Today Birmingham City Council rolled out 20mph speed limits, and a campaign to increase compliance of 20mph outside schools in Wales gets underway. Our Media & Communications Manager, Tanya Braun, explains why 20mph is a good idea.

It seems most weeks now another town or city in the UK explores the idea of going slower. After all it is safer. If hit by a vehicle travelling at 20mph, we all have a better chance of survival than if we were hit at 30mph.

In fact, the chance of survival is 97 per cent. This chance is reduced by 5 per cent at every extra mile per hour. Surely this makes slower speeds a no brainer, particularly in built up areas.

And it’s not just the facts that help make people feel safer. Walking along streets where vehicles are travelling slower just makes us all feel a little better about spending time in them.

The safer we feel, the more likely we are to walk, making streets seem more people-friendly, further encouraging people to be active. 

This is especially important outside schools, where younger people are walking and where congestion is more likely. We support areas outside of schools, like in much of Birmingham today, reducing speed limits to 20mph, because it can save lives. But why stop there. What we’d really like to see is an area wide default 20mph limit on streets where people live, work and shop.

It’s important that people comply with these lower limits for them to be effective. And we need to help with this. Local authorities and street planners should ensure good design of 20mph streets, with clear signage. We need to explain to everyone the benefits of slower speeds; how much it helps to save lives and on where these new limits are introduced. As has been suggested in Wales, just today, enforcement is a tough nut to crack, so together we all need to raise awareness of how important slower speeds are if we want to create a walking nation.