New casualty figures show need for 20 mph limits

25 September 2008

New road casualty figures from the Department of Transport show that 20 mph limits in towns and cities are urgently needed, the Green Party Deputy Leader said today.

Adrian Ramsay was commenting on figures released today for road casualties in 2007 by the Department for Transport.

These figures show that pedestrian casualties are much higher for areas with high levels of deprivation, many of which are urban areas with low levels of car ownership.

The new statistics, analysed by deprivation score, show that the number of pedestrians killed or injured on the roads rises from 21 casualties per 100,000 people in the least deprived areas to 70 casualties per 100,000 people in the most deprived areas – more than a threefold increase for the poorest neighbourhoods.

A key policy of the Greens is to make 20 mph the default speed limit on residential roads in urban areas to reduce the number of deaths and injuries.

Adrian says: "Today's figures show that this is a social justice issue as well as a safety and environmental issue. It is shocking that the number of pedestrians killed or injured is so much higher for the most deprived areas."

“Greens across the UK are campaigning for 20 mph to be the default limit in built-up areas and Green Councillors putting forward these proposals to many local authorities.

“With a default 20 mph speed limit, fewer road humps are needed than with limited ‘home zones’, and it is easier to communicate the message that 20mph is the appropriate speed on residential roads where children and people of all ages need to be able to walk about safely. 

“Lower speed limits don’t just create safer streets for everyone, they also mean better air quality and lower carbon emissions as they encourage more people to walk and cycle."

In May this year, after becoming the official opposition on Norwich City Council, Norwich Green Party succeeded in getting agreement from the Norwich Highways Agency Committee to introduce a 20mph limit across unclassified residential roads in the city. The Highways Committee has now agreed to introduce the first phase of this scheme by the end of this financial year.

Green Council groups in Lewisham, Hackney, Camden, Leicester and on many other councils across the country are also pushing for the measure, and a city-wide 20 mph speed limit was a key policy in the Greens’ London election campaign in May.

The city of Graz in Austria has half the rate of road deaths compared with similar cities in the UK, thanks to a speed limit on almost all roads of 30 kph (19 mph). When the new speed limit was introduced in 1992, there was a sharp decline of 24% in serious injuries on the roads. Collisions involving pedestrians fell 17% over ten years.






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