Putting the brakes on speed

Overwhelming public support for 20mph limits has been revealed by road safety charity Brake and Allianz Insurance, whose survey shows eight in 10 people (78%) think 20mph should be the norm around schools, on residential streets, and in village, town and city centres.

The news comes as Brake takes its GO 20 campaign for safe, active, happy communities to parliament, calling on politicians to support the introduction of 20mph as the default urban speed limit.

The Brake and Allianz Insurance survey also found:

r Seven in 10 (72%) say roads in their town or village need to be made safer for walking and cycling;

r Eight in 10 (81%) say traffic travels too fast on some (51%) or most (30%) of their local roads;

r Eight in 10 (79%) think it would encourage more people to walk or cycle if roads and routes in their town or village were made safer.

Speakers at the Brake and Allianz Insurance GO 20 parliamentary reception discussed the benefits of 20mph limits and progress being made by local authorities in implementing them.

Speakers included Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill MP and bereaved dad Dave Britt, speaking about how a 20mph speed limit could have saved his son’s life.

With an estimated 12.5 million in the UK now living in areas implementing or committed to widespread 20mph limits, Brakes argues the country is reaching a tipping point where it makes social and economic sense to make a national change in our default, to the benefit of communities everywhere.

Areas that have already introduced 20mph limits have seen significant reductions in casualties, such as Portsmouth where they fell by 22% and Camden, where crashes were reduced by 54%.

Other high profile local authorities now GOing 20 include the City of London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

20mph limits also promise to deliver improvements in public health and social activity, and reductions in congestion, pollution and noise, as more people feel safe to walk and cycle for local journeys, commuting or simply for enjoyment.

Making streets safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling can also benefit local economies.

As well as calling on national government to change the default urban limit to 20mph, Brake continues to encourage and support local authorities to GO 20 through implementing widespread 20 limits across cities, towns and villages.

Drivers can also help protect people on foot and bike right away, by slowing down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit is still 30mph.

Brake is urging members of the public to write to their MP to support the GO 20 campaign and Pledge to GO 20 themselves. Tweet your support: @Brakecharity, hashtag #GO20.