Reducing traffic speeds

You might not think it when most vehicles seem stuck in perpetual gridlock, but traffic speed remains a key issue for cyclists in London.

Metropolitan Police research has revealed that 63% of motorists break the capital's 30mph speed limit. As well as being a major cause of death and injury, the intimidation caused by speeding traffic is a key factor dissuading more Londoners from getting on their bikes.

There is growing pressure from cycling, pedestrian and community groups for London's 30mph standard limit to be cut to 20mph. Higher speeds might be permitted on certain roads, but this would be the exception, rather than the rule. It is estimated that this measure would save up to 200 lives and 25,000 injuries every year, and would have the added effect of encouraging more people to start cycling.

Chances of survival for a person hit by a car

Speed              Survival rate

At 40 mph        15% survive

At 30 mph        55% survive

At 20 mph        95% survive

Killing Speed and Saving Lives (Department of Transport, 1997)

1. Killing Speed: A Good Practice Guide to Speed Management (Slower Speeds Initiative, 2001)

2. 20mph as a standard speed limit: Why London needs it (London Cycling Campaign, 1999)