20mph comes to central London

20 mph speed sign

All cyclists know, a car overtaking you at 50mph, sending a gust of wind and noise in your direction is not particularly pleasant. Streets with lower speed limits are far more enjoyable to cycle on. Fortunately, the City of London will soon be joining its adjoining councils in adopting 20mph speed limits.

This new, lower limit will apply to all city streets, including those managed by TfL. This is a positive move not just for cyclists but also pedestrians and anyone who works in the city.

According to the report, the City traffic speeds are an average of 21.9mph, across 24 hours. During rush hour this is typically 10mph. Therefore, this isn’t a dramatic change for drivers and will mean traffic will be calmer on streets where drivers typically accelerate well beyond that.

When similar changes to speed limits were introduced to parts of Berlin, where a limit of 30 km/h was established, over a 4 year period there was a 50% growth in cycling. In Bristol, where two 20mph zones were introduced, there was a growth up to 36%.

The City of London has its own police force and they have expressed their support for the measures in reducing road injuries and will be enforcing the new lower limit.

In terms of a reduction in accidents, it’s worth noting that whilst cyclists make up 20% of traffic on city streets, they account for 47% of serious injuries. This change will undoubtedly assist in bringing that number down, although major improvements will only come from improved cycling infrastructure, which is what cycling campaigners continue to call for.

In Scotland there are potential plans to roll out 20mph speed limits across residential streets and shopping streets. This was after a successful trial showing a reduction in collisions, as well as support from the public.

There was more positive news by the London Cycling Campaign who announced that Boris Johnson has given the go-ahead for major improvements to Aldgate, Holborn and Cycle Superhighway 2.

I hope I can continue to report on more positive news soon!


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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

6 Responses to 20mph comes to central London

  1. Jarek 17/09/2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Now that is some great news Andreas! Recently I had a National Express coach overtaking me at around 35-40 MPH in Swiss Cottage and I gotta tell you I think I got my first grey hair because of this! It is about time they introduce the 20 MPH limit. Your news made my day!

  2. Vincent 18/09/2013 at 10:18 pm #

    > Fortunately, the City of London will soon be joining its adjoining councils in adopting 20mph speed limits. This new, lower limit will apply to all city streets, including those managed by TfL.

    Interesting. So it means that, although the City is part of London, it has its own jurisdiction at least when it comes to traffic?

  3. goonz 20/09/2013 at 11:58 am #

    For a minute there I thought the speed limit was for cyclists!


  4. Mark 20/09/2013 at 3:53 pm #

    ha ha goonz, dont worry, no speed limit ever applies to cyclists – only to people in MOTOR vehicles 🙂

    great news to hear the 20mp speed limit coming into force in the city of london. lets hope other boroughs see it as a success and roll it out across the rest of london

  5. Jeremy Parker 05/10/2013 at 8:48 pm #

    I lived for many years in Washington DC where the default urban speed limit, like many, perhaps most, American cities was 25 mph. So the USA got half way to 20 mph decades ago.

    I view with concern, though, the motion before the London Cycling Campaign’s AGM on Sat Oct 19 to say that 30 mph roads are generally unsuitable for cyclists to share with motorists. Obviously, if a cyclist chooses to ride on a road which the LCC itself, the biggest and most experienced urban cycling organization in the world, says is unsuitable, then anything happening to that irresponsible cyclist is his own stupid fault. Really the cyclist should compensate the motorist for any distress and delay caused to the poor driver.

    As for riding in the country, where speeds are even higher, that’s even more criminally insane.

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