20mph is a ‘Vaccination’ for Built Up Area Residents

20mph limits are proven to prevent road injury, and reduce fear, fumes, noise and loneliness. Like universal vaccination, 20mph limits cost effectively raise public health in built up areas - due to less danger and greater physical exercise. Not to bring in 20mph could be grossly negligent. 

Including injuries unreported to the police, an estimated 700,000 or a staggering 1% of people are road injured yearly in the UK. Road deaths are rising. Prevention is better than cure and why universal vaccination is best practice to prevent disease and for herd immunity.  Spending a small amount on us all protects us from epidemics like measles.  Wide area 20mph limits are like a vaccination for the public realm. Everyone benefits from a minimal one-off cost (approx. £3 p head) as lower speeds offer healthier environments. 

Road danger from motorised traffic and it’s suppression of physical activity imposes a huge health burden.  The road danger epidemic costs at least £34.8bn or £540 p person pa [1].  Solutions are well known, yet under-implemented by politicians.  A popular (70+% support) and immediately implementable policy is lower speed limits – 20’s Plenty - wide area, default, mandatory 20mph limits for as many roads as possible with a health education campaign persuading drivers of the benefits of adoption and compliance.

Health economists study cost effective health interventions.  20mph limits were found to pay for themselves in reduced casualties in Warrington in six weeks.  Wide area 20mph limits are policy in over half of the largest 40 authorities in the UK as they were calculated to pay back quickly. 20mph limits are best practice according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE), Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, Dept for Transport, ROSPA, BRAKE and more[2].

The Urban Design Group recently wrote:-

Many local authorities have accepted 20 mph as the norm for urban areas.  Others remain reluctant.  Research published in 2011 (Wann, Poulter and Purcell) on perception of speed found that ‘children may not be able to detect vehicles approaching at speeds in excess of 20 mph’. This creates a risk of injudicious road crossing in urban settings when traffic speeds are higher. The risk is exacerbated because vehicles moving faster are more likely to result in pedestrian fatalities”.  Local authorities who fail to introduce 20 mph limits need to think hard whether they are being negligent in discharging their duties towards all road users, and in the case of children, on the basis of this research, grossly negligent.  In the event of a child’s death the path could be clear for prosecution for gross negligence, manslaughter and corporate manslaughter.”[3]


20’s Plenty calls on all Local Authorities to vaccinate us from preventable road harm with 20mph limits. We deserve safer, healthier, less risky environments.  Indeed authorities have a duty of care to ensure public health protection.  Plus 20mph limits will, quite simply, make all of our places better places to be. That’s why 300 campaign branches of 20’s Plenty for Us lobby their Councillors for 20mph limits where they live.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.