Brighton and Hove is latest place to embrace citywide 20mph speed limits for safer cycling

Plans for a more people-friendly 20mph speed limit for 500 streets in Brighton and Hove have been approved by the council's Transport Committee, after a majority of residents backed the move.

The move still needs to be ratified after objections are heard at the January meeting, but it's expected the move to 20mph will be made in April 2013.

The move will involve a three-year plan to make 20mph the default speed limit for residential streets for the entire metropolitan area of Brighton and Hove.

After the first stage of the plan has been put in place, only Sackville Road, Old Shoreham Road and the A259 seafront road will retain their 30mph limits.

The council's stated aim, to reduce deaths and injuries in the city, is backed up by strong evidence, and its expected the move will improve life for hundreds of thousands of residents, encouraging more walking and cycling.

Health benefits and reduced congestion

The council cites major health benefits as positive outcomes of lower speed limits.

It also expects the measure to reduce congestion in the city, an outcome backed by traffic management experts from Copenhagen, who recently told LCC that lower speed limits reduce rush hour congestion. 

Councillor Ian Davey, chair of the city council’s Transport Committee, said:

“We are not talking about a citywide blanket 20mph ban, the emphasis is on residential and shopping areas, excluding main routes in and out of the city and across the city.”

The council agreed the move after a six-week public consultation in June 2012, in which 3,689 people responded to the consultation, with 55% in favour and 44% against.

The council says as well as the postive consultation response, many individual city residents have submitted requests for 20mph speed limits on their streets.

Successful schools 20mph pilot scheme

In January 2012, a pilot scheme saw 20mph limits introduced around some schools in Brighton and Hove after concerns were raised by local people about dangers to children from fast-moving motor traffic.

These 20mph pilot areas were vigorously supported by the headteachers of the schools involved.

The GMB union, representing taxi drivers in the city centre, appears to be the only organisation opposing the widespread application of 20mph.

Brighton and Hove Council has received praise for taking steps to build an east-west off-carriageway cycle route in the city, which – though unfinished - segregates people on bikes from motor traffic for much of its length.