30km/hr will save lives – joint action needed

July 6th, 2018

Bicycle Queensland has backed a call by Labor councillors for a trial of 30km/hr speed limit in Brisbane’s CBD, following a number of tragic incidents in recent months, including two fatalities.

The organisation has also welcomed Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s launch of a citywide pedestrian safety review, which would consider changes to speed limits.

Bicycle Queensland data shows lowering the speed limit reduces deaths and serious injuries from crashes, with nearly 800 cyclists are injured on Queensland roads each year, costing the economy over $220 million annually.

The data, taken from the Queensland Road Crash Database, finds that in Brisbane’s CBD, lowering the speed limit from 50km/hr to 40km/hr in 2009 significantly reduced the severity of road crash injuries for cyclists.

Bicycle Queensland CEO Anne Savage said the data backed up the international evidence that lowering speed limits saves lives.

“Lower speed limits save lives – we applaud the commitments made this morning by both LNP and Labor councillors on this and would welcome bi-partisan action,” she said.

“Analysis of road crash data has proven that a 10km/hr reduction in the speed limit reduced the average crash cost in car crashes involving a cyclist in the Brisbane CBD by $30,000 per crash, from about $250k to $220k – lowering the number of fatalities and serious injuries over a five-year period.

“International evidence demonstrates that on most roads, in most countries, 40-50 per cent of all cars travel above the speed limit, and someone who is hit by a vehicle traveling at 80km/hr has a three times higher risk of dying than if they had been hit by a vehicle moving at 50km/hr.

“According to United Nations data, even just a five per cent cut in the average speed reduces the number of fatal crashes by 30 per cent, and 47 countries have already implemented lower urban speed limits and laws that allow local authorities to further reduce speed limits to protect people on foot and riding bikes.

“International experts – including the United Nations – recommend setting speed limits at 30km/hr or lower when motorised traffic mixes with pedestrians and bike riders.

“Setting the Brisbane CBD speed limit at 30km/hr would save lives and help to stop vehicles rushing through traffic lights to try and beat peak-hour gridlock.

“Lowering speed limits in urban areas with high numbers of people on foot and on bicycle would save many lives and prevent crashes.

“47 countries around the world have already implemented these commonsense practices, but we must do far more to protect vulnerable road users by developing infrastructure and laws that discourage high-risk driving.

“Concerted investment to improve on-road bike lanes and build new separated cycleways is also critical – providing lifesaving protection for pedestrians and cyclists and eliminating risks of collisions involving motor vehicles – giving all road users greater peace of mind.

“While individual awareness is important, I cannot emphasise strongly enough the fact that if a vehicle impacts with a pedestrian or bike rider at a slower speed, the person is likely to survive and suffer less serious injuries.

“We can reach the goal of zero deaths on our roads and in the Brisbane CBD, but we need to lower the speed limit and create protected pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.”

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