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City of London studying introduction of 20mph speed limit

Measure designed to improve cyclists' safety follows consultation over transport policy...

The City of London Corporation is considering imposing 20mph speed limits on some or perhaps all of the streets in the capital’s Square Mile under proposals designed explicitly to improve the safety of cyclists, due in part to a massive rise in the number of people using bikes there.

The reduced speed limit could be applied just to local streets within the City, London’s historical financial district, or could be extended to “red routes” administered by Transport for London (TfL), reports the Evening Standard.

John Biggs, Labour London Assembly member for the City and East, told the newspaper: "I think the City of London is almost the perfect place to have a 20mph zone because of the number of pedestrians and cyclists and its narrow streets.

"There are a number of streets which are TfL roads, such as Bishopsgate, Farringdon and Lower Thames Street. It would be good if TfL could comply with this as well."

The idea of reducing speed limits follows a public consultation on how to implement transport policy drawn up across the Thames at City Hall within the Square Mile, with more than 90% of the responses received coming from cyclists.

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has welcomed the proposals, saying that the speed limit would contribute towards a reduction in what it termed an “unacceptable" number of cyclists killed or injured in the City, a figure that has risen since 2003.

The introduction of such a limit is the subject of a long-running campaign by LCC local group City Cyclists, and more information regarding that can be found here.

Another proposal being considered by TfL is reducing the speed limit to 20mph on four of the capital’s bridges, joining Tower Bridge where the lower limit is already in force and has improved safety of cyclists, says the Standard. Such a measure would save an estimated £7 million each year due to the reduction in the number of accidents.

A spokesman for the City of London told the Standard: "City of London members are looking at some themes that emerged from public consultation on the draft 2011 City of London local implementation plan.

"One of those themes concerns speed limits in the City. The [streets and walkways] sub-committee felt that more consideration might be given to this and, over the next few months, members generally will consider whether they wish to examine that issue, and any others, in more detail," he added.

Incidentally, when we looked at the article on the Standard website, we were first presented with an advert splashed across the page from the Mayor of London and TfL urging drivers to “Think! Look out for motorcyclists when turning across bus lanes.”

That ad is presumably intended in part to make drivers aware that motorbikes are now allowed to use the capital’s bus lanes, although we can’t help thinking that it wouldn’t have been a bad thing to remind them to look out for pedal-powered cyclists, too.

Simon has been news editor at 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.

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