Safer streets a step nearer as Ruskell publishes member's bill
Safer streets are a step nearer after Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell published his member's bill, which aims to lower the speed limit in built-up areas from 30 to 20mph.
The proposal, which enjoys strong public support and received over 2,000 responses in a consultation last year, is backed by a range of health experts, safety campaigners and record-breaking Scots cyclist Mark Beaumont. It is also supported by the leaders of Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils.
Mr Ruskell published his bill today (24 Sep) after receiving support from MSPs from four of Holyrood's five parties. It will now go to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny and if passed could become law by the end of next year.
Making 20mph the norm in urban areas would reduce injuries and deaths and cut air pollution, and is backed by the British Heart Foundation, the British Lung Foundation and road safety charity Brake. It would mean councils no longer have to go through a lengthy and costly application process to set up a 20mph zone but could still designate 30mph routes in consultation with communities.
Earlier this year economic organisation the OECD called for 20mph speed limits in built-up areas, joining other international bodies such as the World Health Organisation, the Global Network for Road Safety Legislators and the International Road Assessment Programme.
Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, said:
"As a local councillor and as an MSP I have seen first-hand the frustration of communities that want lower speed limits but find the current process overly-complicated. By making 20 the norm in built-up areas we can end this frustration and provide the clarity that residents and motorists deserve.
"It's clear that a lower limit will mean safer streets, and I'm delighted that my bill enjoys widespread public support, the backing of safety groups, health experts, local authority chiefs and campaigners such as Mark Beaumont. I look forward to it being examined by parliament in the months ahead."
Fastest round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont, who cycled 18,000 miles in less than 79 days, said:
"It's a bit of an odd statement for someone who holds the record for being fastest round the world on a bike, but we need to slow down. We know that we’re seven times less likely to die if we're hit by a vehicle at 20mph than 30 – and ten times less likely if we’re over 60 years of age. So making roads in built-up areas 20 rather than 30mph makes bags of sense.
"It's great to see Mark Ruskell's bill in the Scottish Parliament helping build the momentum on this issue and I hope we see it become law in the near future. This is about saving lives, reducing injuries and improving public health and enjoyment by making our streets safer and healthier places to cycle and walk.
“The current system of patchwork 20mph zones is time-consuming and costly for local councils, and confusing for road users. Scotland has a real chance to take a lead on this so let’s go for it.”