City of London pushes for UK’s first 15mph speed limit

12.27 | 28 May 2019 | | 8 comments

The City of London Corporation is set to introduce the UK’s first 15mph speed limit, subject to Government approval.

The 15mph limit – which could come into effect as soon as 2021 – forms part of ‘radical’ plans to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists travelling in the Square Mile.

The Corporation’s new transport strategy is influenced by research showing 90% of all journeys made in the City of London were partially or entirely walked.

Alongside lowering existing 20mph limits, the strategy proposes the UK’s first ‘large-scale’ Zero Emission Zone – with details of a new cycling network and improved cycle hire facilities.

City of London says the strategy has been developed to help change working, living and commuting habits – with the aim of halving motor traffic by 2044.

Alastair Moss, chair of the planning and transportation committee at the City of London Corporation, said: “The City of London is one of the most well-connected parts of the UK, with 15 Tube stations, seven Tube lines, eight mainline stations, multiple bus routes and a fast-evolving bicycle network.

“We are working tirelessly to support the 513,000 workers that commute to the Square Mile every day, and to deliver the forward-thinking city that Londoners want to see.

“These radical plans will ensure the continued success of not just the City, but wider London and the UK as a leading global business and cultural destination.”

Work to implement changes outlined in the City of London’s transport strategy will start later this year, with the 15mph speed limit becoming operation by 2021/22 – subject to approval by the DfT.

Short-term measures have already begun, including a trial of the Lunchtime Streets programme – which uses timed and temporary street closures to make the streets more attractive places to walk and cycle.


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    Hi Pat

    To clarify.

    My understanding is that speed limits for cyclists are not covered by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 which governs driving in excess of the speed limit for motor vehicles. In addition the DfT guidance states :-

    49. Any speed limits below 30 mph, other than 20 mph limits or 20 mph zones,
    require individual consent from the Secretary of State.

    Hence, whilst the Secretary of State could allow a speed limit of 15mph to be set for motor vehicles on specific roads and hence be covered by RTRA 1984, this would not apply to cycles.

    However the City of London Corporation may be able to pass a bylaw restricting the speed of cycles to 15mph, but this would be outside of the RTRA 1984. This may then entail an entirely different signage/enforcement regime to cover cyclists on the public highway. As the City of London has its own police force, separate from the Met, then this should be possible.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    Yes, the 15mph speed limit is intended to apply to cycles as well according to page 55 of the draft policy.

    For ref 100% of my journeys are at least partially walked. How else do I get to and from the car?

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    If you’re wanting to get into that argument Rod, the frontal surface area of a vehicle is much larger than that of a push bike.

    Not dismissing that heavy objects have more kinetic energy than light objects at the same velocity, but it is something to bear in mind.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    If they want to have the UK’s first 15mph speed limit they’ll need a time machine to go back at least as far as 1993. That was when Orkney Islands Council made a 15mph order.

    David S, Dalkeith
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    Thanks Hugh

    Lets try the calculations. Keeping that cyclist at 20mph with a KE of 40,000 and reducing the motor vehicle to 15mph results in a motor vehicle KE of 337,500 some 8 times higher than the cycle and rider.

    In fact, it is not until the motor vehicle speed is down to 5.16mph that the KE of the cycle and rider at 20mph is equal to the KE of the motor vehicle.

    And to look at it a different way, for the KE of the rider and cycle to equal that of a 15mph motor vehicle then the cyclist would have to be doing 58mph.

    Now, I do accept that Kinetic Energy may be a simplistic guide to consequences of crashing into a pedestrian, but the above does illustrate that our views about those consequences do tend to be rather subjective.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (0) | Disagree (5)

    My point Rod was that assuming we can get motorised vehicles to limit themselves to 15 mph in London (which I don’t have a problem with if achievable), the danger to pedestrians could then be from cyclists who are unregulated and not bound by this limit.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)


    I am sure that you are aware that speed limits for motor vehicles only apply to “vehicles with motors”. And to answer your question pedantically. Yes, the speed limit will apply to cyclists (I refer to myself as being a cyclist), but only when driving a motor vehicle.

    I am always intrigued that some people (not necessarily yourself, Hugh) will quite try to justify a motor vehicle of 1500kg mass travelling at 30mph (KE 1,350,000) in an urban environment getting rather concerned about a cycle and cyclist of 100kg total mass travelling at 20mph (KE 40,000). A ratio of some 33:1 in terms of kinetic energy.

    Looking at the City’s transport strategy I note that it features a strong commitment to ISA, which is welcome :-

    “To make it easier for drivers to comply with the existing 20mph and proposed 15mph
    speed limits we will encourage the uptake of intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) in the
    Square Mile by:
    ● Asking TfL to prioritise the roll out of bus ISA on routes which operate in the
    Square Mile, with the aim of bus ISA operating on all routes by 2022.
    ● Adopting ISA in our own fleet procurement practices as part of our
    renewal programme. Insurance savings will be quantified and shared as best
    practice guidance for City suppliers and through the Fleet Operator
    Recognition Scheme (FORS)
    ● Ensuring ISA is a standard requirement for any service procured by the City
    Corporation with a fleet requirement
    ● Promoting the installation of ISA in taxis and private hire vehicles and
    encouraging TfL to make ISA a requirement for new taxis and private
    hire licensing
    ● Encouraging the uptake of ISA in other fleets, such as hauliers, construction
    firms and coach operators
    ● Working with the insurance industry and vehicle manufacturers to
    promote and encourage the use of ISA in private vehicles”

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (1) | Disagree (8)

    Would such a limit apply to cyclists by any chance?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (10) | Disagree (1)

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