A parliamentary reception for the road safety campaign ‘GO 20’, supported by Brake, the road safety charity was held this week. Brake is calling on politicians to support the introduction of 20mph as the default urban speed limit.

The GO 20 coalition* campaign has been created to make walking and cycling safer. The campaign has received overwhelming public support and, on 2 April 2014, Brake and Allianz Insurance revealed the results of their latest survey, carried out in February 2014, which found that eight out of ten people think that 20mph should be the norm around schools, on residential streets, and in village, town and city centres.

Ultimately, Brake is calling for the Government to reduce the default speed limit in communities from 30mph to 20mph and appeals to drivers to make a difference by slowing down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops, even where the speed limit is still 30mph.

Charlene McAuliffe, case manager at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “This is a fantastic campaign which could save many lives. Children and adults are killed or seriously injured everyday while walking or cycling on UK roads. In many instances these accident could have been prevented if the speed limit in built-up areas was reduced to 20mph. Driving at this lower speed allows drivers to have more time to react in an emergency and avoid hitting someone.

“We also have to consider the wider benefits of such a change.  For example, fewer casualties would mean less strain on the NHS and the emergency services as well as sparing families from the emotional and financial devastation of death and injury. More walking and cycling also means better health and prevention of other illnesses. Just taking these two important factors into account, it is difficult to argue how introducing 20mph limits would not ultimately pay for itself many times over.

“Unfortunately, there is  ever-increasing sense of haste and urgency on our roads. Everyone wants to be somewhere else quickly, often at the expense of other road users. If local authorities and members of the community focus on the importance of slowing down it can go a long way to saving lives and creating a safer environment for all.”

*The GO 20 coalition comprises 20's Plenty for Us, Alzheimer's Society, Bicycle Association, Brake, British Cycling, Campaign to Protect Rural England, CTC, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, Ramblers, Sustrans, UK Health Forum.