Speed reduction would have considerable health and safety benefits, says report

Bristol could be set for a blanket 20mph speed limit if a report prepared by three of the city’s most powerful and influential organisations is acted upon, reports the Bristol Evening Post.

The city council, NHS Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE) have produced the report which concludes that a reduction in both the speed and volume of motorised traffic will improve safety and, when combined with increased walking and cycling, improve the health of citizens.

Currently two 20mph zones are being piloted in what are largely residential areas of the city and the report envisages a Bristol which is more pleasant for pedestrians, cyclists and those using public transport.

"A city-wide extension of the current pilot 20mph speed limits is assessed as helping to achieve this," the report says.

For the NHS, Bristol's Director of Public Health Dr Hugh Annett said: "Physical activity through walking and cycling is one of the most important ways to improve health.

"Road danger reduction is integral to making walking and cycling more attractive, safer, and in making Bristol a truly healthy city."

Councillor Dr Jon Rogers said: "This is an excellent report. It indicates how we can further improve road safety while promoting sustainable modes of transport.

"Encouraging safer, friendlier and healthier ways of getting around our city is the way to go."

Dr Paul Pilkington, a UWE senior lecturer in public health said: "The Knowledge Transfer Partnership has demonstrated the benefits of co-operation between the local council, NHS, and UWE when it comes to ensuring Bristol is a healthy city – in this case, a city where the road environment is safer for all."

Unsurprisingly, the comments below the Post article bear witness to the fact that not everyone in the city approves of a notional Bristol-wide 20mph limit.

“John” of Bristol helpfully adds his considerable intellect to the debate, offering us both a searing political analysis and an update on the state of his health with: “Bloody fascists on bicycles. Makes me sick!”

A like-minded poster calling itself “its all gone mad” gives us the benefit of its no doubt unimpeachable engineering insight: “Vehicle aren't made to drive at 20mph everywhere, this will course [sic] excessive fuel consumption and raise the pollution levels. What a brilliant idea!!!”

We think that last sentence may be sarcasm.