The GO 20 coalition


Everyone – adults and children – should be able to walk and cycle in their communities, for their health and enjoyment, and as a sustainable way to get about, without being put in danger. It's a fundamental right. That's what GO 20 is all about: putting people's safety first, and empowering us all to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles.

GO 20 is a coalition campaign to make walking and cycling safer and reclaim our streets as places where people live. Introducing 20mph speed limits is one of the most important things we can do to achieve this, to bring about fewer road casualties, more walking and cycling, more active lifestyles, less pollution and lower public spending.

  • Ultimately, we want the government to change the default speed limit in communities from 30mph to 20mph;
  • In the meantime, we want more local authorities to GO 20 by implementing widespread 20mph limits in their areas;
  • We also appeal to drivers to make a difference by slowing down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit is still 30mph.

GO 20ing is good for everyone. Momentum is with us, and local authorities from Plymouth to Dumfries and Edinburgh to the City of London are introducing 20mph limits. Communities want them. We have to keep the pressure on until all our communities get the benefits of GOing 20. Read more. Take action.

The GO 20 coalition is: 20's Plenty for Us, Alzheimer's Society, Bicycle Association, Brake, British Cycling, Campaign for Better TransportCampaign to Protect Rural England, Children EnglandCTC, Guide DogsLiving Streets, London Cycling Campaign, Ramblers, RoadPeaceSustrans, UK Health Forum.

See why these organisations are behind GO 20.


Why GO 20?

Fewer casualties: 20mph is much safer for everyone. Drivers have more time to react in an emergency and avoid hitting someone: your stopping distance at 20mph is half that at 30mph [1]. Where 20mph limits have replaced 30mph limits, there have been dramatic reductions in casualties [2] [3]. Children benefit especially, since they struggle to judge the speed of vehicles over 20mph [4]. Every day five children and 20 adults are killed or seriously injured while walking or cycling on UK roads [5]: every one devastating for families, every one entirely preventable.

Healthy, active lifestyles: reducing casualties isn't the only public health benefit of GO 20. It makes people feel safer, which encourages more walking and cycling. Three quarters of parents (74%) say they would walk more if roads were safer [6], and almost half (46%) of commuters say they would cycle more [7]. Where widespread 20mph limits have been introduced, walking and cycling has increased [8]. As well as giving freedom and enjoyment, this physical activity reduces premature death by 20% [9].

Happy communities: GO 20 is about turning our streets from soulless thoroughfares for traffic to enjoyable social spaces where people live; active communities where people care about each other and say hello in the street. Lower traffic speeds (and traffic volumes) have been shown to improve the 'sociability' of streets: people get out more and are more likely to know their neighbours [10] [11].

Less pollution: more people walking and cycling means less traffic and more carbon-free journeys. 20mph limits also reduce pollution by causing vehicles to travel at a more consistent speed, with less of the speeding up and slowing down that produces most vehicle emissions [12]. For the same reason, journey times are barely affected; in fact, they may be smoother, less stressful, and use less petrol.

Lower costs: every road death in the UK is estimated to cost £1.7 million [13]. Fewer casualties mean less strain on the NHS and emergency services as well as preventing families suffering emotional and financial devastation. More walking and cycling also means better health and prevention of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes [14], saving the taxpayer even more. Introducing 20mph limits ultimately pays for itself many times over [15].

           Campaign for GO 20

If your area has not yet GOne 20, and you are one of the 71% of people who want their community to do so [16], take action! You can support the campaign quickly and easily by writing to your MP using our simple online tool and by making the Brake Pledge to slow down to 20mph in built up areas. If you want to get more involved by campaigning locally, read on...

By working together to campaign, many communities have achieved 20mph limits across their village, town or city, and other measures like pavements, paths and crossings – and you can too! It's all about building awareness and support among local people, and persuading your local authority to make the change. Here are some pointers to get you started:

  1. Is there a campaign group you can join already active in your area? 20's Plenty for Us has over 200 local campaign groups: see if there's one in your area here.
  2. If not, set up your own. Get together a few like-minded people and develop an action plan. 20's Plenty for Us provide support and resources to help you, as do Brake, Living Streets, Sustrans and CPRE.
  3. Use Brake's simple tool to write to your MP and ask them to back 20mph locally; an MP's support will build interest and make the local authority more likely to act.
  4. Work out which authority has responsibility for the roads you're taking action on. It's likely to be a city, county, borough or town council, but if you're unsure, call and ask, checking which department deals with engineering on those roads. You can then engage with this department directly about what you want to achieve.
  5. Start a petition: lots of signatures will demonstrate to your local authority the level of demand for 20mph limits.
  6. Campaign online to reach a wider audience and tell local people why GOing 20 is great. 20's Plenty for Us have lots of useful resources.
  7. Hold an event like a street party, or arrange a stall at an existing local event. You can promote the benefits of 20mph and collect petition signatures while having fun. Brake's mascot, Zak the Zebra, is on hand to support your event.
  8. Make a splash in local media. Radio and press coverage helps build awareness and support; you might also be able to get a newspaper to throw their weight behind your campaign. Check out Brake's tips.

For more detailed guidance on community campaigning:

[1] The Highway Code, Driving Standards Agency, 2007
[2] 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001
[3] 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[4] Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road, University of London, 2011
[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012 annual report, Department for Transport, 2013
[6] Bereaved family back Beep Beep! initiative for safer roads for kids as survey reveals parents' fears from fast traffic, Brake, 18 April 2012
[7] Commuters call for safer streets for cycling, to enable more to get on their bikes, Brake, 2 May 2012
[8] Where widespread 20mph limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20%. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[9] At least five a week – evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health – a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[10] The contribution of good public spaces to social integration in urban neighbourhoods, Daniel Sauter & Marco Hüttenmoser, Swiss National Science Foundation, 2006
[11] Driven to excess, Joshua Hart, University of the West of England, 2008
[12] Environmental effects of 30 km/h in urban areas – with regard to exhaust emissions and noise, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 1999
[13] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[14] At least five a week – evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health – a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[15] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of the cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used the World Health Organisation's Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in cost to health as a result of 20mph. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased cycling. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[16] 2010 British Social Attitudes survey: attitudes to transport, Department for Transport, 2011

Tags: speed Go 20 vulnerable road users