RESIDENTS have joined forces with an MP in a campaign to create North Yorkshire’s first 20mph speed limit village.

Parish councillor Jonathan Tulloch said there has been a rise in the speed and volume of traffic in Bagby, near Thirsk and residents fear a fatal accident unless the 30mph limit is reduced.

He said a public meeting in the village revealed a strong demand for North Yorkshire County Council to cut speeds rather than introduce other traffic calming measures, such a speed bumps, and a petition had been launched.

Coun Tulloch said while a North Yorkshire Police study had found 15 per cent of motorists drove through at over 32mph, he believed the proportion of speeding motorists was higher.

He said he hoped the 20mph campaign would be extended across villages in North Yorkshire, which only has 20mph zones outside schools .

 “We want to have our village back," he said. "The speed limit was set in 1934 when there were so many less cars on the road.

“People should be able to ride their bikes – it is almost taking away people’s freedom of will.”

He said it took about one minute more to drive through Bagby at 20mph rather than 30mph.

“What would you do with that one extra minute to gamble the life of a child?”

Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh said she believed reducing speed limits in Bagby and other villages in her constituency would improve residents’ quality of life.

She said: “Bagby has a play school and a lot of transit traffic and residents there are naturally worried about their safety, particularly the older people and the very young.”

Road safety group 20s Plenty claim 80 per cent of the public and 75 per cent of drivers support 20mph as a speed limit on residential streets.

Campaigners say while a child has a 50 per cent chance of being killed by a vehicle travelling at 30mph, at 20mph the child has a 97 per cent chance of surviving.

A county council spokesman said requests to cut speed limits to 20mph would be assessed in line with its policy and criteria and that it examined the speed of traffic, the surrounding environment and the safety record of the road.

It is understood the authority has received numerous complaints from motorists about its existing 20mph zones, many of whom argue the restrictions should only become active during school hours.