March 8, 2017
Low speed communities
Speed kills. And there’s plenty evidence that says it does – you’re 8 times more likely to be killed if hit by a car travelling at 30 mph rather than 20 mph. But speak to any taxi driver or driving instructor in Edinburgh these days and the first thing you’ll get is an earful about the Council’s decision to convert almost every street in the city into a 20 mph zone. Although clearly not to everyone’s liking, many think it will prove a life-saver. If your community fancies following Edinburgh’s lead, then Living Streets would like to speak with you.
Living Streets – the UK charity for everyday walking – has secured 12 months funding from the Scottish Government to work in 4 communities across Scotland to support the introduction of 20mph speed limit areas.
Lowering speed is about safety – at 30mph there is a 1 in 5 chance of being killed. At 20mph there is a 1 in 40 chance of being killed.
But lowering speed is also about helping to redress the balance between walkers, cyclists and cars. And it helps to get us all a bit more active!
Residential streets are areas where people drive – but also where people walk to the local shops, exercise dogs, where children learn to ride bikes or residents commute to school or work. However many communities now feel that cars – and the speed they drive at – are preventing people using the streets for walking and cycling. People feel wary about where to cross and there are increasing fears about safety when out walking.
Reducing speed limits to 20mph goes some way to balancing the needs of all users. As vehicle speeds are reduced, people are more confident to walk and cycle within their streets.
The Lower Speed Communities project aims to work with local authorities, community organisations, residents and other interest groups to support the role everyone can play in introducing lower speed limits. The project will offer hands on support to local authorities and community organisations. It will offer support in community engagement and information, support the involvement of hard to reach groups, offer examples of good practice from around the country, and support partnership working between local authorities, communities and other interest groups in improving the places people live and work.
Living Streets would like to hear from community, third sector organisations – and local authorities – who are interested in the project. It is hoped that the project will work in a range of communities – city centre, suburban areas or a village or small town. Actual involvement will be negotiated on a case by case basis at a local level.
So, if your community has a group working on 20 mph then please get in touch with Barbara.Allan@livingstreets.org.uk