City speed limits drop to 40km/h

Speed limits on Melbourne’s city streets will soon drop to 40 km/h in a move police say will reduce the number of casualties on the road by about 25 a year.

The new limit will be introduced street by street over the next six to eight weeks, and will apply on all roads in the city grid, which is bounded by Flinders, Spring, La Trobe and Spencer streets.

Melbourne’s lord mayor Robert Doyle said the speed limit change would improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

“We know that if you’re a pedestrian and you get hit by a car that’s travelling over 40km/h, your chances of surviving are minimal,” Cr Doyle said.

“Research shows if we reduce the speed limit to 40km/h, we will prevent one fatality, nine serious injury crashes and up to 25 casualty crashes every year. If it saves a single life, it’s worth doing.”

“Pedestrians are some of our most vulnerable road users and the number of pedestrian collisions in the CBD is a major concern for police,” Superintendent Wilson said.  “We regularly conduct high-visibility operations in the CBD focused around pedestrian safety.”

Ben Rossiter, chief executive of Victoria Walks, said walking was the dominant mode of transport within the city centre, with about 70 per cent of journeys made on foot, so it made sense to set speed limits that made walking safer and easier… (he also)  said the CBD speed limit should ultimately be set at 30 km/h.

“Statistically, a person hit at 50 km/h has a 15 per cent chance of survival, compared to a 75 per cent chance at 40 km/h and a 90 per cent chance at 30 km/h.

Dr Rossiter predicted the change would also bring benefits for retail traders.

Adam Carey, The Age, September 21, 2012

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