Brake is calling for government and local authorities to work towards 20mph being the norm in built-up areas, to help deliver a post-2012 legacy of active, healthy communities.
Earlier this week, some newspapers reported 20mph limits are ‘not working’ on the basis that casualties across all 20mph roads increased during 2010-11. Brake is pointing out that the increase does not demonstrate heightened risks in 20mph limits, but is likely to result from 20mph limits becoming much more widespread, as many city, county and borough councils implement them across built up areas. Academic studies have demonstrated the significant safety benefits of lowering speeds in communities, especially for people on foot and bike. (See evidence below.)
Brake is also highlighting that danger from fast traffic poses a major barrier in people choosing walking and cycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of travel, and in families and children in particular being able to get out and about for leisure and exercise. In surveys, many people say they would walk and cycle more if it was safer, while three-quarters of people (74%) support use of 20mph limits on residential streets.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend says: “20mph is a more appropriate limit for built up areas because it gives drivers far more chance to react in an emergency and avoid hitting someone. At 30mph, your stopping distance is nearly six car lengths, compared to three at 20mph. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm at the moment forenabling people to live healthy, active lifestyles as a post-2012 legacy. We know that fast traffic is a major barrier to this: many children, families and adults are prevented from walking, cycling and getting out and about because of the dangers. 20mph limits are evidenced to make walking and cycling safer, deliver a host of benefits to communities, and they are widely supported. That’s why more and more local authorities are implementing them on a widespread basis, and that’s why we want the government to enable and support more authorities to make this positive step.”