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British Cycling says 20mph Restricted Roads Bill would make streets safer pedestrians and cyclists

A proposal to introduce a 20mph speed limit for residential streets and minor roads in Scotland has been rejected by the Scottish Parliament committee which has been examining the plans. British Cycling expressed disappointment at the decision, arguing that the bill is a ‘golden opportunity’ to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Earlier this month, Scottish transport minister, Michael Matheson, said he wouldn’t back a blanket reduction of the national speed limit as part of the 20mph Restricted Roads Bill without more evidence.

A majority of MSPs on Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee have now decided not to recommend approval of the bill, arguing that the “one size fits all” approach proposed is inappropriate.

Committee convener, and Highlands Tory MSP Edward Mountain, told the Press and Journal:  “The committee is of the view that local authorities should have the flexibility to decide where new 20mph zones would be most effective and appropriate for their areas.”

Reducing default speed limits to 20mph is one of the five key asks of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, which comprises British Cycling, the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans.

British Cycling Policy Manager Nick Chamberlin said: “We know from our State of Cycling survey that vehicle speed is one of the top three biggest hazards faced by our members. This bill presented MSPs with a golden opportunity to make our streets safer and more welcoming for people travelling by bike or on foot, giving them a real alternative to travelling by car.

“Figures released by the Department for Transport just yesterday show that 71 per cent of people are now in favour of 20mph speed limits in residential areas, and recent moves in London, Wales and elsewhere show that momentum behind reducing vehicle speed is building day-by-day.

“We sincerely hope that SNP MSPs in particular will take time to carefully consider the impact of this decision before the vote goes before the Scottish Parliament next month.”

The Safer Streets bill will be voted on in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday June 13.

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