This week is Road Safety Week in the UK. Here at Going Going Bike we are happy to support any campaign that raise awareness about the vital importance of cars slowing down their speeds in residential areas.
So it is to be commended that Bristol Council is willing to support a 20mph speed limit across the city.
A nine-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, that included the Council, along with NHS Bristol and the University of the West of England as partners, has produced a report that recommends a citywide extension of the current two pilot 20mph zones in the city. It states such an approach would be beneficial for those who walk or cycle in the city and “dovetails” the council’s initiatives to promote cycling as a form of transport.
The current pilot schemes, which are in the South and East of Bristol in what are largely residential areas, will be continually audited by the council as to their effectiveness. There is hope, however, that a 20mph zone across the city could become reality in two years if the pilots are a success . Introducing a citywide 20mph zone would cost the Bristol council about £500,000.
Road safety charity Brake is also lobbying for 20mph speeds and is campaigning this week with the safety of children in mind.
Survey results from Brake, released this week to coincide with Road Safety Week, reveal the extent of the fear that children have getting out on their bikes or walking. The national survey of 15,000 9-13 year-olds found that one in 10 children (10%) say they have been knocked down while walking or cycling; a further 56% have had a near miss, and a further 16% have had a frightening experience.
The same survey revealed that 61% of 9-11 year olds and 67% of 11-13 year-olds (64% overall) think the roads around their home and school are dangerous for people on foot and bicycle.
Brake believes that 20mph should be the default speed limit for towns and villages, especially around homes, schools, shops and community facilities, where there are likely to be pedestrians and cyclists.
Research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that 20mph zones are very effective at reducing casualties on the roads where they are placed and even on the surrounding roads. They found that the introduction of 20mph zones was associated with a 41.9% reduction in road casualties, and a 50.2% reduction in road casualties among 0-15 year-olds, after adjustment for underlying time trends.