The overwhelming majority of motorists would back the introduction of a 20mph urban speed limit, according to new research conducted by Allianz Insurance and road safety charity Brake.
Eight in 10 people (78 per cent) polled in a joint survey agreed that there should be a lower speed limit on residential streets, in town centres and around schools.
Brake is currently in the process of taking its ‘GO 20 campaign’ – in which it hopes to see the wider use of 20mph limits in built-up areas – to parliament, where it will argue the limit will reduce road casualties as well as congestion and pollution.
"With many people already reaping the benefits of living in 20mph areas, we're reaching a point where it makes no sense to retain 30mph as the default limit in built-up areas." – Brake
It is citing case studies in Portsmouth and Camden, where a reduction to a 20mph limit led to a drop in accidents by 22 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. Other areas introducing 20mph limits include Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The survey also found that 72 per cent agreed that their town needed to be made safer, with improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, with a similar number (79 per cent) agreeing that more people would be encouraged to get out of their cars in favour of other methods of transport, provided that safety was improved.
81 per cent of those surveyed also said that they felt traffic was travelling too fast on some or most of their local roads.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "The GO 20 campaign is about defending everyone's right to walk and cycle freely without being endangered, whether it's to get to work, school, the shops, or just getting out and being active.
“We need to tackle the senseless and violent casualties that continue to happen daily on our roads, and we need to enable people to live healthy, active, social lives. It's clear that 20mph limits in communities can help bring this about – and it's clear this is what people want. That's why so many local authorities are making the switch from 30mph to 20mph.
“With many people already reaping the benefits of living in 20mph areas, we're reaching a point where it makes no sense to retain 30mph as the default limit in built-up areas. It's time for the government to GO 20 nationally, to save councils money and help create safe, active, happy communities nationwide."
March 31, 2014