For the second Decade of Action for Road Safety the United Nations has endorsed the setting of 30km/h (20mph) maximum speed limits wherever pedestrians, cyclists or other vulnerable road users mix with motor vehicles.
Following the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in February 2020, the General Assembly of the UN has endorsed the Stockholm Declaration as key to delivering its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 in its 2nd UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. This has a new target to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. Within the Declaration the resolution on Speed Management was :-
“the strengthening of law enforcement to prevent speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe”
It noted that :-
“efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries;”
In moving a default speed limit of 30km/h (20mph) into the global mainstream of practical initiatives for both road safety and air quality/climate change, the UN is promoting sustainable mobility.
The endorsement by the UN is timed to benefit from the adoption of mandatory speed limiters on cars which will have a dramatic positive effect on driver compliance.
Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director for 20’s Plenty commented:
“This announcement lays the responsibility for setting safe and equitable default urban and village speed limits at national governments. It is no longer acceptable to have a national 30mph limit and expect local authorities to do all the work to change local limits to the accepted global standard that 20 is plenty where people walking and cycling mix with motor vehicles. Just like air quality, smoking in public places, child protection and seatbelt wearing and so many other issues, where we have a national consensus and value on what is right and proper, then we should set that standard nationally.
The Welsh Government is already planning the change of its national urban/village default limit from 30mph to 20mph. We expect other countries around the world to follow with national implementations which are sensible, smart, cost effective and consistent.
In the UK, the government has supported both the Stockholm Declaration and the UN Resolution. It’s time for it to turn that support into practical action. It’s time for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to join Wales and set a national urban/village limit of 20mph that aligns with what is now the accepted global standard for allowable vehicle speeds where people mix with motor vehicles.”
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