20mph instead of 30 could have huge impact on safety

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As cabinet member responsible for road safety at Sheffield City Council, I felt I should respond to the Twitter and Facebook comments on 20mph zones that were reprinted in The Star’s letters’ page on Monday, September 8.

I understand that the issue is controversial and that not everybody will agree with our plans to reduce the speed limit to 20mph from 30mph in communities including Heeley, Southey Green and Meersbrook.

However, the safety of our residents – particularly the most vulnerable, including children – is my top priority. At 20mph, anyone involved in a collision is much likely to be less seriously injured than if they were hit at 30mph. It is no exaggeration to say that it could even be the difference between life and death.

In addition to this, there are likely to be fewer accidents in the first place as drivers will be travelling more slowly, and have more time to see pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists.

And it is also important to remember that introducing 20mph limits may make people think twice about whether they even need to use the car at all. If motorists decide to get on their bikes, or walk, then this is good for both the environment and for people’s health.

Evidence shows that a 20mph sign makes people think about their speed, about the impact of their driving and about the safety of other road users. This is why I feel it is important to press ahead with the scheme which will come at no cost to Sheffield City Council.

Travelling at 20mph rather than 30mph will hardly affect travelling times at all, but could have a huge impact upon making our neighbourhoods safer and more pleasant places to live.

Jack Scott

Cabinet member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene