As all drivers are aware, the maximum speed limit in most residential areas is 30mph. However, it is common knowledge that not all roads in a built up area are appropriate for a driver to travel at a 30mph speed. Some may argue that those who drive at a maximum speed of 30mph on roads surrounding schools for example, are reckless in doing so and put not only their lives at risk, but also the lives of others. It is not just pedestrians who are vulnerable at the peril of such drivers, other road users and cyclists alike are also vulnerable.
Many may think that serious and fatal accidents only involve vehicles travelling at high speed. However, a 36 year old cyclist in Cumbria was reported to have been critically injured after being knocked off his bike by a 70 year old driver on a residential road. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reported that there was a staggering 145,830 casualties on roads in Great Britain in 2011 and almost a third of fatalities occurred on minor roads. Pedestrian accidents and hit and run incidents are also at worryingly high levels.
Local Authorities in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester are implementing 20mph speed limits on their streets. The reason for doing so is that if a pedestrian is hit by a car travelling at 20mph, they are 40% less likely to be killed. It is thought that reducing the speed limit to 20mph in residential areas will reduce the number of casualties injured on our roads: indeed statistics obtained by The Times newspaper support this view. Over the period 1986-2006, a study conducted by The Times newspaper found that areas where 20mph speed zones were implemented saw the number of casualties fall by 42%.
In the North West, Wigan Council has pledged to enforce 20mph speed limits in certain places to help pedestrians, cyclists and road users alike to feel safer on its roads. The aim is to try and reduce accidents, or when they do occur, lower the risk of serious or fatal injury. Measures will include speed bumps, road narrowing and central islands. This move is supported by Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the NHS. Likewise, Lancashire County Council are introducing 20mph speed limits in four phases across the county; Great Harwood, Knutzen, Church and Clayton-le-Moors among those areas where the 20mph scheme has already been put in place.
On an international level, the European Citizens Initiative has been working towards a 30km per hour speed limit becoming the default on all urban and residential areas within the European Union.
If you have been injured and wish to pursue a pedestrian accident claim, a hit and run claim, or a cycling accident claim , do not hesitate to contact us today for a free, no obligation discussion with a personal injury lawyer. Our team of experts are specialists in personal injury law and can help you claim the compensation you deserve.
By Nick Molyneux, Personal Injury Solicitor