The effectiveness of 20mph speed limits in reducing car crashes and casualties has been a topic of interest for researchers and policymakers. This article aims to examine the findings of a study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast, Edinburgh University, and University of Cambridge on the impact of reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph. Additionally, the potential introduction of a 20mph limit for cyclists by the Transport Secretary will be discussed.
The study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast, Edinburgh University, and University of Cambridge aimed to assess the impact of reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph on road safety. The researchers collected data from streets with 20mph limits and compared them to nearby streets without such limits. The findings revealed that while 20mph speed limits did not significantly affect road traffic collisions, casualties, or speeding, they did lead to a reduction in traffic volumes.
Impact on Road Safety:
According to the study, road traffic collisions fell by 3% and 15% over one and three years, respectively, after the introduction of 20mph speed limits. Casualty rates also decreased by 16% and 22% over the same time frame, but these reductions were not statistically significant. The average traffic speed only decreased by 0.2mph after the first year and increased to 0.8mph after the third year. These findings suggest that the impact of 20mph speed limits on long-term outcomes is minimal, except for a reduction in traffic volume.
Compliance and Alternative Methods:
A significant issue identified in the study was the lack of compliance with 20mph speed limits, with 90% of drivers exceeding the speed limit in these zones. This non-compliance highlights the need for alternative methods to encourage drivers to slow down. The study suggests that compliance with lower limits depends on drivers perceiving them as appropriate for the type of road. Therefore, the introduction of more 20mph speed limits in built-up areas with high volumes of motorised traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians could have a positive impact.
Potential Introduction of 20mph Limit for Cyclists:
In addition to the study’s findings, it has been reported that the Transport Secretary is considering the introduction of a 20mph speed limit for cyclists. This move aims to improve safety for cyclists and reduce the risk of accidents. However, further details regarding the implementation and potential impact of this proposal are yet to be announced.
While the study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast, Edinburgh University, and University of Cambridge found that 20mph speed limits had little impact on road safety, they did lead to a reduction in traffic volumes. Compliance with these limits remains a challenge, indicating the need for alternative methods to encourage drivers to adhere to speed limits. The potential introduction of a 20mph limit for cyclists by the Transport Secretary further emphasizes the ongoing efforts to improve road safety.