The 20mph limit makes streets safer, so why not enforce it?

As a cyclist and father of two young children I am all in favour of putting people above cars

At first it really does seem rather slow. And despite the reassurance of signs every few hundred yards as you chug along at a stately 20mph, you can't help feeling that the other drivers are growing impatient as they menace your rear bumper.

The York zone was introduced just down the road from me earlier this summer and, to be honest, it was only while researching this article that I became aware of it – despite driving through the area at least three or four times a week.

Still, now I know it's there I try to obey it, even though compliance is entirely optional and I sometimes wonder whether I'm the only one doing it. Still, it gives me great pleasure when a driver ignoring the limit pulls away at 30mph only to be held at the lights seconds later.

As a cyclist and father of two young children I am all in favour of putting people above cars and would love to see the streets reclaimed for families, youngsters and bikes. But believing in something and actually doing it are two different things, especially when you get behind the wheel of a car.

Research shows millions of us will be asked to cut our speed around town this year. York is planning to expand its 20mph limit but not before it's won the "hearts and minds" of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. The congested city is already a pioneer of cycle travel with one of the country's most effective networks of designated routes.

The Labour-run council claims it has full democratic support for the £600,000 policy after including it in its 2011 manifesto. I hope the scheme succeeds – not just in York but everywhere. But it means all of us must get used to life in the slow lane.

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