May 162012

Melbourne City Council has allocated money in its budget to reduce speed limits in the CBD to 40km/h.

But they’re still waiting for Vicroads, and the Minister for Transport, to sign off on the plan.

This would be a safety win for all road users – chances of death and injury decrease significantly between 50 km/h and 40 km/h. It will also make the urban environment a bit more relaxing for everyone.

Ultimately, we’re working towards 30 km/h in the CBD, strip shopping areas, and residential areas. That’s the speed at which it becomes much more feasible for cyclists and drivers to ‘share the road’, because it’s safer and we’re on a bit more of an equal playing field.

30km/h is an evidence-based speed limit that makes pedestrians and cyclists safer. Chances of survival increase rapidly 40km/h down to 30 km/h. According to the World Health Organisation, pedestrians have 90% chance of surviving car crashes at 30 km/h or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving impacts at 45 km/h or above. It is likely that similar differences exist for cyclists.

Lower speed limits should be combined with traffic calming measures that make it physically difficult to speed, regardless of legal sanctions or ineffective signs. Both are needed: without traffic calming, drivers tend to ignore speed limits, and without speed limits, there are no legal sanctions and speed limits cannot be enforced.

Reducing speeds to 30 km/h will make Melbourne a safer place for pedestrians and a cyclists, and a nicer place to walk and hang out in. Where speed limits are higher than 30km/h, governments should provide safe bike lanes.

 Posted by at 8:29 am

  One Response to “Safer speed limits should be introduced in Melbourne CBD”

  1. Sorry, this is sheer stupidity. The idea should be separate bike lanes, not sharing a similar lane with cars. At 30kph, many cyclists will not only be stuck behind slow cars (who will actually do 25kph as they are frightened of speed cameras), they’ll be forced to overtake them on the left, which is dangerous and illegal, and they’ll be speeding themselves. BUG has long struck me as the most sensible bike organisation going, and now it seems mired in pushing an anti-car agenda rather an a pro-cycling agenda in its bicycle advocacy. What the hell happened? Even if you get 30kph in the CBD, within 3 minutes I’m out of the city and in the 60kph traffic. Unless you advocate 30kph on every shared road in Melbourne, this idea of a restriction only affects commuters for 1% of their entire journey. Leave it at 40kph.

    The biggest hindrance to cycling is sharing roads at all. Campaign with local councils to get more cycle lanes painted on roads, or even entire cycle lanes like bus lanes as a commuting network across the city. That’ll push cyclists onto those roads, and off the myriad other roads that they share with cars, easing the situation for all road users. So many roads already can accomodate such lanes, and it requires is a lick of paint.

    The other big hindrance is the helmet law. The last state Labor government tripled the fines to $153, and now of course the police are the gustapo and cracking down on cyclists to fill their quota of fines. Cut it to $30 at minimum, preferable no law at all as in Europe. Certainly only make it a road law. Dedicated bike paths like along the Yarra and beach between Port Melb and Beaumauris should be exempt. How many cyclists ever killed along those? Then you might get more people using the blue hire-bikes that mostly sit because of a short-sighted and moronic law that further discourages cycling because it creates a perception the activity is dangerous.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>