High speed streets make our neighbourhoods unattractive places to ride bikes
Nearly all bike trips start on local residential streets. But the speed and volume of most neighbourhood streets discourage men, women and children from riding.
- High speeds discourage men, women and children from riding their bikes for short trips – whether it’s to the local shops, school or even a mates place – because they don’t feel safe or comfortable.
- Local streets with high speeds prioritise the movement of cars, rather than the movement of people walking and cycling. This intimidating environment leads to less physical activity and social interaction, impacting the livability of our suburbs.
- Unless we drop speeds in residential areas, bike riding will remain an underutilised activity and transport choice.
As fewer people ride and walk, our communities and neighbourhoods become disconnected, disengaged and unhealthy.
Across Australia authorities are reducing speed limits to 40km/h in residential streets, school zones and in shopping thoroughfares. But should they be lower?read more
On streets with no separate space for people to ride bikes, we must lower speed limits to 30km/h.
Reducing speeds on local streets by 10km/h on local streets, offers significant public health and safety benefits by reducing serious and fatal crashes.
It is the best, easiest, and fastest way to radically improve safety quickly, for both drivers and anyone in front of them.
Research from across the world shows that lower speeds not only leads to fewer crashes and less serious consequences, but that the entire community will benefit.
Lower speeds encourage more people, particularly kids and the elderly, to walk or ride their bike. The flow on effect is that local suburbs become healthier, happier and more connected as people become more physically and socially active.
Research from the Monash University Accident Research Centre also shows that slower speeds have little real impact on travel times.
Four ways slower speeds make our roads better
1. Slower speeds improve driver vision
A driver’s peripheral vision is reduced at higher speeds. By proactively slowing speeds in complex road environments, we can influence safe driving behaviour by increasing driver depth perception and field of vision.
2. Slower speeds create vibrant, livable communities
High speeds discourage people from riding their bikes for short trips – because higher speed roads can be perceived as hostile or intimidating environments. Less people riding or walking leads to less physical activity and social interaction.
3. Slower speeds don’t make trips longer
In cities, average road speeds are more greatly determined by the frequency of intersections, rather than speed limits. In fact, slower speeds can create more uniform speeds and reduce midblock accelerations while adding little to journey times.
A speed limit of 30km/h rather than 50km/h has been shown to only add 18 seconds of travel time between intersections one kilometre apart.
4. Slower speeds improve stopping time
At higher speeds, a car travels further during the reaction time from when the brakes are applied and the stopping distance is greater. This impacts the rate of momentum and energy at the point of the crash, impacting the severity of injury and chances of survival.
In the news
In an effort to drastically reduce the road toll, speed limits across WA could be slashed by up to 10km/ following a progressive proposal by...
Victoria is on track to record its worst road toll in 14 years. It's time for bold action on road safety.
The 30km/h speed limit trial in the Yarra council area is now underway, with the new speed limits being enforced since 21 September.
A global review into speed and crash risk is calling for 30km/h speed limits in built up environments.
The City of Yarra will become the first Victorian council to introduce a 30 km/h speed limit for local road users, a development welcomed by Bicycle...
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