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Reducing speed limits to 30 km/h in built-up areas – would you be in favour?

The Institute of Public Health said lowering the speed limit will benefit public health.

REDUCING SPEED LIMITS down to 30 kilometres per hour reduces the number of accidents and the severity of injuries, according to the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.

Teresa Keating of the IPH said that studies show that reducing the speed limit in built-up areas could save lives, adding that lower speed limits are becoming the norm across Ireland, particularly in residential areas near shops and schools.

In 2010, a new bye-law passed by Dublin City councillors enforcing a 30km/h zone in some parts of the city, caused some controversy, attracting a number of complaints from drivers and businesses.

Residential areas

Keating says that lower speed limits help protect the most vulnerable in society, like the elderly and children, adding that recent research shows that reducing speed limits in residential streets means more children can play outdoors and it is more conducive to community and neighbour interaction.

“Research in 2013 from Edinburgh has shown that the proportion of older primary school children allowed to play unsupervised on the street outside their home rose from 31% to 66% following the introduction of 20 mph speed limits. A study carried out in Bristol in 2012 showed that walking and cycling rates rose by 23% and 20.5% respectively following the introduction of 20 mph speed limits there,” she said.

Pedestrians

Not only would the lower speed limits prevent injuries and accidents for drivers and pedestrians, but it also makes the roads more safe for cyclists, “ensuing health benefits from active travel and physical activity,” said Keating.

However, lower speed limits is not without its challenges, as emissions are highest in slow moving traffic.

Keating says reducing traffic volumes by getting more people to switch to public transport and active travel should be the method used to reduce emissions.

However, Keating acknowledged that getting drivers to change their perception about what is an appropriate driving speed will be a “long-term challenge”.

Do you think this is a good idea? Should speed limits be lowered to 30 km/h in all built-up areas?


Poll Results:

No (3335)
Yes (1558)
I don't know (211)

Read: What’s the speed limit in France? Or Spain?>

Read: Have you checked your tyres lately?>

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