Safer speed limit of 20mph in built-up areas will "align Scotland to best practice"

The roll-out of a safer speed limit of 20mph in built-up areas will end "a throwback to the 1930s" and "align Scotland to best practice across the world", according to campaigners.

Later this week (w/b 4 Feb) Holyrood's Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee will begin its inquiry into the Safer Streets bill proposed by Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife.

Supporters include road safety, environment and transport campaigners, along with experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Faculty of Public Health in Scotland. A study by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health shows that a 20mph speed limit in built-up areas would save the public up to £40million a year.


In their written submission to the committee, Living Streets and Ramblers Scotland say:

"It is already established that 20mph is the appropriate speed outside all schools in Scotland. However, these school gate zones account for only a small part of most children’s overall school journeys. A more effective 0.5-mile (10 minutes’ walk) cordon extending around Scotland’s 2,031 primary schools would be greater or equivalent to the entirety of urban Scotland’s road network. The only sensible way to achieve this is a default 20mph limit.

"The bill is a simple and elegant piece of legislation, which updates the urban default speed limit to a 21st century standard. The existing 30mph default is, by comparison, a throwback to the 1930s and is being replaced across Europe and in many Scottish council areas, where community safety has been made a priority."


In their written submission, 20's Plenty for Us say:

"It provides a huge opportunity to align Scotland to what is becoming best practice across the world and especially in more socially aware countries. It aligns Scotland with such countries as Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Japan where 30kmh is the accepted norm in communities whether urban or rural.

"20mph limits are a key platform to increase road safety that has widespread acceptance across the world. Even small reductions in speed have measurable and beneficial reductions in crashes and casualties. [In] many other European countries 30kmh (18.5mph) is the norm and 'going faster' with a limit of 50kmh (32mph) is only deemed appropriate in certain roads where adequate segregated provision is made for pedestrians and cyclists."


Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"It’s time for Scotland to catch up with the rest of the world, and update a limit that was plucked out of thin air back in the 1930s. It's well established that 20mph speeds are safer than 30mph. A reduction of 1mph leads to a six per cent drop in casualties.

"Speed is also the number one reason people avoid cycling or allowing their children to walk to school. 20mph limits will alleviate some of these concerns.

"I look forward to the committee beginning its inquiry and I'm confident we have a strong case for change as at the end of the day this is about saving lives."