20’s Plenty For Us

20’s Penty For Us from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

The 20’s Plenty For Us campaign supports 20 mph speed limits for all residential roads in the UK. Lowering speed limits makes roads safer and neighborhoods more livable.

20’s Plenty For Us

12 Responses to “20’s Plenty For Us”

  • solatic says:

    I dunno how things like this compare and contrast between the US and the UK, but I know that in the US these people would be regarded as idiots because in the US speed limits are worthless.

    Nobody but nobody who drives considers the speed limits. Not on highways, not on residential roads, not in the middle of the city. This kind of effort will be counterproductive because it will make people feel safer, thus leading to carelessness, and cause accidents between motorists who disobey the new speed limits and pedestrians who think they no longer need to look both ways before crossing the street, because drivers should be driving slower.

    It furthermore assumes that all residential streets are created equal. They’re not – let me ask you, what makes a residential street? Is it a street with houses on it? There’s a pretty big difference between a 1-lane residential street leading to a cul-de-sac and a 6-lane numbered US route with houses lining the sides of the street. Expecting all streets with houses to adopt a unified speed limit is a mere excuse to give the police unregulated power to pull over pretty much any car they want. You wouldn’t go 20 mph in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, would you?

    As cyclists, it doesn’t even make sense for us. Plenty of cyclists go faster than 20 mph on downhills in residential neighborhoods, mostly because we don’t bother to check our bike computers but also because we feel more aware and capable of stopping “just in case”. Why would you, as a cyclist, promote legislation that gives the police greater intrusion into your life?

    The correct answer is and always has been more infrastructure. As cyclists, we don’t have to worry about cars going 30 mph or even 50 mph when we have our own, physically separated bike lanes. Pedestrians can walk alongside major roads just fine when there are physically separated sidewalks for them to walk on. This idea of a unified 20 mph speed limit is a complete anachronism.

  • Michael says:

    The UK is far worse than the USA when it comes to draconian laws. It’s not truly for public safety. Simply more revenue generation. No more than an avenue for making a concept more palatable to the great unwashed.

    While on the surface it seems to be a good idea when looking deeper it is counter productive to the original purpose. In many areas the final result will be more accidents due to higher traffic density and more time spent driving. While it’s admirable to want people to walk,bike and use public transport the truth is it will be a long time before attitudes concerning the automobile and transportation in general change. True societal change moves on an almost geological timescale.

    Sadly we are far too busy to pay attention to what we’re doing because we’re doing too much. Not to mention there are too many of us. Our own safety is truly upon us and cannot be legislated nor controlled. We can mitigate the risk but never eliminate them. And in these economic times the underlying purpose of Government will always be the generation of revenue,even more so than is normal.

  • Mike says:

    I’m afraid I disagree with solatic.

    No one realistically believes that even a majority of cars will stay below 20mph, but for the many of us that habitually drive 5-10mph over the posted speed limit while trying to stay under “ticketed speeds”, lower posted speed limits will result in lower speeds.

    I can agree that all streets are not created equally, and as a critic of modern streets design I somewhat spitefully drive what seems to be the “design speed” while being wary of the difference between posted and driven speeds.

  • Fergie348 says:

    Let’s not forget that because this is Britain in the film, 20 refers to 20 kph not 20 mph. It’s even slower than you think..

    Regardless of that detail, both @solatic and @mike are on to something. Just changing the speed limit on an existing roadway is the chicken’s way out of a problem. There are plenty of ways to reduce average speed on a roadway, with speed limits being the easiest (just change the signage) and least effective.

    People drive at a speed they’re comfortable with, so if you want them to slow down, reduce their comfort. This can be achieved with bulb outs, speed tables, serpentine roadways and presumably other design features to make the pavement deviate from the straight and flat. When roads are built, the engineers try to make it as straight and flat as possible given the geography and property boundaries. Maybe that needs to change – designing roadways for a maximum speed based upon community desires, now that would be a real transportation alternative.

  • Richard Masoner says:

    @Fergie – Nope, it’s 20 MPH they’re advocating for.

    In the USA, people generally drive at the speed the road is apparently engineered for, regardless of speed limits. When you have a residential street that’s wide enough to land an airplane on, is it any wonder everybody speeds? That’s the rationale behind road diets.

    In California and many other states, this is aggravated by the 85 percentile law we have that essentially says any speed limit set below the 85th percentile speed is not legally enforceable.

  • Michael says:

    Yes for some unknown reason in the UK you can drive 20KM at 20 MPH. :-)

  • Ralph Aichinger says:

    As somebody living in a 30 km/h zone here in Austria, I think the benefits outweigh the problems with it by a huge margin.

    People do drive slower in 30km zones here (though not all stay below 30), cycling in a 30 kph zone feels very safe (and it probably is), as well as relaxed
    (basically you are as fast as the cars), and as controversial as it was in the beginning, just as was said in the video: As soon as people experience living in a 30kph zone themselves, acceptance goes up. After several years of living in one
    of these zones, very few people would go back to the usual higher speed limit, too obvious are the benefits.

  • Karen says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I thought you meant 20 bikes was enough :)

  • Alan says:


    Ha! Not even… :-)

  • Saddle Up says:

    And we are trying to get the speed limit raised on our bike paths above the 20 km/h limit now in effect. http://saddleupbike.blogspot.com/2010/02/commute-at-20-kph-hell-no.html

  • Max says:

    The streets we are talking about are streets like these: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Portsmouth&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=16.868876,35.332031&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Portsmouth,+United+Kingdom&ll=50.807481,-1.071682&spn=0.007946,0.034504&z=15&layer=c&cbll=50.807469,-1.071663&panoid=dwTQybkeWlpRegMmLsuPMA&cbp=11,353.37,,0,5 to give an example I am fairly familiar with.
    Portsmouth was one of the pilots for the ‘new’ 20MPH zones (the ‘old’ 20MPH zones were only permissible if traffic-calming humps, pinch-points, chicanes etc., were used as well). In fact, average speeds on most of the streets now within the 20MPH zones were around that speed anyway: but post-zone, the average speeds on the faster roads have fallen from around 27MPH. Note there is a ‘grid’ of 30MPH roads overlaying the 20MPH zone.
    Portsmouth is a special case: a very cramped city, developed on an island site in the 19th Century.

  • Robyn says:

    We live on a military base where max speed in residential is 15 mph–highly enforced. This was my main reason for living here. Love it!

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