Last week the Council’s Executive met to finally sign off a plan that will take the first steps in making the default speed limit on residential streets 20mph. 20s plenty speed limits will be piloted in parts of Hulme, Moss Side, Fallowfield, Miles Platting & Newton Heath and parts of Ancoats, Clayton and Gorton using £500k from Government Public Health money. This is a welcomed first step, but well overdue. Chorlton’s Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain passed a council motion with all party support to see 20mph limits introduced on all of Manchester’s non-major residential roads some 17 months ago.
I’m proud that we have all party support and this is now being taken up in Manchester along with other urban areas across the country taking the necessary steps to save lives. Since I became an MP I have been passionate about road safety and have pushed successive governments on the issue. I worked closely with Norman Baker on the issue when I was on the Transport Select Committee, and, now he is a Transport Minister he’s cutting the red tape in Government and making it easier for local authorities.
I have long been an advocate of “Twenty’s Plenty”. In 2008 I introduced a bill into Parliament which the road safety charity BRAKE thought was such a milestone in the campaign they awarded me Parliamentarian of Year in 2008.
The council are now taking the important steps to improve road safety; the areas they have selected are based on areas of high deprivation and where there have been accidents before. However, what the council need to do is roll this out city-wide and not play a postcode lottery with people’s lives. This is about making our roads safer and more accessible to all users.
There are ways of quickly spreading the message of road safety in a cost-effective manner and one idea put forward by Cllrs James Hennigan and Mary Di Mauro would be to introduce 20mph stickers on wheely bins. Obviously this would not be the only way of introducing 20mph zones but it is a quick and effective way of spreading the message of road safety and creating ownership of the campaign.
The simple fact is that when a person is hit by a car at 30 mph they are 50% likely to be killed. If someone is hit by a car at 20 mph they are 10% likely to be killed.
I certainly don’t want to read about another victim of a road accident knowing it was preventable. We all need to work together and roll this out city wide so all Mancunians can benefit from safer, cleaner and greener roads.