LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone wants London’s streets to have a default speed limit of 20mph.

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Speaking at the annual conference of Roadpeace today (7 April 2008), the national charity for road crash victims, Labour’s mayoral candidate announced his plans for safer roads in the capital. His suggestion is that all thirty-two London boroughs should adopt a 20mph limit, with exemptions to be made for non-residential roads such as the primary routes in and out of the city.

Livingstone said:

“There are few more important issues for our local neighbourhoods than having safer streets, which is why I want to see 20mph become the standard speed limit on all of London’s residential streets. If I am re-elected I will work with London’s boroughs to achieve this.”

“Most Londoners are unaware of the hidden toll of children and adults killed or seriously injured on London’s roads each year.”

“By making road safety measures such as more pedestrian crossings and longer green man phases a much higher priority over five hundred fewer children are killed or seriously injured on London’s roads each year than when I was first elected in 2000.”

“But we have to continue to move forwards to reduce road deaths. The fundamental cause of road deaths is the speed of traffic. Nine out of ten pedestrians will be killed if hit by a car travelling at 40mph, but only one in forty will die if hit at 20mph.”

His main rival, Tory candidate Boris Johnson, is opposed to the change. Instead he wants re-phasing of traffic lights to speed up Londoner’s journeys. He recently told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine that rather than being victims, those on foot present the greatest hazard to other road users: “I would say as a cyclist that I think pedestrians are the most dangerous feature on the roads at the moment”.

The number of 20mph zones in London boroughs range from none (Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster) to over thirty (Tower Hamlets, Kingston-upon-Thames).

Transport for London estimates that if 70% of the borough road network were made 20mph zones, the number of people killed and seriously injured could be expected to fall by 1,000 from over 2,700 to 1,600.

Full list of Mayoral Candidates:
Richard Barnbrook – British National Party
Gerard Batten – UK Independence Party
Siân Berry – Green Party
Alan Craig – Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party
Lindsey German – Left List
Boris Johnson – Conservative Party
Ken Livingstone – Labour Party
Winston McKenzie – Independent
Matt O’Connor – English Democrats
Brian Paddick – Liberal Democrats