Rural speed limits putting road users at risk

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 00:19
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Brake is calling for a review of speed limits on rural roads, saying the current limit gives a false impression that 60mph is a safe speed.

The road safety charity has today (15 May) published the findings of a survey which suggests 60% of drivers feel unsafe travelling at the 60mph limit on rural single-carriageway roads.

Fewer than a quarter of respondents (23%) stated that 60mph is a safe speed for a vehicle on a road where there may be people on foot, bicycles and horses.

The majority of drivers (81%) either wanted, or were ambivalent, about a reduction to the default 60mph limit on rural roads, with 19% objecting to a reduction.

Most rural roads in the UK have a 60mph speed limit, which is the national default for single carriageway roads.

However, Brake says many of these roads are ‘unsuited to high speeds’ as they are often narrow, with blind bends, brows and no pavements or cycle paths.

Statistics show that approximately 40% of all deaths on Britain’s roads occur on rural single-carriageway roads. On average, 17 people are killed or seriously injured on these roads every day.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Drivers have made their views clear – travelling at 60mph on rural roads doesn’t feel safe to them, and the majority would support or not object to the limit being reduced.

“The current default limit gives a false impression that 60mph is a safe speed and this is putting everyone who uses our rural roads at risk. With 17 people killed or seriously injured on these roads every day, the Government must review the default speed limit with a view to its reduction.

“Looking ahead to the publication of the Government’s new road safety action plan, we urge a focus on speed reduction, both in our towns and cities but also on the country’s many winding and narrow single-carriageway rural roads that are often overlooked but where so many of our road deaths and serious injuries occur.

“Simply put, slowing down vehicles save lives.”