Slower Speeds, Safer Streets

Posted by Rob Quigley on May 24, 2013 0 Comments

bike pedestrian signal green 

Green light for cyclists and pedestrians

The 4th Annual “20 Is Plenty” conference in Coventry yesterday really made me think. Before I attended I thought 20 mph speed limits were a good idea but now I’m convinced of it. It’s simple, at slower speeds less people die. Let that sink in. At slower speeds, less people die.

20 is plenty conference opener
Opening 20 Is Plenty conference address

The day was started with the sobering fact that 8 people a day die on roads in the UK. These deaths can be prevented. The slowing of top speeds on roads where people live, work and shop changes those areas. It makes them better places. It doesn’t make cross town journeys by car any longer because it’s actually traffic lights and other congestion that dictates that. In fact it was mentioned that a 20 mph speed limit makes a 5 mile journey across town only around 30 seconds longer. That’s no time at all if it means saving lives and making our streets more sociable and better places to be.

coventry centre

Pedestrianized centre of Coventry

Nobody was talking about 20 mph limits on motorways or big long haul highways. Let traffic travel at high speed there. But in places where kids play, people live, communities meet, shops sell, let people walk and cycle and congregate in a safer, nicer, more welcoming environment. If the overall speeds are reduced you don’t need speed bumps and humps that annoy and aggravate drivers. Rod King, the founder of the 20 Is Plenty movement in the UK said it’s not about imposing stuff on drivers, it’s about creating a better community for everyone.

history of bicycles at coventry transport museum

History of bicycles exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum

One of the speakers was asked how to approach this subject with local councilors and the reply was to ask them if they would be interested in a simple cost effective measure that could guarantee that this time next year more people would be alive. This measure that in two or three years time they could point back at to a specific date in time when they as a councilor made a decision that went on to save lives. The lives of the people they are elected to serve. Lower speed limits in streets where we live, work and shop is that measure.


88mph is a bit on the fast side…..

Gud stuf,