Love 30 Submission on Cork City Special Speed Limit Bye Laws

This is the submission we have made to Cork City Council on the Cork City Road Traffic (Special Speed Limits) Bye-Laws 2024.

Have your say, by making a submission on behalf of yourself or local community group by 10 April 2024!

Love 30, the Campaign for 30 km/h Speed Limits, welcomes the opportunity to make observations on the Cork City Road Traffic (Special Speed Limits) Bye-Laws 2024.

The proposals will mean that at least five sets of bye-laws will be in operation at the same time (2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2024), which will create unnecessary complication, confusion and potentially errors. Consolidation of the bye-laws texts and associated maps is badly needed.

Cork City has a total of approximately 600 km of residential road. Previous iterations of the bye-law process, over a period of more than a decade, have resulted in 30 km/h speed limits on approximately 140 km of road. The Road Traffic Bill 2024, which is likely to be enacted later this year, mandates a built-up area speed limit of 30 km/h, which will apply to nearly all housing estates and residential streets, so it would make sense to include them in these bye-laws. We welcome the introduction of 30 km/h speed limits in some housing estates in Cork City. However is it not clear why certain housing estates and residential streets have been omitted, for example

  • Drawing A31 - Dunvale
  • Drawing A32 - Ashford Court
  • Drawing A43A - Alyesbury

The 30 km/h speed limits in certain housing estates will make these areas quieter and safer. But it will not create safe routes to schools, workplaces, shops and leisure facilities, and so will not encourage people to switch to walking and cycling for everyday journeys. As an example, Drawing 11 shows a proposed Slow Zone for The Orchards Estate, Montenotte. This estate connects with Middle Glanmire Road, a narrow road, with narrow footpaths on one side which will continue to have a 50 km/h speed limit. The residents of The Orchards will not be able to safely make journeys on foot or by bike once they leave the estate and join the Middle Glanmire Road.

We are disappointed that 30 km/h has not been introduced for the Cork city ‘island’. This is a missed opportunity to transform this to a pedestrian and cycling friendly zone.

We also note that this consultation has not been posted on, as required by the Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits in Ireland.

Following a detailed analysis of the bye-law text and maps we have noted a number of typos, inconsistencies between the maps and text, incorrectly named roads, and gaps where some parts of an estate have been omitted from 30 km/h speed limits. These are listed in Appendix A (see attached document).

Benefits of 30 km/h Speed Limits

Introducing widespread 30 km/h is one of the most cost effective ways of improving road safety. Studies in the UK found that wide area 30 km/h limits are seven times more cost effective than isolated zones with physical traffic calming.

A default speed limit of 30 km/h in urban areas makes it easier for all road users to know the speed limit. It also reduces the number of speed signs to be installed by the Council, thus reducing costs and visual clutter. Frequent changes of speed limits can be confusing for motorists and are often ignored. 30 km/h has very little impact on journey times, since much of the travel time in urban areas is spent at traffic lights, or stuck in traffic, so motorists travelling at 50 km/h or faster are just racing to the next traffic lights. On a typical 20 minute journey, travelling at 30 km/h instead of 50 km/h will add between 20 seconds to a minute to the journey time.

The pandemic has changed people’s travel patterns and many of these changes will be permanent. People working from home are making more short local journeys that could just as easily be made on foot or by bike, if a safe environment is provided. A 30 km/h speed limit provides a quieter, cleaner, safer environment where people are more likely to choose to walk or cycle, thus benefiting local businesses, and the local community.

Lower speeds result in less noise and pollution. On residential roads and shopping streets, people simply don't want to be exposed to the noise, fumes and dangers from higher speed traffic. Air pollution currently kills more than 1,000 per year in Ireland, primarily through asthma, cancers and other pulmonary illnesses. Towns, villages and cities with 30 km/h speed limits are more attractive places for tourists, and many EU tourists are used to 30 km/h in their home countries.

While every life is priceless, the Road Safety Authority estimates the average cost of a fatal collision to be €2.7 million, so any reduction in fatal and serious collisions results in significant financial savings. There were 26 fatalities on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h in 2020. As can be seen in the graphic below a speed limit of 30 km/h can significantly reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries. The cost of implementing 30 km/h is minimal.

Ireland is a signatory to the Stockholm Declaration of the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in February 2020. It mandates in Resolution #11 ‘a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner’.
This same Stockholm Declaration also recognises that road deaths and injuries constitute a preventable epidemic. This agreed resolution #11 needs to be acted upon here in Ireland. We urge Cork City to introduce a default 30 km/h speed limit in the interests of public safety, reduced road deaths and serious injuries, and reduced air pollution.