For over 85 years Living Streets has been a beacon for walking. In the early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits. Today we face new challenges, but our work is as important as ever.
On 13 August, young journalist Tom Foley and political reformer Viscount Cecil hold the first meeting of the Pedestrians’ Association in Essex Hall in the Strand, London.
The Road Traffic Act 1930 repealed the Locomotive Act of 1865, the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896 and the Motor Car Act 1903 and introduced many new regulations which controversially included the removal of all speed limits on UK roads for motor cars.
ES Cope demonstrates his Tell Tale Lights system whereby drivers and other road users are alerted if a vehicle is exceeding the speed limit by way of illuminated lights.
Viscount Cecil brands the Road Traffic Act 1930 “a failure,” saying that the increase in the number of road deaths since its inception proves that abolishing speed limits was a mistake.
The Pedestrians’ Association consults on the development of the new Highway Code.
The Road Traffic Act includes 30mph speed limit in built-up areas, a victory for the Pedestrians’ Association.
Within a year of his appointment as Minister for Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha introduces the practice of marking crossing places with orange beacons on top of black and white striped poles. The beacons become known as Belisha beacons.
During the second world war the Association successfully lobbies the government to allow pedestrians to carry small hand torches during the black-out in the wake of several traffic incidents caused by lack of street lighting.
The Beveridge Report is published. The Association submits a memorandum suggesting those affected by loss or distress as a result of "accidents on the roads" would be subject to compensation.
In the April issue of its quarterly newsletter, The Pedestrian, the Association declares it to be ‘A Black Year’ with 176,799 people killed or injured in road traffic collisions, an increase of 23,382 on the previous year.
The Ministry of Transport reacts to complaints that crossings aren’t sufficiently visible and orders that thick white stripes are painted across the road. They soon become known as zebra crossings.
A Daily Herald cartoon featured in the Association newsletter after Road Safety Week...
The Pedestrians’ Association adopts the poster campaign 'Speed Kills', and calls for an urgent review of zebra crossings on London roads with newly-increased speed limits, recommending the implementation of 'push button' signalised crossings.
The Association also highlights the dangers of parking outside schools for the first time.
Viscount Cecil dies, aged 94.
The Pedestrians’ Association holds the first annual Foley Lecture in memory of founder Tom Foley.
Michael Foot MP becomes the Association's Vice President.
The Association conducts a survey on pavement parking and found that the vast majority of people knew that it was illegal but that 44% admitted to doing it anyway.
Speed limiters for buses and coaches are set at 65mph and 56mph for heavy good vehicles.
The Walk to School project is launched.
The very first Walk to School Week takes place with just five Hertfordshire primary schools joining in as part of its contribution to hosting the Environmental Transport Association's Green Transport Week.
For any media enquiries, please contact the Living Streets press team on 020 7456 9790 , or out of office hours, 07545 209865. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More must be done to cut pedestrian deaths
Overwhelming desire for air pollution to be addressed by Londoners – with walking part of the solution
Walk to school rates decline to the lowest level ever
Scotland schoolchildren make great strides to get healthy
We’re creating a walking nation. We’ve got the know-how to make it happen but we can’t do it alone. Together with our partners and funders we can make extraordinary things happen.