Success of 20mph speed limits in Bristol

Bringing in a blanket 20mph limit across Bristol has cut the speed of traffic, saved lives and should be used as an example for other places in the country.

The University of the West of England (UWE) has analysed the impact of 20mph roll-outs for Bristol City Council. It finds reductions of 2.7mph in average traffic speeds and an estimated cost saving of over £15m per year from fatal, serious and slight injuries avoided.

Read more here.

DfT Cycling and Walking Strategy: Demand Default 20mph

A 20mph national speed limit is the single most cost-effective change possible to boost cycling and walking.  20mph limits can treble cycling to school. Localism on setting safer speed limits isn’t enough; the Government must lead with a 20mph default for built up areas.

20’s Plenty for Us agrees that 20mph limits reduce danger and the perception of danger. The City of Edinburgh recorded a trebling of cycling to school and doubling of permission for children to play out[2].

Our call is for the Government to agree a plan for Total 20 by 2020, which sets a 20mph default for restricted roads but allows local authorities to make exceptions where justified.   It’s time that the Government recognised that 20mph is the foundation of active travel. 20mph limits are a popular, cost effective way to raise public health and exercise levels on the 90% of the urban public realm that is streets and pavements.

Most of the largest 40 UK authorities have decided the ‘national speed limit’ of 30mph is not fit for purpose.  15.5m people now live where the default speed limit is 20mph.

Changing the national default to 20mph whilst letting local authorities sign the small number (perhaps up to 10%) of urban roads that might warrant a higher speed limit also makes more sense economically than suggesting that cash-strapped local authorities pay to sign 90% of roads 20mph.

Rod King MBE, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us commented:-  “The Government must wake up, urgently change the National limit to 20mph and let authorities choose roads where other limits are warranted. Otherwise they are simply using “localism” as a fig-leaf for not taking responsibility for the adverse effect of vehicle speed on public health, community life and road danger”.

Comment on the DfT’s consultation by 23 May via – online form or to Ask for default Total 20mph.

Myth Busting Shire Counties

Many of the shire counties, which includes Worcestershire, have been behind the urban authorities in implementing 20mph limits. The following summarises a blog on the main 20s Plenty for Us website.

Already the majority of the largest 40 urban authorities have adopted a Total 20 policy. And also 75% of Inner London boroughs.

Some county councils seek to “manage expectations” by adopting policies that are not consistent with DfT guidance in an attempt to dampen down the legitimate aspirations of communities for lower speeds. That isn’t to say all shire counties. Indeed Lancashire has already implemented Total 20 and also Bath & North East Somerset is progressing in its roll-out. Also other places with rural parts or outlying villages are implementing Total 20 in villages. Sefton and Warrington are examples. But it is clear that many shires seem ideologically opposed to 20mph limits in their communities. Continue reading

West Mercia Police to enforce 20mph speed limits

The Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore says West Mercia Police is now ready to start “applying the same approach” to 20mph limits as legal limits elsewhere, punishing drivers who do not comply.

See the Worcester News article for the full story.

One of the constant hurdles that campaigners for wide area 20mph speed limits have had to face is the lack of support from the local police force. However, with the news that West Mercia Police will now enforce 20mph speed limits, there is a greater chance that we could see more 20mph speed limits in Worcestershire.

The only problem is the current attitude of Worcestershire County Council, especially Councillor John Smith who is the Cabinet Member for Highways. He is not convinced of the benefits of 20mph speed limits. One wonders if any amount of evidence would be sufficient to convince him and some of his cabinet colleagues that there should be more 20mph speed limits on residential roads.