Speed 23/9/2011

Citycyclist's submission to VicRoads review of speed limits:

1.  All 40km/h speed limits should be altered to 30km/h based on the empirical evidence relating to deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians and cyclists at speeds higher than 30km/h.  Refer to international best practice, especially in Europe, the UK and Ireland.  Ask MUARC.

2.  Councils should be free to introduce 30km/h speed limits without reference to VicRoads and the ridiculous requirement that physical modifications must be introduced to make it difficult to drive at higher speeds should be dropped.  Why have speed limits if you have to engineer the roads to make higher speeds impossible anyway?  Why has the City of Melbourne been waiting for several years and still can't be given a paltry 10km/h reduction in the CBD speeds?

Send yours to speedreview@roads.vic.gov.au


The graph at the right is from a page on the European Cyclists Federation.  From the same article: "Could you imagine Europe with 30km/h speed limits in residential areas? This is already common in many cities, and thanks to a report on road safety approved by the Transport Committee on Tuesday, it could become a reality across Europe in all residential areas in the near future...  We are happy to announce our warm support to the MEPs call for a 30km/h speed limit in all residential areas and on single-lane roads without cycle tracks."


Herald Sun article commenting on The Victorian Greens proposal for 30km/h speed limits in residential and shopping areas. 


See also Law and Enforcement

The default speed limit for vehicles in residential streets should be lowered from 50km/h to 30km/h.  See the UK campaign "Twenty's Plenty" (20mph ~= 30km/h)


See this paper by Prof Narelle Haworth, which focusses on pedestrian safety, however the same principles can be applied to bicycle safety:

  • "the human tolerance for a pedestrian hit by a well-designed car will be exceeded if the vehicle is travelling at over approximately 30 km/h.  If a higher speed in urban areas is desired, the option is to separate pedestrian crossings from the traffic.  If not, pedestrian crossings, or zones (or vehicles), must be designed to generate speeds of a maximum of 30 km/h."
  • "For pedestrian safety, vehicle speeds must be restricted to 30 km/h where there are vehicle-pedestrian conflicts, or alternatively cars and pedestrians should be physically separated."
Lowering the speed limit in residential streets makes them safe and comfortable for cycling without any bike lanes or other expenditure.  That is very cost effective and allows funding to be directed to busy roads where faster speeds are permitted.  

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