More 20mph Council Myths

Councillors and council officers don’t always tell the truth on 20mph limits. Here we bust some more of the common myths. See also part 1 about A and B roads, current average speeds over 24mph, unsupportive police and collision history.

Myth to manage expectations

Reality refs paragraphs in DfT Guidance on Setting Local Speed Limits 01/2013

This Council can’t afford 20mph limits– UNTRUE

There’s been no Council ruling group (or coalition) agreeing with wide-area 20mph principles where the same politicians couldn’t find the funds. Political will matters.  20mph limits are as ‘cheap as chips’ in transport terms. Spending has been £2-£3 per head of urban population. Signage now requires 70% fewer capital items. £1.50 per head is todays minimum.

The Do Nothing option is cheaper – UNTRUE

Doing nothing is to decide not prevent about 20% of current casualties and incur huge inactivity costs – adding up to millions – work out your authority’s costs at See 3 options for Scotland at Councils duty of care!

 Limits won’t take us down to driving speeds of 20mph so aren’t worth doing– UNTRUE

It’s really no surprise that some drivers still speed in 20mph limits.  Errant drivers do this at any limit – 30, 40 etc.  The key benefit is that average speeds fall. This brings massive public health gains. Highway Authorities do not risk liability if a 20mph limit is set and not adhered to by drivers

A fall in average speeds of 1-2mph isn’t worth having – UNTRUE

Even a 1mph reduction in average speeds cuts crashes by 6%.  The population wide benefit of this across all streets is huge for public health. See the prevention paradox at

Also see our new FAQ on this issue at


Councillors worry that It will lose them votes – UNTRUE

Research consistently says 20mph limits are popular. Support rises post implementation.  Just explain the facts to objectors - 20mph is safer, cleaner, quieter and won’t significantly affect journey times and they’ll often support it.

A blanket 20mph must be applied everywhere UNTRUE

Major roads can be left at 30mph or higher speeds so long as “the needs of vulnerable road users must be fully taken into account” Para 32

Negative to the local economy UNTRUE

Businesses thrive where it is safe to walk and cycle. Fuel costs drop. Tourists love 20mph

It often boils down to “pre-speeds are so high that physical calming would be needed and we can’t afford that so SPEEDS MUST STAY HIGH!”  Yet, the requirement to set the correct limit and compliance methods are different matters.  Stay positive. 20mph limits are best practice and you are right to call for them! More myths are busted at

Open PDF

Showing 1 reaction

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