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Safer at 20mph: Let’s look out for each other

On 17 September 2023 most 30mph speed limits in Wales changed to 20mph.

The speed limit has changed on residential and busy pedestrian streets to:

  • make our streets safer, reducing the number of people killed or injured (as well as reducing the impact on emergency services and the NHS)
  • encourage more of us – at all ages – to feel safer to walk, cycle and wheel
  • help to improve our health and well-being now and for future generations

If you want to see how this has affected streets in your area, visit DataMapWales or your local council or trunk road agency websites.

Safer at 20

The evidence from around the world is very clear – reducing speed reduces collisions and saves lives.

In the distance you can stop a car travelling at 20mph, a 30mph car would still be doing 24mph. And when someone is hit at 30mph, they are around 5 times more likely to be killed than when hit at 20mph.

Research undertaken by public health practitioners and Edinburgh Napier University suggests that the 20mph default speed limit in Wales could result – every year – in around:

  • 40% fewer collisions
  • 6 to 10 lives saved
  • 1,200 to 2,000 people avoiding injury.

This could provide around £92m in prevention savings.

Encouraging walking and cycling

Most people in Wales (63%) support a lower speed limit where people live.

In a public opinion survey, 62% of people agreed they ‘wished everyone would slow down a bit on the roads’ and 55% agreed that ‘streets would be a lot nicer for pedestrians with a 20mph speed limit’.

Vehicle speeds are one of the main reasons why people do not walk or cycle or allow their children to walk or cycle to school. Lower traffic speeds will encourage more walking and cycling.

See streetlights? Think 20mph

When you see streetlights, assume that the speed limit is 20mph, unless you see signs that say otherwise.

These streets will generally be residential or built-up areas where people and vehicles mix.

Not all streets have changed to 20mph.

Your local council has considered with communities which streets needed to remain at 30mph and there are 30mph signs to tell you this.

Supporting 20

You can help create safer streets and healthier communities by driving at 20mph or below in residential or built-up areas.

GoSafe, police and partners will continue to engage with our communities, and enforce 20mph speed limits to make roads safer for all of us.

Find out more

Find more information about the change to 20mph, including answers to some frequently asked questions: