watching my speed” as I can always tell how fast I am going. I rarely drive over the speed limit. I really don’t understand why people constantly have to check their speedometer.

        • Until you get a ticket for momentarily creeping over a limit. Cameras are more about revenue than safety. They don’t catch the drunk/drug/unlicenced/uninsured which is rife. North York’s have revenue from cameras in their budget hence hiding many in spots where its easy to trap people. 100,000+ a year. I drive many miles (safely) but Leeds/Bradford roads you need your wits about you because of certain people generally in high powered mostly German cars weaving in and out of traffic cutting people up. Many of these won’t give a hoot for yet more cameras (Bradford is awash with them, yet sees crashes almost daily) as many aren’t legal. We’re some of the most watched and monitored people in the world watching for any minor indiscretion. Can’t say this, can’t do that. Easy targets, which doesn’t address the real issues.

          • I agree that cameras dont address the real issues, and I see the same things as you, but I can’t see WYP increasing their roads policing resources any time soon, so other means have to be used to try and do something about it. You keep mentioning North Yorks Police, rightly or wrongly they do, and are well known to have a much harsher/strict attitude towards roads policing, WYP are more reasonable towards minor speed infringements, and here we are just talking about a specific section of road in West Yorkshire. I really dont find it hard to keep a check on my speed, it doesnt involve me constantly looking at my speedometer, which is only slightly out my eye line anyway.

  3. I think the speed limit is acceptable at present. Adding the average speed cameras will ensure added safety.As for the non legal drivers there needs to be more police presence to catch these, seize and crush their cars and fine them enough to keep them off the roads.We need to get tough on these idiot drivers who treat these roads as if its a video game.

  4. Having the odd speed camera dotted around in a 50mph limit wont make a scrap of difference, in the same way it doesn’t make drivers drive at60/70mph now. What is needed are average speed cameras and more traffic police to enforce the rules.

    • So, you agree more cameras won’t address the real issues. So putting more cameras won’t stop the illegal drivers. Trouble with cameras. We aren’t robots. People get tired/stressed/forgetful/things on their minds! /kids playing up while driving. We’re human. Cameras don’t have any common sense hence convictions went skywards when cameras replaced people. All those wanting more cameras will be the first to moan when a ticket drops through the letter with them ‘oh I never speed’ leaving their lips. Then when they’re on their dpeed awareness course and their home burgled, they find the police have zero interest and they’ll be lucky to get a crime ref number.

  5. Average speed cameras are awful. You spend far too much time watching your speed instead of concentrating on driving safely. There’s too much reliance on cameras both on the roads and in public, where they don’t deter, just catch the offence on camera. We’re not robots and everyone will creep over a limit. Cameras just raise revenue hence North York’s catching 100’000 a year, most offered speed awareness courses as only marginally over a arbitrary limit.

    • But they’re better than the occasional fixed ones on these stretches of roads, which do nothing to slow down those using it as a race track. Its really not hard to glance occasionally at your speedo just to check that youre doing around 50/60/70mph and we’re not talking long stretches of road here. I think North Yorkshire are a bit of a special case with regards to roads policing, its a priority for them and they’re notoriously harsh with this side of things, but then there are plenty of idiots who fall into their trap. Having said that West Yorkshire probably should make it a priority too.

      • Occasionally glancing down at your speedo? Kerching, too late you’ve crept over the limit. There’s a big difference between everyday normal driving and blatant racing which is the issue. But its not just this section, so what then, blanket average speed cameras which really are purgatory. There needs to be more visible police presence especially late evening when most of these incidents take place. But also certain demographics hiring fast cars for weddings/festivals who are a real menace. Taking my disabled son to his daycentre on York Road, its got to a point where almost daily, a high powered German car (popular in Bradford) will be weaving through traffic at high speed, tailgating, forcing their way into your lane etc. On almost every occasion its been the same demographics. (Wouldn’t be allowed to say), but why the Police have run Operation Steerside in the Bradford district for a number of years. Many of these drivers won’t be legal anyway, so don’t care about average speed cameras. Now, I’ve done a speed course for marginally over a limit miles from anywhere, my 82 year old ex father in-law (going backwards and forwards to see his dying wife), my 66 year old neighbour, both colleagues I volunteered with 65 and 55 years old. All slow careful drivers. Cameras catch the legal but a momentary lapse of concentration where you creep over a arbitrary limit. A traffic officer would probably not even blink unlike revenue raising cameras. Cheap policing. The proliferation of cameras everywhere, (with speed limits all over the place, signs hidden etc) is making driving anywhere very unpleasant. Cameras are just a knee jerk reaction that won’t solve the issue. Bradford’s full off them, yet almost daily there’s a high speed crash, with quite often the drivers doing a runner. As I believe when the pedestrian killed recently on Leeds Bradford road.

  6. The bit between Dawsons corner and Horsforth needs to be separated by a divider, the scariest parts of that road are due to potential head on collisions.

    • Youre dead right there, I’ve always wondered why they haven’t done this before, there’s certainly space, apart from the bridge sections at Calverley Bridge. It would stop the increasing number of idiots making (illegal) right turns on and off the ring road on the Rodley to Dawsons corner stretch too.

  7. A reduction in speed is NOT going to prevent deaths on that road. Maniac drivers are still going to go over the speed limit and drive dangerously. There needs to be a dual carriageway on some parts of the road to prevent overtaking and head on collisions. Speed cameras won’t even work as we all know drivers speed up/down around them. There needs to be an average speed check all across the ring road at certain intervals to try and prevent people going too fast. There also needs to be a proper slip road off in to Farsley as the current turn off is dangerous. I avoid using that turn off as I worry about someone driving so fast up behind me before I have had chance to turn off.

    If the average person can understand what the issues are then why can’t the Council and all those consultants?

    • Average speed cameras are a menace. They’re absolute purgatory, taking your concentration away from driving safely to constantly watching your speed so not seeing hazards. Theate night ra ers won’t be bothered, as many won’t be legal anyway. This country getting ever more like George Orwell 1984.


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