Parties urged to support urban 20MPH limits

May 6 2015  

Parties urged to support urban 20MPH limits
All political parties should commit to a 20MPH default urban speed limit, road safety charity Brake has said ahead of tomorrow’s General Election.
The charity’s call, made through its ‘Go 20’ campaign, coincides with the United Nations' Global Road Safety Week which started on Monday and runs until Sunday.
But safety professionals' group Road Safety GB’s director of communications James Gibson urged caution, saying an 'evidence based' approach is required when considering implementation of 20MPH speed limits.
“More research is needed before we can say that every urban area should introduce these limits,” he said. “Effectiveness of 20MPH must be established in different settings because it might work for some places and not for others.”
He pointed out that the Department for Transport is currently working to produce a definitive report on 20MPH limits to support and inform future policy development. The three year research project comprises new primary research and study of existing data from local authorities, with a final report to be published in early 2017.
However Brake described a 20MPH default speed limit in urban areas as the best way to protect children, adding that it promotes healthy active travel and results in faster driver reaction times.
“Even in the UK, a developed country with a comparatively good road safety record, thousands of children are killed and seriously injured every year, and the figures are now going in the wrong direction,” said Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend. 
Motoring group the RAC’s chief engineer David Bizley added: “There is evidence and a tide of public opinion that 20MPH limits are beneficial in residential streets, busy urban areas and around schools.
“However, we should be careful not to reduce existing 30MPH speed limits on urban main roads and ‘through roads’ as these often play a significant role in ensuring good traffic flow and minimising congestion.”
Mr Bizley called on the next Government to provide clear guidelines to local authorities on the appropriate implementation of 20MPH zones.
♦ This year’s Global Road Safety Week involves a worldwide campaign to #SaveKidsLives’.
UNICEF and the FIA Foundation have published a new ‘Safe to Learn’ report which proposes a focus on the school journey to improve road safety and build 'walkable' communities across the world.
In the UK, Road Safety GB is hosting an online forum every day in an effort to spread best practice. This allows people to submit road safety questions to be answered by a panel of experts.
Meanwhile from Brazil to Zambia to Vietnam, various organisations are hosting events this week to educate children and to raise awareness of the #SaveKidsLives campaign.
(Photo: Edinburgh Greens and licenced for reuse under this Creative Common Licence)

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