Hackney, Camden and Waltham Forest join Islington in move to borough-wide 20mph

0n 21 November 2012, Hackney Council voted overwhelmingly to confirm its commitment to 20mph as the default speed limit for the borough.

Camden and Waltham Forest also recently joined Islington in committing to borough-wide 20mph speed limits in a bid to reduce the number of Londoners killed and seriously injured on the roads, while also encouraging walking and cycling.

The decision sees the potential for a block of four connected boroughs in North London with 20mph as the default speed limit on residential streets.

Gerhard Weiss of the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign said, "Lower speed limits are essential where people live, work and shop.

"Ideally, they'd be strictly enforced, and in residential areas we'd also like to see measures that eliminate rat-running and give cycling and walking priority for the welfare of families and communities."

Many smaller roads in Camden, Hackney, and Waltham Forest already have a 20mph limit in place, but the councils proposes extending these to main roads too.

Last year, Islington became the first borough to introduce a blanket 20mph limit on all roads, although the Metropolitan Police said it wouldn't increase patrols to enforce the limit.

Islington and Hackney councils are planning to trial 20mph limits on some of the busy main roads making up the boundary between the boroughs.  They will test how easy it is to enforce the new limits and look out for changes in casualties and perception of danger on those roads.

Enforcement can start with council vehicles

Trevor Parsons of Hackney Cycling Campaign said, "Even without widespread enforcement, 20mph can be enforced on the council's own fleet, many of which already have devices installed which gather detailed records of how they are driven.

"Other vehicles engaged in public service - such as contractors' vehicles, emergency service vehicles while not on call and buses - could also be compelled to adhere to the limit."

There is strong evidence, published in the British Medical Journal, that reducing speed limits in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph reduces deaths and serious injuries for all road users, with greatest effect on cyclists and walkers.

Opponents of the measure mistakenly cited 2012 figures from the Department for Transport as evidence of an increase in casualties on roads with a 20mph limits.

However, the figures don't show an increase in the rate of KSIs on these roads, merely an increase in the total number caused by there being many more 20mph roads now than when the figures were first compiled.