In the United Kingdom, by definition, they are measured in miles, but the results of the research are comparable to the continent.
The urban speed limit of 20 miles per hour – 32 kilometers per hour to be exact – did not live up to expectations: the number of accidents did not decrease significantly compared to traffic with a higher speed limit.
This was established by the joint research of Queen’s in Belfast and the University of Edinburgh, which was reported by Sky News witnessed.
Limiting the speed limit to 20 mph in residential areas does not significantly improve safety, the study found.
The researchers compared accident data on 76 streets in Belfast city center before and after 2016, when the speed limit was reduced to 20 mph.
The results of their study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health were published.
There was “no statistically significant difference” in the number of accidents and fatalities between inner-city streets and roads with a speed limit of 30 (48km/h) or 40mph (64km/h) in other parts of Northern Ireland.
On the other hand, traffic was reduced on streets where the speed limit was set at 20 mph.
Paradigm shift: the person before the car
The research was smaller in scale than some other studies on the same topic, the authors of the study acknowledged.
In order to change the driving culture and change the car-dominated paradigm, it has been suggested that speed limits should be promoted by the authorities through a combination of proper driver training, surveillance cameras and polite police communication.
The aim of the speed limit is not only to influence traffic safety, but “can be part of the re-regulation that determines the priorities of life and places the person in front of the car in order”, wrote the two professors, dr. Ruth Hunter and Dr. In an account by Ruth Jepson.
They noted that programs aimed at 20mph, or 30km/h, speed limits are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and other parts of Europe.
The intention is to reduce the number of road accidents and injuries, while at the same time making the achievement of climate change objectives more attainable.
In Wales, the default speed limit will be just 20 miles per hour instead of the previous 30.
The Welsh parliament, the Senedd, passed the law in July, which covers streets and other busy roads in most populated areas. The regulation will enter into force on September 17, 2023.
The law is already being criticized. The 20mph speed limit will pose even greater challenges to the sector, which is already struggling to recruit drivers, said Cardiff’s public transport company director, Paul Dyer, for example.
In England, Witney in Oxfordshire has decided to become the first town in the county to designate 20 mph traffic zones from July.
The focus is on changing drivers’ mindsets rather than forcing them to reduce speeds, argued the county council, which wants to make it “socially unacceptable for drivers to break the speed limit”. reported the Oxford Mail.
(Cover photo: 30 km/h speed limit on a street in Hamburg. Photo: Soeren Stache / picture alliance / Getty Images)