Lower speed limits save lives – Ann St slow down a great step up

September 4th, 2018

Bicycle Queensland has welcomed Brisbane City Council’s decision to cut the speed limit on Ann Street from 60km/hr to 40km/hr, in a move that brings Ann Street into line with all other CBD streets except Turbot Street.

The action follows Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s launch of a citywide walking and cycling safety review, in the wake of a number of tragic pedestrian incidents in recent months.

Bicycle Queensland CEO Anne Savage commended the decision.

“Lower speed limits save lives – we applaud this commitment to protecting community safety,” she said.

“This is strong leadership from Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner, and Chair of Brisbane City Council’s Infrastructure Committee, Cr Amanda Cooper, who have all put their hearts into this initiative, recognising that we need to act.

“This move will make a major traffic corridor much safer for people who walk and ride, including large numbers of young women who attend All Hallows’ School on Ann Street.

“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 lower speed limits when motorised traffic mixes with people who walk, ride, and cross the street frequently.

“Setting slower speed limits in the CBD and selected suburban areas will save lives and significantly reduce the likelihood of serious injuries.

“Lower speed limits help to stop vehicles rushing through traffic lights to try and beat peak-hour gridlock.

“Lowering speed limits in both CBD and urban areas has been proven time and again to prevent crashes and save costs, which are ultimately always borne by the community.

“47 countries around the world have already implemented these commonsense practices to protect vulnerable road users, adopting a strong focus on 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 people who walk and ride by 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 high speed, the person is likely to be killed or seriously injured – lower speed limits save lives.

“Slowing down speed limits will accelerate our work to achieve the goal of zero deaths on our roads and in the Brisbane CBD,” Ms Savage said.

Bicycle Queensland analysis of road crash data has proven that a 10km/hr reduction in the speed limit in Brisbane CBD in 2009 reduced the average crash cost in car crashes involving a cyclist by $30,000 per crash, from about $250k to $220k – lowering the number of fatalities and serious injuries over a five-year period.

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