20 Mph Speed Limits

Wide area 20-mph speed limits are being adopted by a number of London boroughs despite there being no evidence that they have any benefit whatsoever – indeed what evidence there is suggests exactly the contrary. However, some politicians and anti-car groups (such as cyclists commonly) continue to push for their use and make spurious claims about the impact they are likely to have. They also allege that drivers will not suffer any disadvantage as a result as journey times may not differ by much thereby ignoring the true reality, or that the 20-mph limit will not be enforced (which is not true in practice as recent reports from Islington and the City of London demonstrate).

We have issued a press release calling for no new 20-mph limits until proper research on the matter has been undertaken. This is what it said:

No new 20mph speed limits should be allowed until a Department for Transport study is published in 2017.   In 2014 the Department for Transport (DfT) began a three-year study into all the impacts of 20mph speed limits, including their effects on actual speeds, accidents, emissions and whether they encourage more people to walk or cycle.  We are a key stakeholder in the study and have supplied evidence to the consultants undertaking it.   In the meantime, the pressure group 20s Plenty for Us is increasing its efforts to have blanket 20mph speed limits established in as many towns and cities as possible.  We believe it is doing this because it realises that the study results are likely to undermine many of its claims for the ‘benefits’ of 20mph limits.  It knows that, once lower limits have been introduced, it will be very difficult to get them reversed.  Its ultimate aim is to have the default speed limit in all built-up areas reduced from 30mph to 20mph.  We have written to the Roads Minister, Robert Goodwill, to propose that a moratorium on all new 20mph speed limits should be brought into effect until the DfT study is published in 2017 and the true impacts of 20mph limits are known.   The campaign in favour of 20mph limits is nothing to do with road safety – it is an attempt at social engineering. Many of those leading the campaign are associated with left-leaning and environmentalist groups, with an ideological hatred of private motorised transport.  They are not representative of the general population.  These unelected, heavily biased individuals should not be allowed to tell people how to live their lives.   We believe that everyone has the right to choose the mode of transport that most suits them for each journey they make.  They should not be made to feel guilty for choosing to use a car.  Speed limits should be set for genuine road safety reasons and not to discourage car use.’   ENDS

Roger Lawson

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