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Politics and regulation

New 20mph speed limits launched to ‘save lives’

New 20mph speed limits have been introduced across London by Transport for London (TfL) in an effort to improve road safety.

Some 40 miles of roads within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Southwark, Wandsworth, Merton, Bromley and Lambeth will be affected.

The new speed limits will be introduced in stages over the next few months before the end of the year.

Lowering speed limits is a key part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate death and serious injury from London’s transport network and to enable more walking and cycling in the capital.

Once the works on the new speed limits are finalised, TfL will have delivered 86 miles of 20mph roads, ahead of its target to do this by May 2024.

The speed limits will be supported by new signs and road markings and TfL is working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure that drivers understand and comply with the new lower speed limits.

Banners attached to street lamps in the new 20mph areas will also be put in place to increase driver awareness of the new speed limit.

Following implementation, TfL plans to carry out monitoring to determine whether further measures to further reduce vehicle speeds are required.

Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer said: “Speed continues to be a factor in almost half of fatal collisions in London and the devastating consequences for the families, friends and communities impacted by these casualties is immense.

“We’re committed to eliminating unsafe speeds across London and our new campaign aims to challenge drivers’ perception of what counts as speeding, as even driving slightly over the speed limit can still has tragic consequences.

“These new 20mph speed limits will also not only save lives, but make it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle and use public transport, creating a safer, greener London for everyone.”

Data collected from 1 May 2020 to 30 June 2022, when compared to a similar seasonally matched period before lower speed limits were implemented, shows the number of collisions fell 25% (from 405 to 304), and collisions resulting in death or serious injury fell 24% (from 94 to 71).

TfL is also working with the Met Police to increase their capacity to take enforcement action against drivers and riders who speed.

The Met Police enforced around 620,000 speeding offences committed in 2022/23, an increase of 35% compared to the previous year.

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