Sustrans calls for default 20mph speed limit in residential areas

Sustrans has called for residential areas to have a default speed limit of 20mph.

This is in response to research commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) that found 20mph limits are supported by the majority of residents and drivers.

However, it also found that since they were introduced there has only been a small reduction in median speed – less than one mile per hour.

The DfT said: “There is not enough evidence to conclude that that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits in residential areas.”

Xavier Brice, chief executive at Sustrans, said: “Lowering vehicle speed in built up residential areas to 20mph not only improves safety for our most vulnerable road users, but can hugely alter their perception of the dangers of traffic associated with cycling and walking on busy roads.

“This is why Sustrans would like residential areas to have a default speed limit of 20mph.

“This perceived danger can deter many people from travelling by bike or foot in our towns and cities.

“According to our 2018 ‘Women: reducing the gender gap’ report, 77 per cent of women feel that cycling safety needs to be improved in their city and 73 per cent never ride a bike.

“There is also a well-established body of evidence that shows slower speed limits results in fewer collisions and that when collisions do happen injuries are much less severe.

“Recent research into Bristol’s 20mph limits by the University of the West of England has shown that they save lives and also benefit Bristol’s economy by as much as £15 million per year.

“We need to continue to make our streets safer for people to walk and cycle and increase people’s perception of safety.

“There is no denying that lower speed limits make our streets safer, more inclusive and attractive for all.

“We strongly support the need for universal speed limits for all urban areas across the UK.”

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