It's time to make 20mph a default national speed limit to save lives, organisations say

Road Safety Week: Campaigners call for 20mph limits in built up areas

Sustrans, Brake, Living Streets, the National Heart Forum, 20’s Plenty for Us, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Ramblers have all joined forces to call for nationwide 20mph limits on built-up roads.

Coincidingwith the beginning of Road Safety Week, the joint call – GO 20 – is a coalition campaigning for the wider adoption of a 20mph limit on roads in cities, towns and villages across the UK.

There is a precedent – many cities are already implementing a 20mph limit on many streets across the country, but the likes of Sustrans is calling for it to be the national default limit.

Sustrans’ chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: “A 20mph national speed limit would save lives and make our streets better places to socialise, play, walk and cycle.

“It would also improve our health, tackling obesity and heart disease as well as reducing the burden on the NHS.

“A 20mph is already in place in many parts of the country, but a postcode lottery where children are safer in some areas than others is not acceptable.

“A new national limit would save money for public health, education and transport budgets, and the Government should now act to lower speeds on streets where we live, work and play."

Last week Netmums carried out a survey for Sustrans and found that 54 per cent of parents thought their children would be more physically active if speed limits were lowered, with 49 per cent identifying busy and dangerous roads as the main reason their children don’t walk or cycle to school.

The Brain Injury Group – a national network of specialist brain injury lawyers and support services – is also backing the 20mph speed limit call for urban areas.

Sally Dunscombe, director of Brain Injury Group, commented: “Our members encounter a wide range of brain injured people and a high proportion have suffered their injury as the result of a road crash. Together we work with people whose injuries are considered the fault of a third party, indicating that many of the road crashes that our clients are involved in were preventable through more careful driving."

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake: “We are delighted the Brain Injury Group is supporting Road Safety Week and helping us spread the word about making the roads safer for everyone to prevent devastating casualties.

“Our focus this year is on encouraging drivers to slow down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops so everyone can walk and cycle safely.”

“Our work highlights that road crashes cause terrible suffering and turn people’s lives upside down. Slowing down to 20mph makes an enormous difference in preventing road casualties and we are committed to playing our part by getting behind this important campaign.”

Statistics indicate that every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children (age 0 to17) are knocked down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike. In 2011 pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries went up significantly, bucking the long-term trend.

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