Support safer streets

Mark Ruskell MSP, Scottish Greens Environment Spokesperson, has welcomed the publication of a report, Speed and Crash Risk, by the International Transport Forum Group of the OECD which has called for 20 mph speed limits in built up areas where there is a mix of vulnerable road users and motor vehicles.

In publishing this report and recommendation OECD joins such international bodies as WHO, Global Network for Road Safety Legislators and the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) who already recognise that 30km/h [20mph] speed limits are appropriate where people and motor vehicles mix.

The report notes that: ‘Where motorised vehicles and vulnerable road users share the same space, such as in residential areas, 30 km/h is the recommended maximum.’ It also cites 30km/h as the developing international standard referencing the Netherlands where 70% of urban roads have a 30km/h limit.

It repeatedly recognises the benefits of 30km/h limits for reducing injuries to pedestrians and cyclists: ‘Research has indicated that the death risk is about 4-5 times higher in collisions between a car and a pedestrian/road worker on foot at 50 km/h [30mph] compared to the same type of collisions at 30 km/h. Considering this, there is a strong recommendation to reduce speed in urban areas.’

Mr Ruskell plans to bring a bill before the Scottish Parliament later this year to change the default speed limit on residential streets from 30mph to 20 mph.

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said:

“We are now at a tipping point, where around the world the benefits of reducing traffic speed is seen as an essential tool to make communities safer, healthier and greener. Scotland has the chance to make 20mph speed limits the default rule rather than the exception in urban areas, building on the success of widespread roll outs in Edinburgh, Fife and Clackmannanshire. I’ll be lodging a Members Bill at Holyrood to achieve this later this year and have had constructive negotiations with Police Scotland and councils around implementation and compliance.”