The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has launched a new campaign against blanket 20mph speed limits – claiming there is ‘much misinformation’ being spread by campaigners.
The ‘20’s Senseless’ campaign says ‘anti-car activists’ – encouraged by campaign groups – are wasting millions of pounds nationwide.
The ABD points to a DfT study, published in November 2018, which it describes as the ‘long-awaited evidence that enormous amounts of money are being wasted on implementing 20 mph schemes’.
The report, commissioned by the DfT and authored by the consultancy Atkins, found insuficient evidence to conclude that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits in residential areas.
However, it also found a small but statistically significant improvement in reported levels of cycling and walking.
Key paragraphs from the report – according to the ABD
“The evidence available to date shows no significant change in the short term in collisions and casualties, in the majority of the case studies (including the aggregated set of residential case studies).”
“Journey speed analysis shows that the median speed has fallen by 0.7mph in residential areas and 0.9mph in city centre areas.”
Despite opposing a blanket 20mph limit, the ABD says is supports the use of 20mph speed limits ‘where it might be of benefit or where compliance will be high’.
However, it says 20mph is not the solution to all road safety problems and ‘simply sticking up signs is a waste of money’.
The ABD is calling for money to be ‘better spent’ on other road safety measures – such as road engineering and education of young drivers.
20mph – the current position
20mph limits are never far from the media spotlight – with ongoing debate about whether 20mph should become the default limit in urban and residential areas.
In June, MSPs voted down a bill which sought to make 20mph the default limit on residential streets in Scotland.
Opponents of the bill questioned whether the move would save lives and argued that local authorities are best placed to make decisions on where 20mph limits are appropriate.
In contrast, plans to make 20mph the default limit for residential areas in Wales appear likely to be implemented, with the country’s first minister, Mark Drakeford, issuing a statement of support in May.
Mr Drakeford cited the city-wide roll-out of 20mph limits by Cardiff Council, labelling it ‘a good example of what can be done’.
In London, TfL is adopting a similar stance and recently announced plans to introduce 20mph limits on all central London roads by May 2020.
The proposals, which were put out for consultation in June, are described as a key part of the mayor’s Vision Zero ambition to eliminate death and serious injury on the Capital’s transport network.
20mph limits, and whether they have a role to play in reducing collisions and casualties, will also be the subject of a debate at the National Road Safety Conference in November 2019.