20mph in Bristol saves more than 4 lives a year

Photo at courtesy of @Bristol20mph

One of those lives saved could have been yours or a loved ones.

We’ve campaigned for 20mph to be the default speed limit in Bristol for nearly 30 years and we welcome this report from UWE which also found an estimated cost saving of over £15m per year from the avoidance of fatal, serious and slight injuries.

So why is Bristol City Council still forging ahead with a review of the 20mph rollout, when clearly it has been an outstanding success?  Former transport chief Mark Bradshaw (Labour) tweeted

“No doubt local changes needed with more enforcement action – but I cannot see why new citywide review is now needed when the policy is working as intended! And other towns/cities are/to become #20mph It just gives impression some in power want it scrapped.”

Our friends at 20’s Plenty for Us published the following in response to the news:

The University of the West of England (UWE) has analysed the impact of 20mph roll-outs for Bristol City Council. It finds reductions of 2.7mph in average traffic speeds and an estimated cost saving of over £15m per year from fatal, serious and slight injuries avoided.

Research took a holistic, public health approach to evaluation, using a variety of data sources to examine changes. It found :

  • Significant reductions in average traffic speeds of 2.7mph across the city of Bristol, following the introduction of 20mph speed limits – larger than in previous evaluations in other cities.
  • It used individual speed data from over 36 million vehicle observations and controlled for other factors affecting speeds.
  • A reduction in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries from road traffic collisions. Casualties avoided  are 4.53 fatalities, 11.3 serious injuries and 159.3 slight injuries pa.
  • Estimated cost savings of over £15 million per year. This is an annual saving over 5 times greater than the one-off implementation cost of £2.77m.
  • Although there is still majority support for 20mph speed limits in Bristol, there remains concern about compliance and behaviour of other drivers.
  • Walking and cycling across Bristol has increased, both among children travelling to school and commuters.
  • The introduction of 20mph speed limits in Bristol offers a model for other towns and cities across the UK, who are seeking to reduce traffic speeds, cut road traffic casualties, and promote community health and well-being through road danger reduction.

Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director for 20’s Plenty for Us commented :

“This report builds on the findings of other 20mph cities and towns. Default 20mph limits are an important foundation for making our places better places to be. They are affordable, reduce speeds, reduce casualties and make our places more friendly for walking and cycling. This study shows that the public health benefits are significant. It is now time to standardise on a 20mph default at national level to increase benefits, reduce implementation costs and maximise the excellent return on public funds.”