The government has announced it is to allow wider usage of 20mph zones without traffic-calming measures.
Under current legislation local councils are only allowed to introduce 20mph zones in areas that have also been outfitted with physical traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps; only individual roads have previously been exempt from this rule.
However, new proposals to encourage the wider use of 20mph zones have today been announced by Road Safety Minister, Paul Clark. These will do away with the traffic calming requirement in an effort to reduce road casualties.
The proposals follow a successful trial of the scheme in Portsmouth, which ‘suggested it is possible to significantly reduce speeds in residential streets without speed bumps or other traffic calming measures.’
Councils are particularly being asked to examine the potential use of 20mph zones in areas of high-risk for children – such as around schools, shops and parks.
A report published in the British Medical Journal last week found that London’s existing 20mph zones have led to a ‘dramatic reduction’ in the number of accidents. The report also called for the introduction of further 20mph zones.
Road Safety Minister, Paul Clark:
‘The number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads has fallen by 40% since the mid-1990s and Britain now has the joint safest roads in the world. But too many are still being killed or hurt on the roads around their homes and schools.
‘We have seen that 20mph zones with traffic-calming measures can make a real difference to safety. But we’ve also looked at the latest research and listened to councils and residents who want to introduce 20mph limits on roads where physical traffic calming measures aren’t possible or practical.
‘Allowing councils to put in place 20mph speed limits on more streets without speed humps or chicanes will mean that they can introduce them at a lower cost and with less inconvenience to local residents.’
At the same time, the government reiterated its call for local councils to examine the speed limits in place on their rural roads – especially National Speed Limit single-carriageway A and B roads, where 41% of fatalities occur.
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