So what’s the solution?

What we are proposing is the introduction of 20mph speed limits across Worthing for all roads where people live, shop, cycle, walk, play or go to school. In reality the only roads that wouldn’t be included would be main arterial roads although details would need to be agreed through engagement with the community (let us know your views).

The other important thing is that we are not proposing speed cameras, or road humps, just the people of Worthing getting together to agree to drive more slowly in order to make their town a nicer place to live.

But will it work?:

YES! It has been done on the continent for years. In the Netherlands, over 60% of residential roads have 30kph (18mph) speed limits, as a result they are much safer for walking and cycling and many more people enjoy the benefits of being able to get about healthily. On average casualties have been reduced by 70%.

It has been done in Germany e.g. 80% of Munich’s roads are now at 30kph (18mph) and they have very low casualty rates. It’s been done in Austria e.g. 80% of roads in Graz are 30kph and they’ve seen cycling increase 17% while casualties have been reduced.

It’s been done in the UK too. Portsmouth is the first city in the UK to have area-wide 20mph limits across the city. As a result of the success of this scheme, Norwich, Oxford, Newcastle, Leicester, Warrington, Bristol, Cambridge, Brighton and Hove and Islington are all introducing similar ones.

Does government support it?

YES! In recognition of all the benefits the Department for Transport recently issued guidance stating that “We want to encourage highway authorities to introduce, over time, 20mph zones or limits into streets which are primarily residential in nature and into town or city streets where pedestrian and cyclist movements are high, such as around schools, shops, markets, playgrounds and other areas, where these are not part of any major through route.”

No cameras, no humps, won’t motorists just ignore this?

The evidence from Portsmouth suggests not. In fact they found the biggest reductions in speed on the roads where speeds had previously been highest.

The key is community engagement. If Worthing residents all get together to agree to slow down then it can be done. After all, if you’d like drivers to slow down in your road, then it’s only fair for you to slow down when driving down someone else’s road. This is one of the big advantages compared to the current approach of small selected 20mph zones.

Why not just enforce the 30mph limit?

30mph is too fast for people to feel safe crossing roads or cycling. Half of all pedestrian fatalities are caused by impacts of 30mph or less. The stopping distance at 30mph is almost twice that at 20mph:

If a child runs into the road 40ft (12m) in front of you:

  • at 20mph you would just stop in time
  • at 30mph you would hit them at 27mph – the equivalent of dropping them from a third storey window
  • at 40mph you would hit them still doing 40mph and most probably kill them

Read more: Will people support it?