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20's Plenty for Us campaign welcomes proposals designed to reduce child casualties...

Members of the European Parliament are calling for speed limits on residential roads and single-lane roads without cycle tracks throughout the European Community to be reduced to 30 kilometres an hour in the interests of road safety. That would equate to 20 miles an hour in the UK, and the move has been welcomed by the campaign group 20’s Plenty for Us, which lobbies for that limit to be put in place.

The proposal is one of the key recommendations made by the EU Transport and Tourism Committee comprising MEPs from various member states drawn from across the political spectrum and which has the target of halving the number of road deaths and injuries on Europe’s roads by 2020.

In a press release outlining measures that it believes will help lead to that goal being realised, the committee recommends that a 30kph speed limit be introduced throughout the EU, and says that the result would be to cut the number of children aged below 14 who are killed by 60 per cent, and those who are injured by 40 per cent. It also says that children should be given lessons in road safety at the earliest possible opportunity.

While the recommendation for lower speed limits would be welcomed by cycling campaigners, the committee also says that cyclists “should be encouraged to wear helmets and reflective vests after nightfall” – whether that ‘encouragement’ extends to seeking to make them compulsory remains to be seen.

The news follows a recent decision by Minister for Transport Norman Baker to make it easier for local authorities to put 20mph zones in place.

Rod King, Founder and Campaign Director for 20’s Plenty for Us said: “We have been working with MEPs for some time to show how the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign in the UK is attracting wide political and community support as an effective initiative to reduce danger on our roads and develop the right conditions to make our streets better places to be.

“This recommendation is recognition of not only the success of lower speeds in the countries already adopting wide area 30km/h limits and that, as evidenced in the UK, it is possible to “retro-fit” our streets with lower speeds that are accepted by communities and result in reduced casualties.

He added: “We now have over 5 million people living in towns, villages and counties where the local authority has adopted a Total 20 policy. 20 really is Plenty where people live and this new recommendation of best practice from a European perspective reflects the importance of this move towards a safer and more pleasant street environment for us all.”

20mph speed limits have already been introduced in a number of British cities including Bristol and Liverpool which this month announced plans to cut extend 20mph zones to 70 per cent of the city's residential streets, other cities looking at 20mph limits include Cambridge, Norwich, Brighton and Bath. In the past one of the stumbling blocks for their introduction has been the reluctance of some police forces to commit the manpower necessary to enforce them. Given the cuts in both police numbers and to speed camera partnerships enforcement is still likely to be an issue. However, the idea has proved overwhelmingly popular with the people who live in such zones and their proliferation should help to get the message across that driving at inappropriate speeds on residential streets is socially unacceptable.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

37 comments

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Recumbenteer [174 posts] 6 years ago
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Let's face it, most cars do not travel at a constant speed in rush-hour congestion. It's stop-start,gear-stick shuffle stuff. The 20 mph limit's most important when the congestion isn't there.

it would encourage more cycling and that's good. More bikes=fewer cars.

Then we want to exclude I-C vehicles from town centres.

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Recumbenteer [174 posts] 6 years ago
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Recumbenteer [174 posts] 6 years ago
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The 1997 fuel-efficiency chart is for constant speed and therefore is only a rough guide.

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roadracedave [72 posts] 6 years ago
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I am all for reducing speed limits in residential streets, and side roads, but I can't help feel that it will give people a false sense of security. Nowadays, all of the blame is on the driver, because they are in a big motor-driven metal box, yet the people that walk out in front of them are allowed to do so.

Reducing speed limits to 20mph, will make people think that it is safe for their children to play football in the road out the front, and that there is less danger. There may be less deaths, but there will still be injuries, and surely we should be trying to reduce that as much as we are deaths.

I just think that pedestrians will get the wrong idea by reducing speed limits, after all these are roads we are talking about, surely it should be the pedestrians responsibility to look around them and not walk accross a road if a car is coming, not the driver's responsabilty to drive so slowly that if a pedestrian does decide they want to walk out they can stop? We should be encouraging use of parks for children to play in, and zebra crossings for people to cross at.

On the note of efficiency, I know from closely monitoring my mpg needle, that my car is most fuel-efficient around the 40-50mpg range, and at 20mph you will be continuosly changing up and down between 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear, which isn't fuel-efficient at all. It's also worth noting that at 20mph, in say 3rd gear, most cars will be running at practically idle, and will be almost silent. While this is generally good, it will only add to the 'false sense of security'.

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alg [180 posts] 6 years ago
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I am torn between the devil and the deep blue sea on this.
As a cyclist and a Grandad 20mph is good but as a motorist its not always so good. The problem is speed limits need to make sense to all users and even I can cycle faster than 20 with a fair wind; so does 20 apply to me too?
To a motorist 20 only makes sense in very limited areas like school zones; heaven help the BMW that runs over my Granddaughter. But elsewhere else its very slow progress and drivers need to be able to see why it applies in order to respect it.
Like most things safety is basically common sense but sense is so often spoiled by the do-good brigade; speed humps being a perfect example of good intentions giving bad outcomes for all users.

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AleT [54 posts] 6 years ago
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I suspect that most people who live in a residential area and have kids, want a 20mph limit outside their house. It is a massive act of selfishness to want a 30mph limit everywhere else.

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farrell [1946 posts] 6 years ago
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I drive, in fact I've even been a white van man at times, I'll even admit to occasionally exceeding the speed limit, I dont have children and I cant see how a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas is an act of selfishness.

I think some roads should possibly be even lower than that, I grew up playing football on streets (and two weeks a year of street tennis when Wimbledon came around) and didnt have to worry about cars speeding down the road. If kids tried that now on the same street they would almost certainly be cleaned out, more than likely by someone cutting through to Tesco.

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