19 JULY 1957, Page 7

ONE MIGHT HAVE thought, from the flourish with which the

Minister of Transport announced it, that the proposed forty-mile speed limit on some selected stretches of London's suburban roads Was all part of the scheme to speed up traffic. Not a bit of it. Detailed investigation discloses that of the selected pieces of road only a third are at present in the thirty-mile limit; the rest are unrestricted. This slowing down process covers pieces of road varying from eight miles to patches of half a mile or so, and imagination can easily conceive the wretched motorist, if he is strangely conscientious, juggling his car between three different speeds within a ludicrously short dis- tance. Those familiar with, for instance, the A41 may have noticed two such stretches; one where thirty will be followed by unrestricted which will in turn be followed by forty within at most a mile and a half; the other, infelicitously worded in the official description as 'from Barnet way to Apex Corner to 80 yards north of Glendale Avenue, Hendon' (Glendale Avenue is nowhere near Hen- don—to say nothing of the grammar), is a stretch of about half a mile long between two pieces of unrestricted road and has hitherto itself been unrestricted. The absurdity of all this matches the absurdity of the whole forty-mile notion. Both motoring organisations point out quite rightly the confusion it leads to; motorists are less likely than ever to observe limits dotted round the country- siJe in such random profusion.