UK: Community Mobilization for a Default 20 mph Limit

Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us, is well-known advocate for 20 mph (30 km/h) limits in the UK. Since 20s Plenty began campaigning 13 years ago, 33% of UK residents now live on a streets where the local authority has set or is committed to setting local 20 mph limits for most urban/village roads instead of the national 30mph (50km/h) urban default.

20’s Plenty operates through a network of local 20’s Plenty campaigns (over 450 in the UK), empowering communities to advocate for low-speed streets. Its successes result from local people advocating with their local authority decision makers to build the case and demonstrate demand for 20 mph is coming from the communities that live in them.

Earlier this year, Wales, one of the four nations that make up the UK, started the legislative process to set 20mph as the default in all its towns, cities and villages. Now 20’s Plenty has set its sights on achieving a mandatory national default 20 mph in the other three countries on all streets where people and vehicles mix.

For UN Global Road Safety Week (UNGRSW), it is bringing together these supporters so that they in turn can mobilize their community members toward a national law. It is doing this by encouraging people to write to their local Member of Parliament (MP), using the open letter and demanding a national 20 mph law. These MPs are elected from their local communities and are accountable to them to represent their needs at national level. The campaign demonstrates that voters in their constituency want low speed streets and it is their responsibility to take and implement 20mph nationally. The campaign is targeting its local campaigns being able to maximise the emailing of their MPs through the online form to sensitise national government to the global call for default 30km/h or 20mph limits from the UN.  

Rod commented, “Smart governments are setting 20mph or 30km/h as a national norm with local authorities creating exceptions where higher speeds are safe. We should all call upon national governments to set their default urban/village limits at 20mph or 30km/h. The focus on this during UN Global Road Safety Week, May 17th to 23rd is an ideal opportunity for national governments to commit to act on setting default national 20mph or 30km/h urban/village limits to make their streets fit for the liveability that society requires.”

Rod recently shared his experience of campaign strategy for 20 mph in capacity building sessions for the Alliance. You can find these sessions HERE to assist your UNGRSW plans. Read more about 20’s Plenty and see their UNGRSW campaign HERE.