Total 20 - a key intervention to Get Britain Cycling

Our briefing sheet for the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group when we gave evidence on 6th Feb 2013.

A 20mph speed limit on residential and urban roads is a key part of creating the necessary foundation for walking and cycling.  




Necessary foundation for active travel

Whilst lower speeds are not a panacea for all the problems facing society as it looks to increase active travel, it is one of the 3 necessary interventions if any cycling strategy is to succeed. The others being appropriate infrastructure and legal protection. Britain needs both better cycling facilities where speed limits are higher than 20mph and the presumed civil liability that exists in most EU countries in some form.

Challenges values and responsibilities as citizens

Lower speed limits go much further than this. By challenging the value of motor vehicle speed in crowded urban and community streets we actually help normalise motoring by recognising that slower motor vehicles not only reduce casualties but also create better and more vibrant communities. Travelling slower becomes not an imposition on the driver, but an opportunity for the driver to play a role in making those places better places for us all to be. 

Local authorities lead the way in being in-touch with communities

Local authorities with their close ties to community values and places have really pushed the development of “Total 20” policies (a 20mph default for most streets with exceptions as appropriate) .  20’s Plenty for Us now has 182 local campaigns around the country where communities are asking their councillors to change the balance on the roads in favour of people. Wherever 20mph limits are properly debated then  this usually results in implementation

Wide spectrum of beneficiaries

And that support comes across a wide spectrum of society representing children, cyclists, pedestrians, elderly, health professional, environmentalists as well as the economic argument for lower society costs for casualties and more active travel.

Its fast becoming the de-facto standard

Now many of our most iconic places such  as Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool , York, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Bath, Lancashire, Edinburgh and many more have less than 20% of their roads with a 30mph limit. In fact, the notion of 30mph as a “national” urban limits is becoming less credible each month. And in these places post-implementation surveys have shown 70-80% acceptance of 20mph limits as being right for community streets.

They work

Every local authority implementing wide-area pilots has experienced increased community support leading to authority-wide roll-out eg Bristol, Warrington, Lancashire, etc

It’s international

20mph or 30km/h limits are becoming the standard throughout EU for residential and town centre streets.

 What government should do:-

1)      Be bold in its support for active travel to create a better, fairer, healthier, richer and more resilient country.

2)      Provide a clear timetable by which time all local authorities will be expected to have implemented 20mph limits with exceptions as determined locally

3)      Allow flexibility in signage for traffic authorities to reverse  the default limit regarding signage and exceptions.

4)      Require that local authorities make adequate provision of alternative facilities for cycling and walking where limits are set above 20mph.

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