30th November 2015
Brake, the road safety charity
Brake, the road safety charity, has produced a free interactive e-learning resource to promote the benefits of 20mph limits, and to raise awareness about the importance of people in cars slowing down around homes, schools and shops to protect more vulnerable road users. The ‘GO 20’ interactive resource can be used by community groups, educators, road safety professionals, or anyone who wants to find out more about how 20mph limits can benefit their community.
As shown in Brake’s recent research on 20mph limits, reducing limits from 30 to 20mph has been shown to reduce casualties  because drivers have more time to react to unexpected events and emergencies. 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 .
A 2014 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 . Brake is calling on local authorities to listen to public opinion and implement widespread 20mph limits in their own areas ; and on drivers to slow down to 20mph to keep vulnerable road users safe.
The open-access ‘GO 20’ resource challenges users to test their understanding of 20mph limits, and can be used to facilitate discussion and present the facts on the importance of drivers slowing their speed. Brake is especially encouraging community campaigners to use the ‘GO 20’ resource to raise public awareness and inspire local authorities to introduce 20mph limits in their areas.
Access the resource online now at brake.org.uk/go20interactive.
Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns said: “Everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their communities without being put in danger. Reducing speed limits from 30 to 20mph where we live, work and play protects the most vulnerable – children, older people, disabled people and anyone on bicycle or on foot. Brake’s new ‘GO 20’ e-learning resource shows the benefits of driving more slowly. It’s a powerful tool that demonstrates how 20mph limits put people first, creating safer streets and healthier, happier communities. The resource is freely available to road safety practitioners, campaigners and educators to help them talk about a really important issue, because the fact is, speed kills.”
Every day five children and 20 adults are killed or seriously injured while walking or cycling on UK roads . Every casualty is devastating.
Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes and casualties. Reducing traffic speeds is crucial to road safety. It has been estimated that for every 1mph reduction in average speeds on urban streets, crash rates fall by an average of 6% .
The faster they drive, the less chance drivers have of being able to stop in time in an emergency. And if they can’t stop in time, they will hit with greater impact, increasing the chances of causing serious injury or death. A vehicle travelling at 20mph (32km/h) can stop in time to avoid a child running out three car-lengths in front. The same vehicle travelling at 30mph (48km/h) will not be able to stop in time, and will still be travelling at 28mph (45km/h) when they hit the child .
When traffic is slower and roads are safer, people feel much freer to run, walk or cycle. Brake surveys have found that three in four schoolchildren (76%) would like to walk and cycle more, but worry that they might be run over while doing so ; and that three in four (74%) UK parents say their family would walk more if the safety of nearby roads was improved .
When traffic is slowed to 20mph in communities, research shows people are friendlier with their neighbours, feel safer in their area, and take part in more community activities .
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.
Brake is a national road safety charity 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 campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. 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. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.
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.
With many thanks to Rod King, Founder & Campaign Director of 20's Plenty (www.20splenty.org), for his assistance with the interactive resource.
 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001
 Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road, University of London, 2011
 GO 20: Towards changing the urban default speed limit to 20mph, Brake, 2015
 Reported road casualties Great Britain 2014 annual report, Department for Transport, 2015
 Speed, Speed Limits and Accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
 Stopping distances, The Highway Code, Driving Standards Agency, 2015
 Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake and webuyanycar.com, 2014
 Bereaved family back Beep Beep! initiative for safer roads for kids as survey reveals parents’ fears from fast traffic, Brake and Churchill, 2012
 Hart, J. and Parkhurst, G., Driven to excess: Impacts of motor vehicles on the quality of life of residents of three streets in Bristol UK, World Transport Policy & Practice, 17 (2), 2011
 The contribution of good public spaces to social integration in urban neighbourhoods, Swiss Natural Science Foundation, 2006