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Campaigners say IAM RoadSmart is trying to 'undermine' 20mph speed limits

20’s Plenty For Us points to WHO recommendation that 20mph is the right speed limit where vehicles conflict with pedestrians and cyclists

Not for profit organisation 20’s Plenty For Us has accused road safety charity IAM RoadSmart of attempting to ‘undermine’ 20mph speed limits. The campaign group has taken issue with IAM RoadSmart’s recent claim that “widespread confusion over 20mph may be undermining a more general trend to slow down.”

Responding to recent government speed compliance statistics which indicated that 81 per cent of car drivers exceeded the speed limit on 20mph roads, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said that there was a problem, “getting drivers to comply on the ever increasing number of roads in our towns and cities with a 20mph limit.”

IAM RoadSmart is against “blanket 20mph limits” and wholesale changes in the urban limit from 30mph to 20mph.

A policy document states its position as being that distributor roads should always remain as 30mph or above and that the key requirement of any 20mph zone must be that it is “self-enforcing” through signposting that makes sense or traffic calming features.

That document adds: “Research suggests that drivers use the clues from the environment around them to judge the correct speed. Where limits do not match the environment uncertainty and confusion are generated which can raise stress levels and provide an unwelcome distraction from safe driving and lead to a wider disrespect for limits.”

Rod King MBE, the founder and campaign director for 20’s Plenty for Us, took issue with IAM RoadSmart’s position.

“IAM RoadSmart would be more credible if they called on all speed limits to be obeyed rather than trying to undermine 20mph speed limits where people live, work, shop, play and learn. The call for default 20mph limits with exceptions is echoed by many health and road safety organisations, including WHO saying that 30kmh (20mph) is the right speed limit where vehicles conflict with pedestrians and cyclists.”

King also took aim at the government report, arguing that the 20mph roads included were not representative.

“The nine 20mph roads detailed in this report have very little in common with most residential and high street roads where communities set 20mph speed limits to make them safer and more comfortable.

“Even then, this report shows that compliance on these nine roads is improving. IAM RoadSmart keep complaining about “blanket 20mph limits” yet most authorities are using discretion to exclude such roads as this report references or add the appropriate engineering or enforcement to gain compliance.”

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