POLL: Should rural roads be reduced to 20mph to improve safety?

Scotland: MSP defends plans for new 20mph speed limit

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Surrey County Council is planning to pilot a new scheme, whereby drivers on rural roads will face 20mph speed limits. The council told Highways Magazine that the scheme is an “important opportunity” to improve road safety.

An 80 square mile area in the south of Surrey from Guildford to Dorking will see some roads reduced to 30mph limits and others 20mph. 

Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council cabinet member for transport, infrastructure and economy said: “This project is an important opportunity for us to improve the safety of our rural roads in the south and southwest of Surrey and ensure that the most appropriate speed limit is applied to each. 

“Most rural roads in the area are still subject to the national speed limit of 60mph, which is inappropriate for these types of roads. 

“Evidence suggests that implementing lower speed limits should reduce the number and severity of road collisions, whilst also helping to support our active travel programme, improve air quality, and address concerns over excessive vehicle noise.”

Country roads often present more danger for motorists due to difficult corners and risk of high-speed collisions. 

Rural roads are reported to be ten times more dangerous than motorways with around 10,000 annual deaths and serious injuries to motorists, cyclists and walkers. 

Most road deaths in Britain (57 percent) occur on rural roads despite accounting for just 43 percent of traffic, according to the Department for Transport. 

Road safety charity Brake said motorcyclists are two times more likely to die on rural roads than on urban roads and cyclists are three times more likely.


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The scheme could also be expanded to other areas in the future with West Sussex expressing interest, according to Duncan Knox, the council official overseeing the project. 

David Davies, executive director of the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety, said: “It is increasingly anomalous that speeds have been reduced to 20mph in urban areas, yet on country lanes, it is extremely dangerous.” 

Earlier this month British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, also urged speed limits to be reduced on rural roads without white centre markings. 

Policy manager Nick Chamberlin said: “We believe that 30mph is a much more sensible default.”

So what do YOU think? Should rural roads be reduced to 20mph to improve safety? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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