BACKING ‘GO 20’ CAMPAIGN in Road Safety Week

Andrew Gwynne MP is backing a national campaign appealing to drivers and authorities to GO 20, to bring about a 2012 legacy of safe walking and cycling for everyone.

Brake, the road safety charity, alongside a GO 20 coalition, is appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops. The coalition is also calling for 20mph limits to become the norm across built-up areas, so children and adults can walk and cycle for their health and enjoyment, and for cheap and sustainable travel, without being or feeling endangered.

The GO 20 campaign is being launched at the start of the UK’s annual Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), coordinated by Brake. Andrew is joining thousands of community groups, schools and organisations across the UK getting involved to promote road safety and call for safer streets.

Every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children are mowed down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike. In 2011 pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries went up significantly (see below).[1]

The GO 20 coalition (Brake, Living Streets, Sustrans, Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Heart Forum and 20’s Plenty for Us) is highlighting that slower speeds in towns, cities and villages can help deliver a post-2012 legacy of active communities, and prevent devastating pedestrian and cyclist casualties.

Many authorities are already recognising the benefits of slower speeds by implementing 20 limits across towns and cities. GO 20 calls for: more authorities to do this; the government to work towards 20mph limits being the norm in communities; and drivers to pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops, even where the current default limit of 30mph remains.

Anyone can pledge their support for GO 20 and safer walking and cycling at go20.org.

Why GO 20:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have much more time to react, to help them stop in time if they need to, like if a child runs out. Studies show that when 20 limits replace 30, it means fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [2].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [3].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys [4]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [5]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [6]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [7]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Read more about the case for GO 20.

Andrew Gwynne MP says:

“I want my constituency to be as healthy, happy, and friendly as possible for everyone who lives here, and slowing down to 20mph around schools, shops, and homes will help us to achieve that. It will also help us to prevent devastating casualties on our roads, which cause terrible suffering to the families affected. That’s why I’m getting behind the GO 20 campaign and showing my support for Road Safety Week. My constituents deserve as many opportunities as possible to get active outside, and to not be endangered while they’re on foot and bicycle. I am pleased to work alongside Brake to make that a reality.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, says:

“We are delighted that Andrew Gwynne MP is getting behind the GO 20 campaign. Everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their community without fear or threat, and GO 20 is about defending that right. The 2012 Games helped us all realise the importance of being able to live active lifestyles. Critical to this is making our streets and communities safe places we can use and enjoy. Anyone who drives can help bring this about: pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit’s still 30: you’ll be helping to protect people around you, and you’ll hardly notice the difference to your journey. We’re also calling on more authorities to recognise the benefits of 20mph limits, and the huge demand for safe walking and cycling, and GO 20.”

Pedestrian and cyclist casualties

Every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children are mowed down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike.

In 2011 pedestrian deaths and serious injuries went up significantly, and for the first time in 17 years. Pedestrian deaths increased by 12%, while serious injuries increased by 5%. 466 people were killed on foot in 2011 and 5,654 were seriously injured. Of these victims, 31% (1,901) were children: 50 child pedestrians were killed in 2011 and 1,851 suffered serious injuries.

While cyclist deaths decreased by 2% in 2011, serious injuries increased by 16%. 109 cyclists were killed in 2011 and 3,132 suffered serious injuries. Of these victims, 16% (511) were children: 10 child cyclists were killed and 501 suffered serious injuries.[8]

Road Safety Week is an annual event coordinated by Brake, with support from headline sponsors Brain Injury Group and Specsavers. Find out more at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

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