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.”


  1. I agree with Jane Howell . The perception by most road users is that the speed limit is the slowest they should travel and this rule applies in built up areas as well. It is horrifying how drivers are increasing their driving speeds with no thought to other users including pedestrians, cyclists , horses etc.
    Predictably, successive Governments have done little or nothing to combat this anti-social trend. I rarely see a police patrol, and the cameras are poor deterrents. Country lanes are more like race tracks and the people driving at breakneck speeds are unfortunately, oblivious to the consequences of a high speed collision.

    Graphic images of post- crash injuries to people should be used as a short sharp shock to the system of these wannabe race drivers.

  2. As a horse rider in rural Pembrokeshire, I often meet drivers travelling too fast and definitely inappropriately for the road conditions. Often they will comment that there I not a problem as they are “ doing the speed limit” oblivious and regardless of any body’s safety in mind either their own or mine or my horse. I have met similar when walking too and we are always asking for limits to be reduced through our villages with no improvement in the situation. It’s obvious really, these lanes were never designed with the combustion engine in mind let alone the many fools who now sit behind the wheel. The law must be changed to save lives and make living in the country side a happier experience.

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