Petition launched to increase Stoke Gifford By-Pass speed limit

30mph sign on the Stoke Gifford By-Pass.

Mobile police speed cameras trap over 300 motorists exceeding speed limit in less than four months

It’s a wide stretch of road with good visibility, sweeping across open countryside for half-a-mile from its junction with Hambrook Lane to the A4174 Ring Road, yet it has a speed limit that is lower than the main road through densely populated parts of nearby Bradley Stoke.

Travelling south from Parkway North Roundabout (near Nuffield Health), the Stoke Gifford Transport Link (SGTL, now officially named Rosedown Avenue, but more commonly known as the ‘by-pass’) initially has a 40mph speed limit before changing to 30mph shortly before the traffic light-controlled junction with Hambrook Lane.

Between Hambrook Lane and the Oxleigh Way traffic lights (entrance to Highbrook Park) the road has the appearance of one which might be expected to have a higher speed limit of at least 40mph, save for the presence of street lighting columns, and it seems that many motorists are choosing to drive at or above this speed. Anyone who attempts to stick to 30mph risks being tailgated or subject to dangerous passing manoeuvres, as witnessed by one driver writing in the newsletter of the Bristol Advanced Motorists group: “Driving at 30mph, I had flashing headlights behind, then a car overtook me on the right, as another overtook in the bus lane on the left!”

However, anyone taking a chance by exceeding the speed limit risks being snared by a police mobile speed camera van, which has been paying visits to the site since September 2018. A recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that 307 notices of intended prosecution have been issued for speeding offences on this stretch of the road in the last four months. Of those threatened with prosecution, 182 have been offered the alternative of attending an education courses.

When the Journal raised the issue with South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) in September 2018, we were told that the speed limit had been set in consultation with road safety professionals, taking into account the likelihood that housing will eventually be built adjacent to the road.

One frequent user of the road, Alex Hosking, feels so strongly about the issue that he has launched a petition on the SGC website, titled: ‘Raise the speed limit on the Stoke Gifford By-Pass’. In his foreword to the petition, he writes: “The bypass appears to have a speed limit that quite drastically does not match the engineering standard of the road. DfT guidelines state that ‘Speed limits should be evidence-led and self-explaining and seek to reinforce people’s assessment of what is a safe speed to travel. They should encourage self-compliance. Speed limits should be seen by drivers as the maximum rather than a target speed.’ These guidelines do not seem to have been followed on this road and it’s more characteristic of a road you might otherwise expect to have a speed limit of 50mph.”

Speaking to the Journal, he added:

“It almost seems like the council are trying to set speed limits that won’t be taken seriously. By setting it really low, you don’t punish people who really put their foot down. On the contrary, you just make it more difficult for the police to concentrate on them as they are forced to pursue people driving at much more sensible speeds.”

The online petition can be found at

In the light of the high number of speeding tickets being dispensed and the launch of the petition, we invited SGC to provide a further comment. A council spokesperson said:

“A review of the reported SGTL. No injuries have been reported as taking place on the road since it opened in late 2017. As the safety record of the SGTL is currently good, and bearing in mind that the character of the road will change when new junctions associated with approved development are constructed, the council has no plans to review the current speed limits.”

“National regulations do not permit the installation of more permanent signage for the 30mph speed limit, since the road is lit by a system of street lighting. However, a vehicle activated speed reminder sign will be positioned on the road periodically to remind road users of the 30mph speed limit.”

Photo of a police mobile speed camera van positioned on the northbound side of the by-pass.

Photos: 1 A 30mph speed limit sign, just before the Hambrook Road junction (when travelling south). 2 A police mobile speed camera van positioned on the northbound side of the by-pass.

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 14). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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  1. What I think would be good would be if someone were to go to that road with a radar gun and see what the average speed of free-flowing traffic is along that road and if it does meet DfT guidliness.

  2. The council can recoed that information with those two wire data boxes. As well as amount of traffic. But as they have stated due to future planning permissions to ruin the countryside and make Bristol a bigger city. They won’t change the signage to save cash. In fact making cash with the speed enforcement van.

    Good to know they acknowledge it is a safe road. So why is there a speed enforcement van there if it is so safe?

  3. This by pass links to a road network with a 50mph limit – what sense does that make having driven on a wide open road with 30mph limit

  4. Well, the council have so far refused to disclose that information however they did claim that the speed limit meets DfT guidelines without any average speed data that back it up.
    Even the DfT guidelines are incredibly lax the guideline used to be you use the 85th percentile speed as a basis to set the speed limit by, that was changed to the mean average a few years ago, quite what you would use the average of anything as a basis on what you set prohibitions on for anything is beyond me however that still allows you to set the limit to 30mph on a road with the average speed as high as 34mph and still be within the guidelines which I think is already a bit special, however even that seems to get ignored in favour of setting it to however they like.

  5. What a joke of a response from the council- I’m not surprised the safety record is good at that speed – that shouldn’t be a reason to NOT increase the speed limit?!?

    It’s a pure and simple money grab – you can tell this from the way the join into the 30mph is hidden at the traffic lights when most motorists will be concentrating on the lights at the junction.

    Even if it is more residential in the future, unless they’re planning on adding more side junctions, it still makes no sense as it’s a wide, open road with good visibility.

  6. The SGTL/bypass is 1 mile long. 1 mile at 30mph takes 120 secs. 1 mile at 40mph takes 90 secs. Difference 30 secs! What is the fuss about here? Having once studied highway engineering I agree with SGC. The vertical and horizontal curves are not suitable for higher speeds here.

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