Starting with London, cities across the United Kingdom are introducing a 20 mph limit on most of its city roads. Almost 25% of the roads in London have 20 mph restrictions and now this limit is being extended to some red routes which are some of London’s busiest roads.
Opponents of this speed limit remind the officials that this was the speed limit back in the early 20th century. The cars are now much safer so does it really make sense to have a speed limit of 70 mph on the highways and a mere 20 mph on the byways.
Pros of 20 mph speed limit
The advantages of this new lower speed limit are enormous and UK residents are already reaping the harvest with lower casualties:
· You cut road deaths by 40% by going from 30 mph to 20 mph. 45% of deaths occur at speeds of 20mph to 30mph; only 5% of road deaths occur at speeds lower than 20mph.
· Data from 1986 to 2006 shows that casualties were cut by 42% in places where a 20mph limit was in place.
· Cutting the limit from 30mph to 20mph reduces noise level by some 3 decibels in residential areas.
· Lower speed translates into lower emissions and lowers pollution due to less acceleration and braking.
Perceived Cons of 20 mph Speed Limit
Most drivers are though up in arms about this speed limit that is gradually creeping up on all city roads. They fear that a year is not far when traffic in most of London, Birmingham and other cities will crawl at 20 mph.
Objections to this have been answered fully by Birmingham City Council, which has released a ‘Mythbuster Guide’ which details all the myths and the truths that busts these myths
20mph limits don’t make roads safer
The evidence is overwhelming that the speed limit reduces the number and severity of accidents. A pedestrian struck at 20 mph will suffer slight injuries.
20mph limits increase journey times
Limit mainly applies on residential and city center roads, which are a small part of most journeys, so travelling time will not be affected
20mph limits increase congestion
Slower traffic actually moves more smoothly, everywhere from local roads to major motorways.
20mph limits will make public transport slower
Most city busses rarely get above 20mph between stops anyway, so they will not be affected by lower speed limits.
20mph limits increase the costs to business
Studies show that delivery vans actually use 12% less fuel when driving slower, so the limits actually save money for business.
20mph limits are the future
Some drivers may hate these limits but people in residential areas are starting to enjoy them. In some cities people have increased their walking by between 10% and 36% and have upped their cycling by between 4% and 37%. More children are now out and about. This means more exercise time and more bonding time for both children and the parents.