New London Mayor backs urban 20mph speed limits

News from Brake

10 May 2016 
news@brake.org.uk

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 to 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 [1] 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 [2].

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 [3].

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 people with disabilities, 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, we want the government to change the national default urban speed limit from 30 to 20mph. In the meantime, we are calling on local authorities to GO 20 by implementing widespread 20mph limits in their own areas; and on drivers to help make our roads safer by slowing down to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit is still 30mph.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event, Road Safety Week,every November. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

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Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[1]20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001

[2]Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road, University of London, 2011

[3]Eight in 10 back 20mph limits as charity takes campaign to parliament, Brake, 2014