10 Jun 2009

Support for moves to 20 mph

The press back in April publicised moves by the Government to consider more 20 mph zones - see my comment here - it annoys me that this move is being portrayed as just about safety - well of course that is good enough reason in itself but we should not forget some of the other benefits - especially if we are serious about encouraging more walking and cycling.

Photo: tomorrow at the Parish Council meeting we will hear back from Highways about the next stage of the '20 is Plenty' plans for the area - something we have been pushing for some years.

Letter sent to Good Motoring magazine earlier this week:

You report that the Government is considering reducing speed limits from 30 to 20 mph in urban areas and 60 to 50 mph in rural (GEM newsround). These measures are long overdue: as you note only one in 40 people who are hit by a vehicle at 20 mph dies compared to one in five at 30 mph. Britain's record for child safety is one of the worst in developed nations and cyclists deaths on our roads continue to rise. Casualties are also three times higher in more deprived areas.

How can we justify anything other than 20 mph in our urban areas?

However lower speeds are not just about reducing deaths and injury. There is also evidence that 20 mph can lead to better flows of traffic, less congestion and less emissions. However most importantly research shows 20 mph are a critical success factor in promoting walking, cycling and public transport as alternatives to the private car. Lower speeds help create 'living streets' as pedestrians feel more confident about crossing roads, children play more outside and it is quiet enough to hold a conversation.

Councils like Portsmouth, Newcastle, Oxford and Leicester, are already introducing 20mph speed limits. But we se should not forget that speeds alone will not be enough. We also need Safe Routes to School programmes everywhere that include more comprehensive measures like rearranging junctions and crossings to increase safety.

Cllr Philip Booth


Russ said...

Do you not think that if you promote 20mph speed zones as ways to encourage people to walk and cycle you may only create anger among some drivers towards environmentalists?
Safety reasons are good enough arguments to get these speed limits, so I would think that it would be better to let these things run there courses.
Also, if I cycled any more, I wouldn't want any anti-green road rage directed against me as I cycled along the road....

Anonymous said...

There are several where I live. No one takes a blind bit of notice.