posted 6 years ago

Safety Charity Calls for 20mph Speed Limit

The British speed limit in towns and villages should be slashed from 30mph to 20mph, argues road safety charity Brake

The British speed limit in towns and villages should be slashed from 30mph to 20mph, argues road safety charity Brake. The “20's Plenty in Communities” campaign therefore calls for the Government to encourage – and of course fund - the lower limit, and for motorists to recognise it is the “compassionate and responsible way to drive”. Brake is also calling for local authorities to construct more pavements, paths, and crossings to protect pedestrians and cyclists - and for the wider enforcement of urban limits courtesy of average speed cameras. Brake also believes that “people should be able to walk and cycle safely in their communities without fear” which is “good for health, well-being, and the environment”.

Brake has a “Rural Roads Are Not Racetracks” message too. The charity therefore says – based on reports from Direct Line and The Transport Research Laboratory – that some drivers have a “false sense of security on rural roads” and that “a 10% increase in mean average speed results in a 30% increase in fatal and serious crashes”. Brake is therefore calling for motorists to “drive as though someone or something could be round any corner” and to stay “well under speed limits”. Brake also claims that the Government should lower the default rural limit from 60mph to 50mph and require local authorities to implement limits of 40mph, 30mph and 20mph where there are particular risks. This - in Brake's ideal world - would complement new off-road cycle/walking paths, wider speed limit enforcement, and campaigns focussed at school children which explain the risks of overtaking on rural roads.

Brake also has a “No to 80mph Motorways” message as the Government is considering increasing the limit. The charity therefore claims - based on a report by Professor Rune Elvic in The Guardian - that the proposal is “predicted to lead to more crashes, deaths and serious injuries”. Furthermore, Brake says a Transport Select Committee report concluded “higher speeds would do little to reduce journey times” and “it would mean a bigger speed differential between commercial vehicles and faster-travelling traffic which could cause bunching and congestion.” Brake is therefore calling for the proposal to be scrapped.


Some stupendously ignorant comments on here. My bike isn't licenced because cyclists kill almost nobody. Your car is dangerous heavy machinery which is why drivers need to be licenced. Is it so hard to understand? You know if you have something in your life that is expensive, dangerous, you think it brings you pleasure but it just brings pain, and you cannot do without it, you know what that is? That is an addiction. You are addicted to your cars. Organisations like Brake speak for motorists because so many of you are not responsible enough to speak for yourselves.

Same old arguments from the "we've got a right to drive as fast as possible" brigade, I'm surprised we haven't had the argument "30 zones should be 50 zones because at 50mph the pedestrian that would have been hit wouldn't even have stepped off the pavement yet". Yes I have heard that argument made around 20years ago in a motoring magazine! Oh yes the poor oppressed motorist, I've never known a motorist to not moan about the cost of fuel as if it is some god given right that should be supplied for free. About time cars started paying more and sharing the roads properly. Arguing that just because they pay so many billions in tax so should have extra rights is like saying that alcoholics should have extra rights and jump the queue for NHS treatment. We all pay tax, right? I don't even use motorways yet you drivers get those all to yourselves to speed around to hearts content without having to think about pedestrians, cyclists or horses. How is that fair, I pay for them too yet I can't even use them!!

Why not go the full Hogg and have someone walk in front of all motor vehicles waving a red flag. Or go further still and ban all motor vehicles from our roads and then watch the economy collapse due to lack of revenue. Perhaps then these people from 'BRAKE' would be happy !

Brake should look at every road user's behaviour. But do you know why they concentrate on motorists, it's because in 2011: 1,901 people were killed on UK's roads. Cyclists killed 0 people in in 2011 AFAIK. It's a similar story whichever year you pick in the last 20 - 30 years for which data is available in some format. I believe in evidence based policing and laws. To me evidence points at motorists killing people (accidents or otherwise). So to me policing and calming measures should be aimed at us motorists first. Lastly, there are errant road users (whether they be car drivers or cyclists). I see several red light jumpers every day (both cars and bicycles). I also see lots of people driving whilst on their mobiles and/or definitely speeding. I don't condone red light jumping but simple physics has it that 70kg person on a 12 kg bike has about 30 times less energy than a 1.5 ton car. Guess which one is going to do more damage when they hit a person. Also, from what I have seen vast majority of cyclists that jump lights do so to get ahead of traffic that's revving behind them and look before doing so (there are some which run through lights though), almost all of the red light jumpers for cars/van have been drivers accelerating to go through amber or even through red (after it's been red for a few seconds). Now you tell me what's more dangerous.

Brake’s ‘safety’ zealots really should emigrate to Sark, where there are only tractors and horses to haul and carry goods and passengers. The desire to blanket all residential areas with 20 limits covers many places where 20mph is unattainable. Central London’s average speed of traffic is barely 11mph, and accidents still happen due to negligence and carelessness on behalf of all road and pavement users. Study impact speeds of vehicles and pedestrians and the vast majority are below 15mph. People – drivers, do not go around with any desire to maim and kill, but such nonsensical claims will be made by the foolish. If Brake seriously wanted to prevent bunching on motorways, reducing speed limits will increase the probability of same, not the opposite. Witness the tight bunching through road works where speed is controlled by average speed specs systems. Bunching is dangerous. There is reduced accessibility for lane changing to gain either exits or entries. These ‘safety experts’ amongst brake have little idea of road safety at all. Just a desire to become influential amongst like-minded bigots. Brakes ignorance even extends to calling for “off-road” cycling and walking paths. ALL footpaths and cycleways available to the general public are on public Highways. ‘Off-road’ is off any public highway and may be prone to charges of trespass without specific permission for passage thereof. Furthermore, if brake are claiming the Transport Select Committee state increasing speed limits will not affect journey times, why are we so keen to introduce High Speed rail links? To decrease journey times perchance? From a retired professional driver of over forty-five years, accident free, and currently clean licence though it has not always been so. One can drive safely in excess of posted limits – ask the Police. But the circumstances must be right. In residential areas, 30 is the allowed maximum, but that does not make driving at 30 necessarily safe, nor does it at 20 or even 10 on occasion. In 20’s plenty campaign there is no room nor presence for common-sense. Education, consideration and responsible attitudes are all it takes to meet and match any road safety targets.

As always lets clobber the driver! Yes, some are irresponsible in their attitude but pedestrians and cyclists also have to take some responsibility. People crossing roads, when there is a crossing a few yards further along because they cant be bothered walking that far. How often do you see cyclists going through red lights? Do the rules of the road not apply to them? Of course they do but its the motorist who is the easy target so lets blame them for it all. I don't know who these people at Brake are but get a life and look at everyone on the roads, not just drivers!

I see brake wants to indoctrinate our children too. Did'nt funny little german bloke with a 'tache'try that

Loving the blaming of the pedestrian for getting run over, some motorists attitudes are absolutely abhorrent and should be screened before they are given a licence. Victim blaming nonsense, they don't even deserve to be called human beings. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time yet some motorists think its ok to punish those mistakes with death or serious injury, heaven forbid their (usually unnecessary)journey should take ever so slightly longer. 20 is plenty around housing estates, and all non A roads should be max 40mph. Walkers, cyclists, horseriders, let's unite and reclaim the roads, especially those B roads that all the wanabee Jeremy Clarksons think are their own personal race tracks. Anyone who has ever walked or cycled along some of the B roads round my way would find it a petrifying experience, especially at night. Also 20mph would make it a lot more peaceful, I don't appreciate a motor vehicle roaring past my house at 3am thank you very much, it's anti social.

Here we go again...the muppets with anoraks who wish us all in pedal cars: no noise, no pollution, no obese people - no money for a wasteful government! Better to licence all bicycles surely? What is a safety charity? Do they want to stop medical operations (some could and do go wrong) and have us revert to the stone age......these people ought to have something better to do. I wonder who fund them and whether they always follow what they preach. Why is this site promoting these retrobates?

If some of the outrageous and wild comments on here made by the ignorant motorists translate in to their driving, it's no wonder cyclists and pedestrians feel intimidated by them...

It is not so much the speed limits that need to change but the attitude of car driver. Too meny drivers think that because the maximum speed limit is 30 that they have to drive at 30+ rather than following the highway code and driving at a suitable speed for the road comditions. So meny times I've had to take evasive action on a narrow, parked up road with blind bends because someone was driving to fast!!. Last year my car was written off by someone thinking that because the road is straight and wide they can treat it as a race track!!. Too meny drivers need to be better educated in roadway manors and refresher courses in the highway code. Non of these can be solved by solely reducing the speed limits.

The sheer ignorance of some people baffles me. 1) A car going at a ridiculous speed is more likely to injure a person than if it was going at a sensible rate; that's not a difficult thing to see. 2)Making cyclists the target because of a 'few bad ones' is a terrible generalisation. There are enough awful motorists I see on a daily basis flouting the rules; probably the same people arguing that "It's everyone else's fault". 3)Using a mobile phone IS a distraction, and does cause SOME people to be more hazardous. You make it illegal for everyone, as how would you prove you're okay? And how long until you're a dangerous one? As both a cyclist and a daily motorist I get so frustrated with this age old argument. We both choose our own path, can't we just share it FFS?

If more people slowed down around schools and residential areas, more people might consider not doing the school run / short commute to work in their car. May choose to walk or heaven forbid, cycle. That as two benefits, first it's cheaper for the parent/commuter and secondly for those who do need to drive, you have a less congested road. Separately, when we're driving, we're in control of a 1.5 tons or more of a potentially lethal machine. The onus is on us first and foremost to look out for vulnerable road users. Finally, us drivers are on Her Majesty's highway by licence and not by right. Horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists have a free right to use the public highway. If you don't like it then write to your MP.

My god! The comments on here simply display the arrogance some drivers have towards other road users. Pedestrians, cyclists, horse rider, motorised wheelchairs (among others) all have a right to use the road. If you can't drive safely SLOW DOWN. It won't kill you to reach your destination a few minutes later, and you'll likely save a few quid running your car at low revs in the process. 20 is plenty in built up areas especially around schools. So get over it. By the way, Road Tax arguments are bogus as it was abolished in 1937 and roads are paid for out of general taxation.

A number of recent correspondents to [insert local newspaper here] have suggested that cyclists should pay ‘road tax’. However, road tax was abolished 75 years ago. It’s now car tax, does not pay for roads, and is not a fee to use roads. Roads are paid for by local and national taxation not vehicle excise duty. Motoring taxes haven’t been ring-fenced to pay for roads since 1937 when the Road Fund and ‘road tax’ were abolished. The terms, however, have lingered and many people assume that the ‘road fund licence’ still exists and that ‘road tax’ pays for roads. This mistaken belief leads some people to think cyclists have lesser rights to be on UK roads because they do not pay ‘road tax’. In fact, motorists and cyclists have equal rights to be on UK roads. Low-emission cars attract zero car tax. Bicycles do not have exhaust pipes so would fall into the same category and would also pay £0. Motorists and cyclists are often the same people: most cyclists own cars. 87 percent of British Cycling members are car owners. Should your readers wish to find out more about who and what pays for roads, and why organisations such as the AA, the Post Office and the Plain English Campaign never use the phrase ‘road tax’, they should visit

I think 20 is a stupid idea its pedestrians faults in majority of cases not a drivers speed I had some stupid woman decide to cross behind my car which had reverse lights on for gods sake.

It is not speed that kills, it is lack of appropriate driving skills to apply the correct speed to the road conditions, and as has been mentioned lack of awareness by pedestrians and cyclists. I remember the days of cable brakes, when some of these speed limits were set, and modern cars have improved exponentially since then, do we all have to go back to the lowest common denominator (idiot level>)

I find it hard to believe that we the car drivers who I might add pay a tax to use our cars on the roads seam to always get the blunt end of the stick. Where as bikers pay nothing to use the roads and think they are always in the wright, as a professional driver who drives some 35 to 40000 miles a year and often sees bikers without any lights and weaving in and out off stationery trafic likewise pedestrians who walk down country lanes in the dark with out any light clothing. So hears an idear how about taxing bikers to use the roads and pedestrians to use the pavements and not just to think they have the wright to walk out in front of moving trafic and then see if this helps in reducing the amount of accidents on the roads

I've got a great idea. Why don't we make it compulsory for a man with a flag to walk in front of any automobile to warn pedestrians? Why bother reporting and giving an audience to a anti motoring group on a website called "motoring"?

I have several cars and several push bikes. I do 20,000 miles per annum in cars and 2,500 miles per on my push bikes. I do all of my biking in the countryside. On a bke your ears are very important so using headphones while cycling is not smart. Pedestrians seem to wander into the road as if they are immune to the laws of physics. What happened to stop look and listen. Finally as a cyclist the condition of country roads is so poor often you are forced to move away from the kerb to avoid potholes or unkept hedges. Speed is not the issue, paying attention to your surroundings for ALL parties is. It also seems the local authorities do nothing to improve risk areas. Has anybody on a bike tried negotiating a sleeping policeman or traffic cusshion on a push bike as the road is invariably broken up around these "safety" instalations. Finally which smart RS came up with turning off street lights. I am also a pedestrian and it does wonders for your visibility and safety!

What utter nonsense. We should come down much harder on pedestrians with no road or traffic sense. Some of these "holier than thou" folk who prattle on about lowering speed limits more & more and bringing the country to a grinding halt should have to pass a test before they are even allowed out of the front door in my humble opinion. Re-educate the non-drivers is what I say, and while you're at it, force the cyclists to fall in line with the rest of us road users..and obey the rules of the highway...not just when it suits them!

First we get a blanket ban on cellphone usage that means a guy like myself who has over ten thousand miles of radio and cellphone while driving WITHOUT an accident over the last twenty years is suddenly faced with major fines, then as we see the police disappearing from the roads we get stupid drops in speed limits because the cars are being designed to a lower standard and pedestrians and bikers are breaking laws about how they behave around the roads. If pedestrians went back to looking before crossing instead of taking the attitude that they can cross anywhere and cars must stop for them, the accident rate would go down. Also, make them use the crossings they have been given and start allowing them to report those idiots who drive through the crossings without stopping... Also, require bikes to stop at stop lights and yeild to pedestrians at crossings and require motorbikes to only pass and filter through traffic when the traffic is doing more than ten miles per hour under the posted speed limits... if this does not slow down the accident rate then consider dropping the speed limits on the rest of us who are trying to deliver your goods to you! Making the roads safer by proper widths would help also!