Melbourne has joined other advanced global cities with a move towards lower, 30km/h urban speed limits.
A pocket of Fitzroy and Collingwood in inner Melbourne will host a major 12-month trial of the lower speed streets starting later next month.
The benefits are expected to be compelling, with greater safety for all road users, and more friendly streets for socialisation, family activities, and increased retail and commercial attractiveness.
The area is the neighbourhood streets bounded by Alexandra Parade, Johnston, Hoddle, and Nicholson streets, excluding Brunswick and Smith streets.
Bike riders will welcome the changes. Research has shown that bikes and cars can comfortably mix at speeds of 30 or less. If there is a crash, the risk of death or serious injury is much lower than at typical suburban traffic speeds.
Many world-leading cities are adopting lower speeds—30km/h or 20mph in neighbourhood, high pedestrian and high bike volume environments.
Reductions in crashes and injuries have been significant, more people walk and ride bikes, with the neighbourhoods becoming sought after.
The trial is being funded by the TAC, and will be carefully evaluated.
Bicycle Network General Manager of Public Affairs, Anthea Hargreaves said that the reduced speed zone will create a great local environment.
“When traffic speeds are 30 km/h or less, not only does the crash rate come down for all road users, but the streets feel different – less frantic and threatening, and more friendly and welcoming, especially for people on bikes. Everybody wins.”
If successful as expected, Bicycle Network will work to have more 30km/h areas introduced where they make sense.
There will be some resistance to the trial as some drivers have come to believe that their journeys will take longer. Now that there are millions of GPS devices tracking vehicles every day, we know this is unfounded.
Speed has been used by the motor industry for years as a hook to capture people suffering insecurity, promising them mastery of the roads. Such on-road therapy has resulted in deaths and terrible injuries for many people.
This trial is an important first step. There are huge benefits for bike riders down the track as speeds come down and the streets get safer and more bike friendly.
Please get involved in supporting this trial in the lead-up weeks, and during the 12 months of comfortable riding in Fitzroy and Collingwood.