Could 20mph speed limit curb serious RTA injury?

Scotland could lead the way in promoting a healthy lifestyle choice in just five years from now. That’s a bold statement, one that contradicts pretty much everything The Scots have become renowned for. But with its government aiming for 10% of all travel across the country to be by bicycle by 2020, it’s a distinct possibility.

There are consequences that councils need to evaluate to make cycling both viable and safe. Scotland’s two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, appreciate the size of the task at hand.

In 2014, 176 cyclists were reported injured, nine of those fatally. In order for the population to accept the gauntlet laid down in the CAPS, that statistic must be addressed.

Scotland’s capital leading the way in reducing speed limits

Edinburgh council has done so already, and it needed to. According to personal injury lawyers in Glasgow, the Scottish capital had the worst number of “accidents involving cyclists” in the country.

To address the problem, Edinburgh has limited all residential streets within its boundaries to 20mph speed limits. The cost of implementing those limits to date is estimated at £2.2M. But there has been a change of tack to reduce both the cost and timeline for implementation.

The way the council was introducing the 20mph speed limit was literally road by road. For each suitable road that the council deemed needed the limit, traffic calming measures would be implemented.

Instead, the council decided to make 20mph its default maximum speed. This has led to four in every five of Edinburgh’s residential streets adopting the safer limit.

Would a similar venture work in Glasgow?

The general consensus in Glasgow is that it should adopt the same tactic. Campaigners to that end have served a petition to its council containing over 200 supporters’ signatures.

The petition itself highlights the cost and timeline of utilising like traffic calming measures. The document goes on to imply that it would serve everyone’s interest to place Scotland’s second city under the blanket of 20mph speed restrictions, where suitable.

As well as contributing to a safer, healthier Scotland, lower speed limits would please Alison Johnstone. Back in October 2013, the Green MSP for Lothian raised the issue of stricter liability on Scottish roads in parliament.

Citing a number of cycling trusts and related campaigns, she motioned that liability for RTAs involving cyclists be passed to the driver of the car involved. 12 cyclists had lost their lives up to that point in 2013, but compensation for those on two wheels was notoriously difficult to secure.

A move to reduce the limit would nip this issue in the bud. According to the DoT, the following is true:

Death by Speed
travelling at likelihood
40mph 30%
30mph 7%
20mph 1%

Likelihood of death at different speeds

If that table doesn’t represent a good argument for reducing the speed limit to 20mph, there’ll never be one. However, there are bound to be those with arguments against, particularly logistics businesses. What do you think is the answer? Drop your comments, below.

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