Hmmmm . . other places cont . . .
First I admit to being both a cyclist and a driver, and spent 10 of the last 11 yrs in and around London. I have since seen sense, left the UK and now live in Norway.
Here residential areas often have a 30km/h limit that's 18.75mph. If you get caught for speeding, doing 61 in a 50 zone can cost you the equivalent of about £220, and yes some people DO still risk the fines.
In towns, the NORMAL situation at junctions is that traffic from the right (yeah we drive on the right here remember) has right of way, unless the juntion is otherwise marked, hence you INSTANTLU have to be much more alert to what's around, what's approaching, because a bus can come out the side street in front of you perfectly legally.
Pedestrians have an ABSOLUTE right of way, and barely pause at pedestrian crossings before walking out with barely a glance, and yes it does take time to get used to this. 1st time I visited Norway the wife went to step off a crossing into the path of an approaching, unmarked, white transit . . . . . suicide in London, but he stopped and waited correctly.
in residential streets the road is NARROWED at bus stops, to make sure the traffic DOES STOP when the bus does, sure drivers wait a minute or two, but normally there's only 1 or 2 people at most get on or off.
In london my drive to work (I worked from my car so could not use public transport) was about 15 miles (24km) and took me between 45mins and an hour and a half depending on traffic problems, road works, Ken Livinsgstone deciding to allow major works on 2 major crossings on the Thames at same time. Here my 18km drive (11.25 miles) takes me between 12 and 16 minutes, and that's with LOWER legal speed limits on the route, and (pretty much) sticking to them.
Biggest difference here is not the laws, the road layouts, the driving standards, it's a combination of all of them. People generally accept that they get to where they are going when they get there and allow the right amount of time, not leaving late and tearing up the road.
In the UK EVERY SINGLE class of road space user has faults. Pedestrians not looking and randomly crossing the road, then walking along footpath PAST a legal crossing point. Cyclists that ignore all road rules (some of the cyclists anyway). Drivers that think they OWN the road just because they drive a 4x4, also they always drive quicker in bad weather, they forget that ALL cars have 4 heel braking, and theirs weighs more).
ALL road users need to be aware of each other, understand each others needs and problems, and be able to live with each other.
And going back to the speed limits, introducing unenforcable limits will not help, it's just more signs on the roadside obstructing driver visibility. Better to enforce the existing ones properly.