Dozens of lives could be saved in Scotland over the next decade under radical plans to roll out 20mph speed limits on the country’s roads.
The plans would also result in savings of £360 million through thousands of accidents being prevented, according to proposed new laws unveiled by Green MSP Mark Ruskell.
The move already has the backing of MSPs from across the political spectrum with Transport secretary Michael Matheson having held talks with Mr Ruskell about bringing the proposal into force.
Mr Ruskell said the intrduction of 20pmh limits has been a success, but there is a “post-code lottery” across Scotland that must be addressed.
Round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont is among those backing the change.
Mr Ruskell said: “I think it’s quote clear with the introdcution of 20 already in our communities, there are people alive today who otherwise would not have been were not for those 20mph limits,” he said.
“It’s clear that a lower limit will mean safer streets, and I’m delighted that my bill enjoys widespread public support, the backing of safety groups, health experts, local authority chiefs and campaigners such as Mark Beaumont.
“I look forward to it being examined by parliament in the months ahead.”
The plans will not mean a “blanket apprpach” is adopted across all city streets and busier, arteriel routes are still likely to retain a 30mph limit.
But it will mean that the “default” in most built-up up areas will now revert to 20mph.
Financial memorandum produced to go alongside the Bill indicates that between between two to three lives a year could be saved under the proposals and more than 500 road accidents.
Annual savings in the cost to police, the health service and individuals as well as businesses could reach £36 million a year, it adds with these benefits recurring “year on year” Mr Ruskell added.
The Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill has been introduced at Holyrood, with Mr Ruskell stating it could be law by the end of 2019.
He said: “We need to slow down.
“We know that we’re seven times less likely to die if we’re hit by a vehicle at 20mph than 30 - and ten times less likely if we’re over 60 years of age.
“So making roads in built-up areas 20 rather than 30mph makes bags of sense.
“It’s great to see Mark Ruskell’s bill in the Scottish Parliament helping build the momentum on this issue and I hope we see it become law in the near future.
“This is about saving lives, reducing injuries and improving public health and enjoyment by making our streets safer and healthier places to cycle and walk.”