How likely is it that central London will become a 20mph zone?

Cyclists waiting for a race to start

Just don’t tell these guys central London may become a 20mph zone.

The City of London has just approved an investigation in to the benefits of applying a 20mph speed limit across the whole of the Square Mile. This follows similar moves by Islington council and Camden council.

The idea is that the lower speed limit will create safer streets for everyone. It will also encourage more people to walk, cycle and use public transport, rather than travel by car.

In the past few days a report has also been hitting the news about the need for the government to promote cycling as a means for reducing inactivity. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellent claims that inactivity is now the cause of as many deaths as smoking.

From the article on the BBC:

Dr John Middleton, vice-president of the Faculty of Public Health, said cycling and walking needed to be made an “easy option”.

Indeed a 20mph speed limit seems like an easy win, especially as there’s a constant argument thrown around that there “simply isn’t enough room in London to create separate cycle lanes”.

But how likely is this to happen?

There’s a big difference between releasing the budget to create a report and any action actually been taken. TfL and the Mayor of London have always moved at a snails pace, which is always exacerbated by the Department of Transport.

Cycalogical has a great blog post on the London Assembly’s investigation in to safe cycling in London. The London Assembly was created to hold the Mayor of London accountable. Unfortunately, it has few actual powers and cannot force the Mayor to do anything.

This is a shame, as the report has some excellent common sense suggestions:

  • Double spending on cycling infrastructure in London
  • Create a protected cycle network and aim for 10% of journeys to be made by bike
  • “There could, and should, be more segregated cycle space in London”

The Committee’s chair, Caroline Pigeon, rightly remarks:

Many Londoners do not think London is an inviting place to cycle, and they want to see the Mayor and Transport for London build infrastructure that offers physical protection to cyclists.

With all this progress in thinking being made and impatience by cycling campaigners growing, surely its only a matter of time before Boris Johnson and TfL really commit to a cycling revolution in London. Boris Johnson are you listening?

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.


8 Responses to How likely is it that central London will become a 20mph zone?

  1. Gizmo 30/11/2012 at 10:40 am #

    If this only applies to the City (rather than the city) of London, then a 20mph zone is a no-brainer. The only vehicles going faster than that are suicidal motorbike couriers anyway.

    I would suggest, however, that people who work in the Square Mile are probably more likely than ANYWHERE else in the country to “walk, cycle and use public transport” already. The Congestion Charge and the sheer cost of parking means that driving in to work is utterly impractical.

    • Barton 03/12/2012 at 3:13 pm #

      You’d think. Except that I read (last year? cannot find the article now) that traffic in the Square Mile went UP significantly when they introduced the Congestion Charge, and it was continuing to increase. I think, just like owning a Range Rover while living in an urban area, it became a prestige thing: “Look how awesome I am: I can afford a congestion fee!”

  2. Maria Gilbert 30/11/2012 at 10:55 am #

    I don’t know that anything will help us until drivers realise that it actually hurts to fall off a bike: I recently saw a cyclist thrown across the road by an idiot who opened his car door without looking – the driver just said “alright mate” and walked off…

  3. Tom 30/11/2012 at 12:16 pm #

    All good and well but if it isn’t enforced it’s meaningless.

    I live in an area in N11 with a 20mph limit, with speed bumps that is completely ignored especially by 4×4 drivers who don’t even need to slow down for the bumps.

    I work on Exhibition Road which, along with all it’s other amazing features, is 20mph and the only time anybody drives that slowly is when it’s nose to tail gridlock

  4. chris 30/11/2012 at 3:57 pm #

    “especially as there’s a constant argument thrown around that there “simply isn’t enough room in London to create separate cycle lanes”.”

    The reason for this is because the pro-car brigade will not concede that space HAS TO BE reclaimed back from cars for this to happen. Cities for people, not cars.

  5. Owen 02/12/2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Interestingly, the sentiment behind the caption to your photo (“Just don’t tell these guys central London may become a 20mph zone”) is technically irrelevant, as I believe that speed limits only legally apply to motor vehicles. When my speedo was still working, I used to amuse myself by going at 21mph over Tower Bridge.

  6. Kellyman17 03/12/2012 at 9:35 am #

    I always thought that since bike computers are not guaranteed to be accurate and since they weren’t regulated there was no speed limit for cyclists? Unless you get pulled for “dangerous cycling” anyway! I have never cycled in London, but Liverpool (the centre anyway) has good cycle provision admittedly with very few dedicated cycle lanes.

  7. Dull James 21/12/2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Wow,In London the step taken to reduce speed limit of vehicles is very good step ,as it will minimize road accident which cause mainly due to increase speed of a vehicle and secondly it will give idea to people to start using bicycle to travel more which will be good for their health.
    discount fixed gear bikes

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