Press Release 8 September 2023
The Love 30 Campaign (www.love30.ie), for lower speed limits and safer neighbourhoods welcomes recent announcements by Ministers Eamon Ryan and Jack Chambers that they plan to bring a memo to Government with proposals to reduce speed limits. Speed is a major factor in the cause and outcome of road traffic collisions. Love 30 is horrified by the 24% increase in fatalities as a result of road traffic collisions in 2023 compared to the same period last year and 39% compared to 2019.
Love 30 calls on the Government to introduce a default speed limit of 30 km/h in built-up areas. 30 km/h is fundamentally safer than 50 km/h for pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users. Where speeds are reduced to a maximum of 30 km/h in urban areas a significant decline in casualties will occur with fewer and less severe injuries. A default limit does not prevent a higher limit being introduced where it is deemed necessary and safe.
Figures from the RSA show that if a pedestrian is hit by a car:
- At 30 km/h 1 in 10 will die
- At 50 km/h 5 in 10 will die
- At 60 km/h 9 in 10 will die
Muireann O’Dea, spokesperson for Love 30 says, “30 km/h may seem very slow, but in fact it will only add a minute to a typical journey, and it creates quieter, cleaner and safer streets that are not dominated by fast moving traffic, and it promotes increased levels of walking and cycling”.
As well as significantly reducing the number of casualties, 30km/h speed limits:
- Allow children to play outdoors more safely
- Make our cities and towns more liveable by allowing people of all ages and abilities to walk or cycle to study, work, shops, and make visits to friends and family
- Improve the general health of the population
- Contribute to our climate action plan by reducing emissions, and getting more people walking and cycling
Love 30 is also calling for greater enforcement of speed limits in urban areas. The RSA ‘Driver Attitude & Behaviour Survey 2021’ found that 57% of motorists admit to exceeding 50 km/h speed limits by up to 10 km/h.
Joan Swift, spokesperson for Love 30 added “We need education about and the enforcement of speed limits on urban roads as well as main roads, so that drivers get the message that it is not acceptable to exceed speed limits in our towns and cities”.
Love 30 calls for the implementation of the default speed limit of 30 km/h in urban areas without delay. Wales introduced legislation for a default urban speed limit of 20 mph in July 2022 with full implementation in September 2023.
An Taisce Green-Schools programme also supports the call for a default 30 km/h in urban areas and in the vicinity of schools. Earlier this year, Green-Schools Travel Manager Ciara Norton welcomed Wicklow County Council’s decision to implement 30km/h limits in the vicinity of all schools in the county and further welcomes the potential of the national speed limit review; reduced speeds are part of what will make the journey to school on foot or on wheels an enjoyable and fun time for young people in a safe and welcoming environment. In 2021, Green-Schools Travel Officers conducted speed surveys at schools nationwide. Speeds at drop off time during their inaugural ‘Speed Week’ included some staggering speeds including 114 km/h in a 50 zone. On average, 36% of drivers were exceeding the legal speed limits in the mornings.
Many cities including London (20 mph), Brussels, Milan, Santander, Bilbao, Paris, Washington DC (20 mph), Boulder (Colorado, 20 mph), Wellington, have introduced widespread 30 km/h limits. Several countries are introducing default 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas including Netherlands, Spain, and Wales (20 mph). Since Edinburgh introduced wide-area 20 mph (32 km/h) speed limits in 2016 the city has seen a 38% reduction in casualties.
About Us The Love 30 Campaign (www.love30.ie) is an alliance of organisations and individuals who support lower speed limits in built up areas. We are campaigning for the introduction of more 30 km/h zones in urban areas, but particularly in town and village centres, residential areas, and near schools and other places of public assembly.