Road safety campaigners call on Ryan to set default 30km/h urban speed limit

— Default limit does not mean some roads cannot have higher limits, says group.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan should comply with Ireland’s commitment to the United Nations on 30km/h by setting the limit as the urban default limit, campaign group Love 30 said this morning.

The group wants Minister Ryan and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton to include the change in the forthcoming Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Love 30 said that Ireland is a signatory to the February 2020 Stockholm Declaration of the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

A section of this declaration committed to: “mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe, noting that efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.”

The group said: “It will then be for councils to decide which roads should have a different speed limit. A default limit does not prevent a higher limit being introduced where it is deemed necessary and safe, but the ultimate benefit of a low speed limit would be a cleaner environment and improved safety for people walking and cycling while also protecting our right to health and wellbeing.”

Joan Swift of Love 30 Sligo said: “Ireland needs to move quickly to implement the Stockholm Declaration and introduce default 30 km/h speed limits in all built-up areas. We have fallen behind our UK and EU neighbours where 30 km/h is increasingly becoming the norm in town centres and in residential areas.”

Swift added: “The Welsh Parliament has voted for a 20-mph default urban speed limit and more than a hundred French cities have introduced default 30 km/h limits.”

Mairéad Forsythe of Love 30 Dublin said: “We need 30 km/h speed limits on our residential roads, outside our schools and in the centres of our cities, towns, and villages so that people can move about more safely and enjoy a more people-friendly space.”

She added: “This is more important than ever during COVID-19 restrictions when there has been a surge in the number of people moving about outdoors on foot and by bicycle”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

2 Comments

  1. Randall mc Gowan April 5, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Before that happens which I totally support we badly need enforcement of the existing 30 kph which is being totally ignored in most areas

  2. More than enforcement, we need to see a change in infrastructure so it is impossible to go faster. This means narrowing road drastically. They can begin with narrowing all 2×2 and 2×1 roads to a 1×1. 2×2 do not belong in an urban environment if they are not part of an orbital route. Immediate advantage of this is more space for pedestrians and people on bicycles, scooters and the like.

    Perhaps even more, a complete mentality change is needed for people in cars as they still think they are top of the traffic pyramid while they should be bottom.

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