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Holyrood will vote on bill for lower speed limts in the New Year

Cycling UK has thrown its support behind a bill from a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) calling for 20 miles an hour to become the default speed limit in urban areas in the country.

A vote on the bill, introduced by Mark Ruskell, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife for the Scottish Green Party, will take place at Holyrood in the New Year.

So far, 20 of the 128 MSPs entitled to vote have pledged their backing to The Proposed Restricted Roads (20mph Limit) (Scotland) Bill.

The charity is now calling on members across the country, and in particular those from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, neither of which has endorsed it, to give their backing to the proposals.

Local authorities in Scotland would be able to set higher speed limits on arterial roads, but Cycling UK says the lower speed limits on other urban roads would mean safer streets and reduced air pollution.

Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, said: "The adoption of 20mph as the default speed limit in urban and residential areas across Scotland is the opportunity to redefine the spaces between our homes, changing them from 'roads' to 'streets'.

“With lower speeds, dangerous thoroughfares become public spaces where it’s easier to walk, cycle, socialise and play. We support Mark Ruskell’s 20mph bill and would encourage Scotland’s MSPs to lend their weight to it in advance of the vote next year.”

Suzanne Forup, the charity’s head of development for Scotland, commented: “The Scottish Government’s recent doubling of the active travel budget will help more people to walk and cycle for everyday trips, and Cycling UK believes that the adoption of 20mph speed limits in our urban areas will support the Scottish Government’s welcome investment in active travel.

We are urging Cycling UK members to contact their MSPs and ask them to support the 20mph bill, so that lower urban speeds are the norm, our streets become safer and more people choose to cycle.”

In July, the charity IAM RoadSmart said that signs denoting 20mph zones were not enough to deter drivers from speeding and called for greater enforcement of the speed limit after government statistics showed that in 2016, four in five motorists failed to comply with it.

> 20mph speed limits ignored by four in five drivers

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.