The 20mph road where people keep getting fined for speeding

-Credit: (Image: North Wales Live)
-Credit: (Image: North Wales Live)

The police recently released figures highlighting the areas where drivers were being fined on 20mph roads, and one particular stretch stood out. Following increased enforcement, over 260 intended prosecutions were issued by Go Safe in March and April, with 114 of these occurring at a single location.

This hotspot is Glan-y-Mor Road in Penrhyn Bay, which connects Llandudno and Rhos-on-Sea/Colwyn Bay. Intrigued by these statistics, I decided to take a drive along this coastal route to understand the potential issues.

Starting my journey in Rhos-on-Sea, it quickly became apparent that 20mph was an appropriate speed limit for the village. With a zebra crossing, bustling cafes and shops, parked cars lining one side of the road, and a paddling pool and park nearby, it seemed like the perfect setting for a 20mph zone.

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However, as I ventured further from the village centre, the situation began to change. The road, which traces the coastline, broadened and traffic and pedestrian activity decreased.

There were also substantial pavements on both sides of the road, reports North Wales Live.

For part of the next stretch, there were houses on one side of the road, and then on both sides as I neared the heart of Penrhyn Bay. Despite this, the view ahead remained unobstructed throughout, and there was ample space for pedestrians and cyclists, with a cycle lane on the promenade side of the road.

The debate around what constitutes a built-up area is central to this issue. According to current Welsh Government guidance, the number of homes on this road would qualify it for a 20mph limit, which explains why council highway chiefs have not opted for an exception to maintain a 30mph limit.

The approach to Glan-y-Mor Road in Penrhyn bay
The approach to Glan-y-Mor Road in Penrhyn bay -Credit:North Wales Live

However, from a driver's perspective, it's easy to see why so many fines have been issued. There are no speed signs as you exit Rhos, and since the actual limit doesn't change, this makes sense.

In theory, drivers should assume roads like this are 20mph unless stated otherwise. But the reality feels different. While a 20mph limit feels natural in the village centre, it doesn't on this quieter, wide-open stretch with clear views ahead.

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It's all too easy for your speed to creep up, making 20mph feel incredibly slow. Many of those caught out were driving at 26mph (the current threshold), a speed that's easily reached without conscious thought. When I drove at 20mph, a small queue began to form behind me, and I could imagine some drivers attempting to overtake if I hadn't pulled over to take some photos.

Roads like this will be the focus of the review of speed limits. New guidance is due, and it's anticipated there will be a significant increase in the number of exception roads reverting to a 30mph limit.

Glan-y-Mor Road in Penrhyn bay -Credit:North Wales Live
Glan-y-Mor Road in Penrhyn bay -Credit:North Wales Live

I wouldn't be taken aback if this is one of those instances, and interestingly, Go Safe doesn't currently have it listed on their map of enforcement sites - although caution, this doesn't rule out the possibility of a camera being placed there.

There are roads in this area where 20mph feels entirely suitable - like the town centres of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay - as well as the bustling Llandudno prom. But it doesn't feel instinctive on this stretch, it's a deliberate effort to keep your speed down and necessitates a regular check on the speedometer.

While I believe 20mph has been poorly implemented in Wales, the recent accident statistics indicate that scrapping it completely would be an error.

However, we must strike the right balance between enhancing safety and allowing people to carry on with their daily lives. For me, that means roads like this need to revert to 30mph, with 20mph only coming into effect once drivers are near the centre of Penrhyn Bay.

And until that review is complete, I think enforcement should be concentrated elsewhere.