Call for lower speed limits during COVID-19 emergency

22 April 2020

The Love30 Campaign has sent the following letter to Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport asking him to consider the introduction of a 30 km/h speed limit on all urban roads as a way of reducing the burden on our healthcare system.

Dear Minister,

I am writing on behalf of the Love30 Campaign for lower speed limits. We campaign for 30 km/h speed limits in residential areas, in town and village centres, and in the vicinity of schools and places of public assembly. We have met with you in the past, and you have been pro-active in pushing local authorities to reduce vehicle speeds in populated areas, particularly where children are a feature. You will be aware of the dramatic reduction in traffic on our roads during the Covid-19 restrictions. This reduction is in many ways very welcome. Unfortunately, however, some drivers are using the less congested roads as an opportunity to speed up, in many cases exceeding the posted speed limits. These faster speeds can give rise to more deaths and injuries on our roads at a time when we would all wish to reduce the burden on our healthcare system. Healthcare personnel, both here and elsewhere, have appealed to drivers to slow down and these appeals have been supported by the Road Safety Authority. Also, there has been a welcome increase in the number of people, and especially children, walking and cycling in recent weeks. It is vital, therefore, that every measure possible is taken to make our roads safer for our citizens at this challenging time.

As Minister, you signed the Stockholm Declaration in February to reduce road deaths and stated that: "Every death on our roads is one too many". Resolution #11 of this Declaration focuses on speed management and mandates ‘a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner’.

Brussels has announced a 20 km/h speed zone in its city core from May 1 to give residents more space during coronavirus. Other major cities have shut many roads to through traffic, and have repurposed the streets to make the environment safer for all vulnerable road users, as well as adding further protection in combating Covid-19.

You, as Minister, have made a number of important interventions to improve the safety of vulnerable road users. In these, the final days of the present government, there is an ideal opportunity to further protect our people during this Covid-19 outbreak.

In recognition of all of the above We ask you to consider the introduction of a 30 km/h speed limit on all urban roads. This could be achieved immediately via Ministerial Order under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 2004.

I look forward to your response, and would be happy to discuss these issues (remotely) with you at any stage. Yours sincerely, Mairéad Forsythe, Love 30 Campaign