I HAVE enjoyed being out and about talking to constituents on the doorsteps of Fishcross and Sauchie in the last couple of weeks.

The state of council services have been on people’s minds with many welcoming the additional £1.7million secured by the Greens that has been used to save the primary schools at Fishcross and Coalsnaughton.

Another issue that has come up, especially in Fishcross, is about how high traffic speed on main roads is making the community feel unsafe.

There is certainly more that could be done by the council to put in physical speed reduction measures in the village on these through roads especially at the exit and entry points.

A child in my class at school was struck down and killed by a car while out playing on his bike, his death sent out a shock wave throughout the whole community.

Errors will always be made by children, drivers and cyclists, we need to ensure that the consequences of mistakes are not life changing or life ending because of high speed.

That’s one of the reasons why I have brought forward my Holyrood Bill to switch the speed limit on the roads where we live, work and play from 30mph to 20mph.

There is a wealth of evidence that reducing speed reduces accidents, every 1mph reduction in average speed cuts the accident rate by 6 per cent.

On 20mph roads only 18 per cent of drivers go faster than 30mph, while on 30mph roads over half do, so 20 limits slash the number of cars travelling at speeds where pedestrian accident survival rates are dramatically low. A national roll out of 20mph would bring consistency, pushing a culture change in the way we drive, enabling the Scottish Government to reinforce the message that when we are in a built up area, slow down.

There are strong equalities benefits for reducing speed limits too. A survey in Fife where 20mph was introduced showed a 20 per cent cut in accident rates after the first three years, but even higher reductions in deprived areas.

It would be great if every council had followed the example of Clackmannanshire by replacing 30 with 20 limits on most residential streets. Instead we have a postcode lottery.

For example in the Falkirk constituency of Transport Minister Michael Matheson there are no permanent 20mph streets.

Scottish Government policy is for 20mph in residential areas and yet so far they have allowed a handful of 20 zones to be the isolated exceptions to an unsafe 30mph blanket speed limit.

It’s time we turned this on its head and made 20mph the default on residential streets, while also focusing on making the remaining 30mph roads safer.

Scotland has led on bold public health initiatives such as the smoking ban, we need the political leadership to now slow the speed limit in our communities.

It’s popular too, surveys show at least two thirds of the public back a default 20mph limit; it’s time for the Scottish Government to get off the fence and back safer streets for everyone.