Reducing Speed Limits in Residential Areas

Following the talk at our recent Public Meeting from Friends Of the Earth regarding their campaign to reduce speed limits to 20 mph on Birmingham’s residential roads,  you may have seen the subject in the news in recent days.  Britain has some of the safest roads in Europe but there are government targets to reduce road accidents further.  FOE will be pleased with the adoption of  the new limits in some of the London Councils as reported in the Evening Standard:

“Eight London Councils have revealed they are introducing 20 mph limits on residential roads. Islington has already confirmed it will be the first borough in the country to introduce a blanket limit next month.  Hackney plans to follow suit by 2012.  Merton said research strengthened the case for blanket limits.

Researchers found 20mph zones were associated with 40% reduction in casualties and collisions.  The greatest reduction in accidents was amongst children and seriously injured. Pedestrian injuries were reduced by nearly a third and cycling casualties by 17%.  Reductions were greatest in children aged under 11.

There was no evidence of “casualty migration” to areas bordering the 20mph zones.  The effect of the 20mph zones was that of a steep reduction in casualties and collisions by an amount that has taken over 20years to achieve on roads without 20mph zones.  The evidence supports the rationale for 20mph zones not just in major cities but also in similar metropolitan areas elsewhere”

This information was extracted from The London Evening Standard published on Friday 11th December 2009, who in there editorial welcomed the reduction of accidents from 20mph zones. However, there was a need to find balance in the needs of all road users- including drivers, and the risk from increasing congestion and delays.

On a further interesting point; the option of using 20mph zones were discussed in council at Birmingham, back in mid 2009, were it was stated that there is a need for greater consultation around the involvement of 20mph zones, having been identified.  Although there was a target to introduce 20mph zones outside every Primary School in the City and the possibility of different coloured street furniture around schools to alert drivers was being considered.

What do you think about a 20 mph speed limit on residential roads in Acocks Green?  Let us know by adding your comments.

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