20’s Plenty petition success

We’ve done it! Over 4,000 people have signed the petition supporting 20mph, which closes on Sunday 31st January 2016. Congratulations to the hard work of our team of 20’s Plenty campaigners and supporters. 

It was important that there was strong response to balance a petition last year that wanted the limits abolished.

The fact is however that 20mph is highly successful and strongly supported across Bristol, and nationally (1), because it benefits everyone and has a negligible impact on drivers. As the very good website http://www.bristol20mph.co.uk says, “A Little Bit Slower. A Whole Lot Better”.

In fact, nearly three quarters of people in Bristol support 20mph areas, and this number has increased since the schemes were introduced across the city.

There is also evidence from our Community Speed Watch monitoring that the limits are widely and increasingly observed.

Here is an extract from a report from August 2015 from Bristol Council:

National Surveys of attitudes to 20mph speed limits

  • Nationally the annual British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) continues to report that public opinion is pro-20mph. For example, research in 2010 showed that 71% of British people support 20mph1 and this was 72% when the BSA reported last on the issue in 2012. (2)

  • In a review of the effectiveness of 20mph published in September 20142, conducted for Durham County Council, where reported, there was evidence of positive attitudes to 20mph among local residents, who generally favoured them.

  • Public perceptions of antisocial behaviour reveal that speeding traffic is rated as the greatest problem in local communities. Males and females both rated speeding traffic with the same degree of concern, with 30–59-year-olds and 16–29-year-olds rating it higher than the 60+ age group. Even when conducting analysis on the sub-groups, speeding traffic consistently came out as the antisocial behaviour perceived to be the greatest problem, whether respondents were male or female, young, middle aged, or old. (3)

  • It is of note that there is a higher level of support for 20mph limits within the cities with 20mph limit compared to GB as a whole which suggests that support rises once residents see what 20mph limits means in the daily lives. (4)

  • A major benefits is in reducing road traffic casualties and especially in poorer income groups where children are over 4 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured while using local streets than among the richest income group. (5)

In Bristol:

  • In a 2015 household survey of public attitudes pre and post 20mph in central area, 88% of residents are now walking for 10 minutes or more in their local area most days, compared with 78% pre 20mph (6). 

  • Cycling among senior school age children has increased (40% cycle at least once a week now vs 24% pre 20mph)

  • The % of Phase 1 area residents reporting being disturbed by the sound of passing traffic is down significantly post 20mph implementation, from 43% to 28%

  • The % of Phase 1 residents feeling it’s safe for children to walk to school on their own has risen from 50% pre 20mph to 63% post 20mph implementation.

  • 88% favour 20mph in their own street compared with 74% before it was introduced.

  • In a May 2013 survey by YouGov, there was strong awareness of plans for 20mph areas in Bristol. Within GB, 18% were aware of plans for 20mph in their area; this rose to 43% in Bristol. In that survey 65% of Bristol respondents said that they support 20mph on residential streets (65% GB)and 75% on busy streets eg shopping streets (72% GB)

  • The top 3 reasons for supporting 20mph speed limits in Bristol were: fewer serious accidents; children can play more safely; makes our streets more pleasant to live in.

Other findings from this YouGov survey included:

  • 63% of people in Bristol (and GB) say that ‘I will be careful to observe the new 20mph limits wherever they are’

  • 58% of people in Bristol (55% GB) say that ‘I hope the police will enforce 20mph limits’

  • 69% of people in Bristol (67% GB) say that the top reason to support 20mph speed limits is that it ‘mean fewer serious accidents on the roads’

  • 58% of people in Bristol (55% GB) agree that people might oppose 20mph speed limits because of it being ‘ignored by many drivers so of limited benefit’

  • 44% of people in Bristol (46% GB) agree with the statement ‘20 mph limits are a good idea in theory but are unlikely to make a worthwhile difference’

  • 62% of people in Bristol (60% GB) agree with the statement ‘Most people drive too quickly’

  • 57% of people in Bristol (56% GB) agree with the statement ‘I wish everyone would slow down a bit on the roads’


  1. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph31/resources/guidance-preventing-unintentional-road-injuries-among-under15s-pdf accessed 27th August 2015
  2. British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 and 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/209890/bsa-2012.pdf accessed 11th March 2015.
  3. Cairns, J., Warren, J., Garthwaite, K., Greig, G., Bambra, C. 2014 Go slow: an umbrella review of the effects of 20mph zones and limits on health and health inequalities, Journal of Public Health, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdu067. Abstract: http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/09/28/pubmed.fdu067.abstract accessed 11th March 2015.
  4. Poulter, D., McKenna, F. 2007 Is speeding a “real” antisocial behaviour? A comparison with other antisocial behaviours, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 39: 384- 389.
  5. Tapp, A., Nancarrow, C. 2014 20mph speed limits: attitudes and behaviours compared for GB, Bristol, established 20mph cities and towns, and non-20mph cities and towns, UWE and YouGov.
  6. Dorling, D. 2014 20mph speed limits for cars in residential areas, in “If you could do one thing…” Nine local actions to reduce health inequalities, British Academy https://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/Health_Inequalities.cfm accessed 27th August 2015.


    Household survey of public attitudes pre and post 20mph, 2015 Post Phase 1 Survey Repeat (July/August. Bristol: Crystal Marketing Research.