Cutting our driving speed to 20mph in residential streets will save lives. It’s as simple as that.
Most of us have now heard the most telling statistic; your chances of surviving being knocked by a car travelling at 30mph are less than 50/50, but if the car was travelling at 20mph your chances leap to 95 per cent. And parents’ fears about speeding traffic are one of the main reasons that so few children walk or cycle to school.
Journey times will hardly be affected by cutting limits on residential streets because the existing 30mph limit will remain on main roads.
Yes, there may be some debate about which roads are classed as residential and which as local, but most people will have little difficulty with the general idea.
The problem comes in enforcing it. There is no point in introducing huge swathes of 20mph zones across Edinburgh if the new limit is not enforced.
Our story today shows that almost half of drivers in parts of the city are ignoring the lower limit.
We understand that police have to balance priorities as they manage their limited resources.
Catching speeding drivers on relatively quiet residential roads cannot often be at the top of their priorities.
But without some way of ensuring drivers stick to 20mph then we get none of the benefits.
Speed bumps can create as many problems as they solve and no-one wants to see a speed camera on every corner. More thought needs to go into finding ways of enforcing the lower speed limit which don’t alienate large numbers of law-abiding people.
Perhaps the time has come to try radical ideas like handing speed guns to volunteers who can help police identify hot spots for crackdowns.
It’s a net gain
Edinburgh naturally trades on its historic image, it’s why many tourists flock here every year.
But that doesn’t mean we should to be stuck in the past.
Virgin’s bid to roll-out of free wi-fi in the city centre could be a great step forward in ensuring that, as well as highlighting the Capital’s ancient charm, we are also viewed as a modern and dynamic city.
While this is a great boost for every smartphone user in the city, it is just as important for visitors.
They already know Edinburgh is full of historic buildings and hidden treasures – now they can use their phone for free to help them find their way to them.