LOW SPEED LOCALS

Together we can lower speeds on local streets across Australia

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The problem

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.

The speed and volume of motor vehicles increase the risk of a crash and the severity of a crash. On local streets the perceived risk of a crash discourages most people from riding.

Livable Streets
Lower speeds save lives

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of non-natural deaths worldwide. Lower speed limits may help prevent accidents. But speed-reduction policies can be controversial and politically unpopular. 

The solution

On local streets with no separate space for people to ride bikes, we must lower speed limits to 30km/h. It is the gold standard of speed on local streets and is recommended by the OECD.

30km/h speed limit sign

Reducing speeds by 10km/h on local streets offers significant public health and safety benefits.

It is the best, easiest, and fastest way to radically improve safety quickly, for both drivers and anyone in front of them.

30 km/h speed limits where people and traffic mix make for streets that are safe, healthy, green and liveable, in other words, streets for people.

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.

The facts

  • Slower speeds save lives – someone has a 45 per cent chance of surviving if they are hit by a car travelling at 45km/h, but at 30km/h the chance of survival increases to 90 per cent. The fatality risk for a pedestrian hit by a car at 50 km/h is also more than five times higher than the risk at 30 km/h.
  • Slower speeds improve stopping time – The speed and volume of motor vehicles increase the risk of a crash and the severity of a crash. Driving at a slower speed also helps drivers stop within a shorter distance. 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. 
  • Slower speeds improve drive 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.
  • 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.

How are we campaigning to lower speeds?

We campaign to lower speeds on local streets at every opportunity. 

  • Every budget submission we make or election campaign we run, we campaign for lowering speed limits – see our most recent budget submissions and Victorian council election campaign
  • We included a call to lower speed limits as part of our six month COVID recovery plan – Pedalling to a better normal
  • Supporter of the UN Love30 campaign as part of UN Global Road Safety Week
  • We raise lowering speeds in meetings with government stateholders including the Roads Ministers and road authorities.
  • Work with school communities through Ride2School to lower speed limits on streets surrounding schools. 
  • Promote the actions of governments around the world through In the Loop. 

In the news

Hobart proposes lower city centre speed limits

There has been some backlash to the City of Hobart’s proposal to lower speed limits in its city centre and suburban shopping strips, despite the...

Support growing for lower speed limits

Melbourne newspaper The Age has come out in support of lowering speed limits to make our streets safer.

RACV school speed proposal not low enough

Bicycle Network supports the RACV’s call for lower speed limits outside every school in Victoria, but would like to see it go further.

Plans to slash speed limits by 10km/h in WA

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...

Time for urgent action on road safety

Victoria is on track to record its worst road toll in 14 years. It's time for bold action on road safety.

30km/h speed trial now active

The 30km/h speed limit trial in the Yarra council area is now underway, with the new speed limits being enforced since 21 September.

Lower speeds to 30km/h and save lives

A global review into speed and crash risk is calling for 30km/h speed limits in built up environments.

Yarra City Council pioneers 30km/h local streets

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...

Liveable speed spreads to Maribyrnong

The City of Maribyrnong is the latest Melbourne local council to embrace liveable speed streets to enhance bike riding and reduce risk for riders. Maribyrnong...

For more stories on how lowering speed limits save lives and creates liveable communities, check out the newsroom. 

Newsroom

Take action

Collective action makes a difference. As we work with decision-makers, help strengthen our campaign to lower speeds to 30km/h on local streets.

Write to the Minister

Contact your local MP, Roads Minister and council and let them know that you support lowering speed limits in your local area. 

Become a member

Join us and help make our voice even stronger so that we can influence real change in our neighbourhoods.

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