Many thousands of young people will get a bike this Christmas. Depending on age, a bike represents an amazing gift of independent mobility - freedom to roam. But, will they be allowed? What about giving us all 20mph limits so that getting about is safer at any age? This power is in the gift of local councillors. Ask your Councillors for 20mph today
Thousands of kids are getting excited about the bike and other mobility items - push scooters, roller blades, skateboards, wheelie trainers etc - for Christmas. They are fun and crucially, freedom to get active and go faster to their school, friends and play areas. Parents are giving not just a toy, but independent mobility - methods to get places without adults or a car. Healthy gifts to be active whilst going places for their everyday lives cheaply and quickly.
What matters is that children will use their new wheels well and as often as possible. But will parents let them out and about? And how regularly, where and with what level of training or supervision?
Key is perceived levels of road danger - especially by parents, but also by kids. Use of protected traffic free paths will generally be allowed. But, how close are these to home and how will children reach them? Not all parks allow cycling for instance.
So children can safely use direct routes, what they really need is for politicians to agree lower speeds and drivers to comply i.e. 20mph as the built up area limit for most roads.
It’s not children or the disabled that should get out of the way, but us adults who must provide environments that all can get about it. Children under 12 years cannot accurately judge vehicle speeds over 20mph due to underdeveloped vision. In Edinburgh, parents doubled permission to play out in 20mph areas.
NICE – the public health body that summarises evidence - recommends 20mph limits to protect children against unintended injury. NICE also says 20mph limits combat all age obesity, tackle causes of early death, promote active travel and cut pollution, provided humps aren’t used. 20mph leads to 20% fewer casualties.
Anna Semlyen, 20’s Plenty for Us National Campaign Manager - who’s 16 year old daughter is pictured - said
“I encourage Rosie to use safe routes. Once she leaves home it’s up to her. York’s side roads are 20mph. Yet she must also use 30mph routes e.g. bridges. If your place isn’t yet 20mph, the best gift that Councillors can give all local children is wide area 20mph. Help us all keep our healthy New Year’s resolutions to get fit.”
Wide area 20mph limits are a terrific boost to cycling and active travel for your town for all ages. Ask your Councillors for safer, quieter, less polluting 20mph limits today. A bike’s not just for Christmas!