Local activists from Cycling Rebellion have launched the LOVE 20 campaign at Winton Banks in Bournemouth, calling for a 20mph speed limit on Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) roads where citizens live, work, shop and play.
Heart shaped spoof 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit signs were displayed along the road, chalk art brought the iconic LOVE 20 symbol to life and passers-by were invited to participate in a survey board with questions about road safety.
The survey board asked whether respondents would be comfortable cycling along Winton High Street; if they would like to see our streets become safer for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. Some specific questions about improvements that BCP council might introduce were posed and whether those same improvements might encourage them to walk or cycle more.
Members of the public from families to retirees spoke about how they feel walking and cycling on Winton High Street and were amazed to hear the huge support for a lower speed limit. Residents raised many concerns, including difficulty crossing the road, not feeling safe enough to cycle their children to school, congestion and air pollution.
Several parents stopped at the stand and expressed their frustration that they do not feel safe completing the school run on foot or bicycle, because of the sheer amount of traffic on local streets. Some said that traffic around their schools, in particular, was a real problem.
Adam Osman, founder of Cycling Rebellion, the group spearheading the LOVE 20 campaign, explained:
“It’s often the vocal minority who are most heard when it comes to discussions around social and environmental changes. However, we know that 72 per cent of drivers actually support a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas. It makes so much sense to adopt a 20 mph speed limit – there are benefits in terms of safety for pedestrians, reduced CO2 emissions and improved air quality. We have heard a lot recently about a so-called war on motorists – we are here today to promote safer, happier streets for all.”
Greg Lamb, a property manager from Bournemouth and member of the campaign had this to say:
“We heard from some people who didn’t support a 20 mph speed limit, but they were surprised to hear the reasons why we are asking for it. Research shows that at 20 mph there is a 13 per cent reduction in pedestrian fatalities and there are 40 per cent fewer road collisions. There is also a fuel saving, which for cash-strapped families, at the moment, is a surprise bonus.”
Liz Brereton, a counsellor and support worker from Bournemouth, said
“When I was a child, it was absolutely normal and natural to cycle or ride to school, the roads seemed so much safer and more welcoming. It’s such a shame now that our streets are absolutely dominated by cars and cars are bigger than ever. It’s time to take back our streets and redress the balance – urban streets for people not machines.”
Love 20 is encouraging as many people as possible to fill in BCP’s upcoming consultations so that people’s voices are properly heard on 20 mph speed limits. The campaign will be touring BCP encouraging as many people as possible to take part in the upcoming consultations.
Cycling Rebellion is an affinity group of the campaigning organisation Extinction Rebellion formed in Poole in 2023. Their ethos is
“Let’s transform our cities, one street at a time.
We bring together cyclists to bring about change.”