TfL hails “huge impact” of 20mph limits

09.29 | 14 February 2023 | | 2 comments

Image: TfL

New data shows there has been a ‘significant reduction’ in the number of collisions since the implementation of 20mph speed limits on key roads in London.

In March 2020, TfL introduced a 20mph speed limit on all of its roads in central London.  

Monitoring of the schemes show that since they were introduced, the number of collisions has reduced by 25% (from 406 to 304), and collisions resulting in death or serious injury have reduced by 25% (from 94 to 71).

Meanwhile, collisions involving vulnerable road users are down by 36% (from 453 to 290), as are collisions involving people walking, by 63% (from 124 to 46).

TfL says the figures demonstrate the ‘huge impact’ of lowering speeds across London.

Penny Rees, TfL head of healthy streets investment, said: “It’s brilliant to see the huge impact the introduction of 20mph speed limits has had on road safety around London. 

“We are determined to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads in line with our Vision Zero goal, and this data proves that lowering speeds is crucial to achieving this goal. 

“20mph speed limits not only save lives, but also encourage Londoners to travel in more active and sustainable ways.”

Campaign group, 20’s Plenty for Us, has described the findings as ‘hugely significant’.

Jeremy Leach, London campaign coordinator for 20’s Plenty, said: ”This research underlines once again the importance of reducing vehicle speeds to a maximum of 20mph in built-up areas. Injuries are reduced and more people can feel safe to walk and cycle. 

“TfL is right to be rolling out more 20mph limits on the roads that it manages and to be calling for the default speed limit on all residential roads in London to be changed to 20mph.” 

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    It would be interesting to find out if the collisions which did happen since the implementaion of the 20 limits (i.e. the ones which were not prevented), were as a result of vehicle(s) being driven above the 20 limit, moments before impact. In other words, collisions which would definitely not have happened due to drivers adherence to the limit.


    Hugh Jones, Wirral, Cheshire
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
    --1

    Hi all,

    There’s a case for 20mph limits in certain specific situations, which need to be properly signposted if they are to be enforced as the Highway Code is quite clear that street lights and no signs would be a 30mph limit.

    I’m not convinced though about blanket 20mph limits. The mantra about reduced KSI (killed or seriously injured) outcomes being hit at 20 rather than 30 misses a crucial point about road safety – the idea is NOT to have a collision in the first place! When using the road on foot or two wheels, I would far rather be dealing with an alert driver within (not necessarily at) a 30mph limit than a comatosed driver blindly at 20mph on cruise control or a speed limiter potentially fiddling with technology in the car.

    When cycling at 10 or 15mph, I would prefer a motor vehicle to leave a good distance and get on with an overtake – this doesn’t work well with a 20mph limit.

    Other research has suggested limited or no benefit to 20mph limits.

    Since 1998 when local authorities were allowed to ignore well established guides to setting speed limits, drivers have been led down the road of thinking the number in the red circle is a ‘safe speed’. I’ve lost count of how many times on a training course someone has pointed at a narrow windy road and queried why it’s okay to travel at 60mph, as they have failed to grasp the concept of ‘limit not target’ and ‘drive to the conditions’ due to this unintended consequence of tinkering with speed limits.

    We’re happy for drivers to drive with no medical checks – for most drivers 70 years of age onwards is a self-certification process. Is it really so unreasonable for this to be a proper medical with your GP who has access to history, and to submit an optician’s certificate with each 10 year licence renewal?

    We seem to be making more and more bizarre adjustments to the road and to rules, and have done a first class job of not promoting them – whether it’s the so-called Smart Motorways (go left, seriously?) or the new rules launched in January 2022 to make junctions – the riskiest part of any road network – even more complicated.

    We appear to have moved away from the cornerstone of road safety, which is driver and rider education and development. The driving test of basic competence is good, but is only a start – where’s the call for periodic development? I recall a speech a few years ago by the then head of the Driving Standards Agency Rosemary Thew pointing out the most likely group of people to be involved in a crash were young men in a car – and then launching driver Continual Professional Competence for bus and lorry drivers, arguably the more competent drivers on the road.

    I feel we really need to get back to basics.

    Ben

    Ben Graham Dip DI, Transport Manager CPC (Logistics / Commercial Vehicles)
    Transport Manager and Fleet Driver Trainer


    Ben and Lynne Graham, Woodley, Reading
    Agree (8) | Disagree (19)
    --11

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