Brake, the road safety charity, says it’s pleased that new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to support further rollouts of 20mph limits across London. In his election manifesto, Mr Khan said, “I will encourage the rollout of 20mph zones across the city.”
London has followed many other progressive cities, such as Bristol, in bringing in 20mph limits in urban areas. Currently nine of the 12 inner London boroughs have 20mph limits, compared with just two in 2013, and 20mph limits now cover a third of London’s population.
In previous research conducted by Brake on 20mph limits, reducing the limit from 30 to 20mph has been shown to reduce casualties as drivers have more time to react. At 30mph, if a child runs out three car lengths ahead, you will hit the child at almost full speed, with a high chance of killing or injuring them. At 20mph you should be able to stop in time. Children also benefit from slower speed limits because they struggle to judge the speed of vehicles over 20mph, so often make mistakes crossing roads with faster traffic. In 2014 a Brake survey found that eight in 10 people (78%) think 20mph should be the norm around schools, on residential streets, and in village, town and city centres.
Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns, said: “It’s fantastic to see that 20mph speed limits are now being widely endorsed by high-profile politicians. Mr Khan’s backing clearly shows that he recognises that 20mph limits can enable people to get around their neighbourhoods, towns and city centres more safely, whilst promoting a healthy and sustainable environment.
“We at Brake believe everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their communities without being put in danger. By lowering speed limits to 20mph from 30mph, we can protect the most vulnerable in society such as disabled people, children and anyone on bicycle or on foot.”
GO 20 Coalition
Through its GO 20 campaign, Brake is part of a broad coalition of charities calling for 20mph limits to become the norm in our cities, towns and villages. Ultimately, it wants the government to change the national default urban speed limit from 30 to 20mph. In the meantime, Brake is calling on local authorities to GO 20 by implementing widespread 20mph limits in their own areas; and on drivers to help make roads safer by slowing down to 20mph, or below, around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit is still 30mph.