Tuesday, 27 September 2011

EU agree on 20mph speed limit

After the disheartening response to the campaign to give Blackfriars Bridge a 20mph speed limit, it is great to read that the European Parliament has voted in favour of an EU-wide 30kph (18.6 mph) speed limit in residential areas. The resolution as it currently stands is not legally binding but indicates that the EU “strongly recommends the responsible authorities to introduce speed limits of 30 km/h in all residential areas and on single-lane roads in urban areas which have no separate cycle lanes.”

"Today marks a decisive day in making a 30kph speed limit an accepted practice throughout Europe," said a statement from the European Cyclists' Federation. But it is not just cyclists who are in favour of a 20mph speed limit. The Institute of Advanced Motorists released a poll last month in which two thirds of its members supported the adoption of a 20mph speed limit.

The EU are in support of the report of Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, which gave considerable mention to cyclists, as vulnerable road users. The Koch Report is now the European Parliament’s position on road safety and will have to be taken into consideration when the Commission puts forward proposals and initiatives.

The Koch Report states that vulnerable road users (such as riders of motorcycles, mopeds, cyclists and pedestrians) are significant, and their safety needs have not been addressed. In fact, accidents involving these road users are increasing and in 2008 they represented 45% of all road deaths and statistics.

Other ideas promoted by the report include increasing the data collection and analysis for accidents to aid the understanding of crashes and risks, such as by installing event data recorders (‘black boxes’), in professional vehicles.

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