Should the speed limit in suburbs and towns be lowered again from 50km/h to 40km/h?

The Daily Telegraph

Wednesday 26 May 2004

The Debate



ENOUGH is enough!

Only months after reducing speed limits around Sydney to 50km/h, the RTA now wants the levels brought lower to a very pedestrian 40km/h. At this rate we soon won't need cars, it will be quicker to walk.

Yes, there needs to be work done to cut the pedestrian death and injury rates involving cars and, yes, forcing cars to travel slower reduces the risk.

But just implementing a blanket 40km/h for all streets, regardless of how they differ individually, is not the answer.

There are plenty of wide, safe roads around Sydney now where the current 50km/h limit seems excessive. Cutting them even further will be totally unfair to motorists.

No two roads are the same and limits should apply on an individual basis. Where the reduction warrants it, do it. But not everywhere.

Reducing the road toll should involve the use of a wide range of traffic management applications. Try speed humps, roundabouts, more crossings, extra fencing to restrict pedestrian access to key roads, pedestrian and driver public education programs.

Blankets are not for roads, they're for beds.

* David Fitzsimons is CARSguide editor



THIS is a very good idea.

Research has shown that if a pedestrian is hit at 40km/h, one in 10 will be killed.

At 50km/h, five in 10 will be killed and at 60km/h, nine in 10 will die.

In areas, particularly shopping centres, where there are very high levels of pedestrian activity, it is essential that we minimise the potential for harm.

The cost of road trauma to the people of NSW -- apart from the pain, grief and suffering -- exceeds $6 billion a year.

Pedestrian injuries are typically twice the cost of those injuries sustained inside motor vehicles. Therefore, if we can significantly reduce death and injury in these areas, we will not only save enormous amounts of money but we will make these shopping strips a far more harmonious place to shop.

The additional benefits are a better environment, less noise and air pollution.

Studies have shown that motorists generally reach their destination at the same time -- whether they are travelling at 50km/h or 60km/h -- because of traffic conditions and traffic lights.

* Harold Scruby is Pedestrian Council of Australia president.