Speed limits, speeding, and road safety concerns

Find out about speed limits, how to report a speeding complaint to the traffic bureau, and find out how we deal with your speed concerns.

We work together with local authorities, emergency services and other North Yorkshire agencies as part of the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership to reduce injury, disability and death caused by road collisions in North Yorkshire.

We find out about speeding problems from members of the public, or from collision data we collect. You can find out more about how the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership identifies and deals with speed concerns on the Roadwise website.

Report speeding and speed limit concerns in your area

Do it online

You can approach the North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau to report an area where you feel motorists often break the speed limit.

Report speeding in your area

Prevent speeding in your community

On the North Yorkshire Police community speed watch page, you can find out about:

  • taking part in a community speed watch;
  • reporting concerns about speeding on a particular stretch of road;
  • the 95 Alive speed management protocol, which explains how your concerns are dealt with; and
  • roads which have already been reported, or which are currently being investigated.

You can report your concern online here. We suggest you also read information about what else North Yorkshire Police do to prevent speeding.

Frequently asked questions

We are able to set a different speed limit to the national limits in certain circumstances. It is one of various different solutions we can look at for an area where speeding is an issue.

To tell us about a problem about speeding in your area, use the speed concern form provided by North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau. That way, we can be sure your request is passed to the correct department.

Before you contact us to request a speed limit change please make sure you have considered other approaches and checked on the North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau website whether we are already looking at the area in question. This saves us time and may help speed up any action we may be able to take.

Changing the speed limit is one of several solutions we and our 95 Alive partners can look at. Other options include:

The York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership means that all reports of speed concerns in North Yorkshire can be dealt with centrally and then passed to the correct authority.

In the partnership, North Yorkshire County Council is responsible for speed limit changes, road signage and traffic calming measures. You can contact us about these here.

What happens next?

Before deciding to change an existing speed limit we must consult the Department of Transport's guidance on setting local speed limits.

We must take many factors into account, including:

  • safety and accident prevention;
  • the local environment;
  • whether the change will affect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists or motorbikes;
  • whether it will help local people feel safer;
  • the effect on journey times;
  • the costs of putting it into place;
  • the costs of installing and maintaining any changes to the road; and
  • the costs of enforcement.

We have to consult on the proposed order and publish notices on site and in the local press detailing the proposal and inviting any objections which the area committee looks at. We also need to consult with North Yorkshire Police about the proposal.

If it goes ahead, a legal process begins and a statutory speed limit order has to be made.

There is a speed limit on every road in the country, even if there are no signs. Sometimes, the speed limit is displayed on circular signs by the side of the road, or printed on the road itself.

On a road with no signs, the national limits are:

  • motorways and dual carriageways - 70mph;
  • single carriageways outside a built up area - 60mph; and
  • single carriageways in a built up area - 30mph.

You can tell if you are in a built up area if it has three or more street lights placed not more than 200 yards or 183m apart. If there are street lights, there will be no circular signs. It is important to remember that the presence of streetlights means that 30mph is the speed limit.

You can find more details of speed limits for different types of vehicles, such as goods vehicles or minibuses, on the GOV.UK website.

Sometimes, local authorities can set local speed limits at 20, 40 or 50 miles per hour. Some examples of where local speed limits may apply include outside schools, or on tight bends.

When deciding on the most appropriate limit for a road, we think about a number of factors including:

  • the speed of traffic;
  • the surrounding environment;  and
  • the safety record of the road.

If you would like more information, guidance about local speed limits can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Enforcement of speed limits in North Yorkshire is the responsibility of North Yorkshire Police.

North Yorkshire Police is running a successful scheme called community speed watch, where community volunteers get involved in helping the police to identify drivers who are breaking the speed limit. You can find out more by watching the video below, and apply to join the scheme here.

You can also report specific instances of dangerous driving through Operation Spartan.

The law does not allow us to place 30mph 'repeater' signs in built up areas, on so-called 'restricted roads'. You can tell if you are in a built up area if it has three or more street lights placed not more than 200 yards or 183m apart. 

The system of street lighting in an area should be enough evidence of a 30mph limit. There can be no 30mph signs on a street with a street light system as described above. This rule exists to prevent there being signs in some places, and no signs in other places, which might lead to confusion. 

You can find information about other types of road signs, bollards and illuminated signs here.

Find out about road traffic safety schemes here, including speed bumps, 'sleeping policemen', speed cushions, traffic chicanes, and mini roundabouts.

The following websites provide educational resources for all ages, further information about road safety, and current campaigns:

North Yorkshire Police runs 'Operation Spartan' which aims to reduce accidents and danger to vulnerable road users by asking members of the public to report specific instances of dangerous or anti-social driving, bad driving, drunk driving, or road rage.

Report dangerous driving to the police

Full information about North Yorkshire Police's road safety and speeding policies can be found here.