Councillors from the City of Yarra in Melbourne will vote tonight on whether to reduce the speed limit of some high-traffic, pedestrian-dense streets to 30km/h in an attempt to improve road safety.
Yarra councillor Jackie Fristacky said areas around schools and shopping centres would be the first targets of the tighter speed restrictions if the proposal were approved.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is also seeking public opinion about reducing speed limits in Melbourne’s CBD from 40km/h to 30km/h, with a vote expected next month.
“The bottom line is keeping people safe,” Mr Doyle told 3AW this morning. “I don’t want people getting hit by cars and suffering pretty terrible injuries, which is what is happening at the moment in the city.”
“It’s not going to slow you down much if you think about how slow the city is, but it might save a lot of accidents and injuries.”
Mr Doyle said every day there was 800,000 people, 300,000 cars, tens of thousands of bicycles and thousands of trams moving through the CBD.
“It’s a pretty dangerous mix. We are the highest-collision, highest-injury area in the state,” he said.
“It’s avoidable if people slow down a little, because it doesn’t slow down your travel time, but it means that when you brake it is that much more effective.”
Mr Doyle admitted the erratic attitude of a number of pedestrians in the city and their disregard for traffic lights was one reason behind the push to reduce vehicle speed limits.
He said no decisions had been made yet, and said speed limits would potentially be looked on a street-to-street basis.
“We’re not saying we’re going to do it, we’re just saying … ‘is this something that you would want us to look at to try to keep people safe?’” Mr Doyle said.
“I think you’d need to be sensible and say ‘Okay, what are the benefits of doing it as a blanket rule so everybody knows what the speed limit is? What are the benefits of doing it the differential way?’ And I think you can look at all of those possibilities.”
Dr Bruce Corben, senior research fellow from the Monash University Accident Research Centre, told News Ltd reducing your speed from 50km/h to 30km/h reduced the risk of death by as much as 90 per cent.
“Reducing travelling speeds is the most effective and cost-effective measure we can take,” Dr Corben said.
Even if the 30km/h proposals are passed by local government, any changes to speed limits must also be approved by VicRoads.
Do you think Melbourne, as well as other major cities and pedestrian-dense areas, would benefit from 30km/h speed limits? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.