Road Safety News

Milestone for 20's Plenty

Thursday 9th August 2012

The '20's Plenty for Us campaign says there are now 150 places across the country where local residents are calling for community-wide 20mph speed limits.

A group in Brent (north London) became the 150th place to join the campaign, which calls for 20mph speed limits on residential roads, without the need for speed humps. Certain roads can be exempt and the limits are enforced by what 20's Plenty calls ‘light touch policing’.

20's Plenty says that more than eight million people now live in local authority areas that are committed to 20mph limits.

The campaign points to surveys 'consistently showing that more than 75% of people believe that 20mph is the right speed limit for residential roads'.

Rod King, founder and campaign director, said: “Celebrating our 150th local campaign is a proud landmark. It is a testament to the acceptance of the concept of lower speed limits for residential streets.

“The efforts of thousands of local campaigners are making the case for lower speeds in their communities and are delivering a real change in the way that our roads are shared for the benefit of all road users.”

Click here for more information, or contact Anna Semlyen, campaign manager, on 07572 120439.


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The blanket 20mph speed limit/Zone encourages drivers minds to wander, it makes conscientious drivers keep on looking down at their speedometer narrowing their field of vision, it gives pedestrians a false sense of security, it encourages drivers to ignore the limit in areas within the zone where a higher speed is safe to do so thus encouraging contempt for the limit overall. So in effect I would humbly suggest that lowering the existing limits is not going to increase road safety, contrary to the idea being being put out by inexperienced road users.

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I really should have stated that this idea of 20mph zones/limits is getting monotonous as opposed to boring. Do you really believe that reducing the limit to 20mph will actually save lives/reduce injury, because I can give you many real instances of actual deaths under that speed, reduced damage I grant you, but deaths/injuries no. Low speed impacts can cause a cyclist/pedestrian to go under the vehicle as opposed to being pushed aside as opposed to a higher speed. As I spent 17 years dealing with accident scenes as an accident investigator I think I am qualified to make this observation. I cannot agree with your interpretation of statistics, are you actually saying that the accident rate has NOT gone up, such as in the experimental 20mph zone in Portsmouth. If so, you must have sight to a different set of statistics than the ones commented on globally.

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A more interesting and revealing measure would be the number of pedestrians and cyclists injured in 20mph areas as a result of their false sense of security [safety].

"The campaign points to surveys
'consistently showing that more than 75% of people believe that 20mph is the right speed limit for residential roads'"

This simply reflects the response of an ill-informed public to questions from 20's Plenty.

Another recent RSGB report presents some of the negative road safety effects of 20mph
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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The academic approach to road safety and casualty reduction always amuses me. I am sure that I will be seen as a dinosaur but the great motoring public will do just as they please. I make this statement after twenty years as a road policing officer albeit a few years ago. However I drive to and from work and to many other places and they have not changed. Still I ride amongst the most ill disciplined law breaking section of the British public. People who would not for one moment consider consider shoplifting or assault and yet they will break traffic laws without a second thought despite potential death being on the end of it. They happily support a 20 limit or zone but will not adhere to it. However once they are in their car then they will drive as they see fit not as the law requires. Light touch policing is applied to so much today as to make it almost non-existent. If you cannot see a traffic patrol car at anytime on a journey that takes in M & A roads there is absolutely no chance of seeing any enforcement in a 20 limit. Cynical? YES Experienced? YES.
Alan Hale - South Gloucestershire.

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Iíve already banged on about the difference between 20mph zones and 20mph limits on a different page, along with actual speed reduction effects of the latter. On the subject of popular acceptance, itís true the British Social Attitudes survey shows over 70% of respondents favour 20mph limits, but it also shows that nearly 50% (or 2/3 of the above) favour traffic calming residential areas too. Making communities more ďliveableĒ is a fine ideal but does this really come from a 1mph reduction in mean speed? Itís easy to talk about light touch policing and low cost signage but these are resources which have to be diverted from somewhere else where they could be more effective. What is light-touch policing anyway? The implication is that it uses fewer resources than the alternative, presumably heavy-touch. Is this really so? And is there not a correlation between compliance and the actual threat of being caught and punished?
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

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As the IAM spokesman has just said, the jury is out on 20mph limits. From what I have seen in the way Portsmouth's results were spun to conjure up the impression of success from data that was at best meaningless, and from what I have seen of Continental studies confirming that misplaced confidence in being safe, and loss of driver concentration being prejudiced at such low speeds, my view is that 20mph limits are a naive and simplistic mistake, based on minimal understanding and research combined with wishful thinking.
Idris Francis

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The only boring aspect of this conversation is the message in your post. Oddly, it is your attitude that is 'head in the sand', being unwilling to accept that society cannot go on being dictated to by the motor car.

Accidents have not gone up per se in 20mph zones.

Accidents occurring within 20mph zones have risen. The reason they have risen is because of the significant increase in 20mph zones. If there are more roads with a 20mph limit, more accidents will occur in such zones rather than - QED.

Accidents will always occur whatever the speed limit but the results (injuries) will be minimised if vehicles are travelling more slowly.

Before you make such claims you really should apprise yourself of the statistics/facts and try to extrapolate accurately.

Don't believe propaganda you read on the www or in newspapers that support the unbridled growth of the use of motor cars.
Ashley Leaney

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This is really getting boring, OK let them have their 20 limit then we can just sit back and watch the accident/injury figures go up as has happened elsewhere where the 20 limit has been introduced. Talk about a head in the sand approach to road safety. We need to change attitudes not speed limits for goodness sake wake up sheeple...

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Good, but, if drivers kept WITHIN the 30mph limit (instead of about 30mph or more), there'd probably be no need for a 20mph 'limit'.
Nigel Cunningham, East Sussex

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