History of speed limits

A brief history of speed limits in the UK.

During 1865 and 1896 there was a requirement for a person carrying a red flag to precede a locomotive and the upper speed limit was 4mph with a lower limit of 2mph in cities, towns and villages. The limit was increased to 14mph and in 1903 was raised to 20mph. Speed limits for cars and motorcycles were abolished in 1930 but in 1934 the general 30mph limit for built up areas (roads with street lighting) was introduced.

The national 70mph limit was introduced in 1965 for all roads and in 1977 the 70mph limit on dual carriageways and 60mph limit on single carriageways was put in place for cars and motorcycles. In 1999 local authorities could impose 20mph limits without needing consent from the government.

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