Will more 40kph Zones make us safer

RiotPost 25 November 2009 60

The Chief Minister has put out this media release on how he is going to create 40kph zones around all shopping and community facilities (namely town centres) in order to achieve his goal of Vision Zero (no road fatalities).

I’m not sure if 40kph zones would have prevented the road fatalities we’ve had but maybe the idea of the reduced speed limits is to make us better drivers overall. By going at a slower speed we become more aware of what is around us when driving. Then again I could be totally wrong and it will make Northbourne Ave even more fun at peak hour when it is a 40kph zone from Dickson to Civic.

He’s giving the public until 18 December to put in their thoughts of the proposal.

The questionaire from the TAMS site is here.
The report on safety is here.

40kph Zones Everywhere?

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60 Responses to Will more 40kph Zones make us safer
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basketcase basketcase 2:41 pm 25 Nov 09

Like gun laws don’t stop the shootings, road speed laws wont stop the speeding. Therefore it is merely a revenue raising exercise.

Design is the key, I live on a road that if I do 60Km/hr, feels like I am doing 80 Km/hr, so it is fairly natural to drive at 40/50 Km/h

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 2:21 pm 25 Nov 09

aidan said :

Sgt.Bungers said :

Most roads in urban areas of the ACT were designed for a safe vehicle speed of 60km/h+. Simply lowering a speed limit on a road designed for a higher speed is lazy, sloppy, and can be argued as being a revenue raising practice.

Rip up the road, re-design it and re-build it to look and feel safe for 20-30km/h, as should be the case in areas of high pedestrian activity, and the majority drivers will travel at 20-30km/h without needing to look at their speedo.

I’m sorry but that simply isn’t true. I wish it were so, but real world observation says otherwise. There are alot of sports grounds adjacent to my local 50km/hr “minor collector road” which is lined with parked cars during the soccer season. This dramatically reduces the width of the road and should lead most people to reduce their speed. Do they? Bollocks! The majority do the same speed they always have and just swing out from the parked cars so they are partially in the oncoming lane. I know this as I have to move over so the buggers don’t hit my car.

Same story on my (bike) ride to work. Cresting a blind hill with sharp corner and no visibility the vast majority of cars just swing out into the oncoming lane to avoid me, instead of slowing down and passing with caution or even waiting until their visibility of oncoming traffic improves. I was shocked when someone actually did the second of those options. Must have been only the second or third time in 10 years of riding that route daily.

Education will also be necessary. In Aus, we’ve become too used to “the car is king”. The general concensous is, the minute a person gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, somehow their status is elevated. They have right of way over all, they paid for this road and therefore are not going to be hindered in any circumstnace, not no way no how. This accepted attitude is wrong, as well as incredibly dangerous and needs to be changed.

Some smaller European towns that have converted *EVERY* street to shared zones with absolutely no traffic restrictions have achieved decreases in fatality rates as high as 95%. The primary reason being, the street environment is now uncertain for drivers. In Aus, we can drive down a road safe in the knowledge that 99.999% of the time, nothing or nobody is going to move in front of us without some sort of warning. Our laws are geared this way. If you’re not on/in a wheeled transport device of some sort, generally you’re not allowed to be on the road. Thus people in motor cars can travel faster through our commercial and residential streets. Hence, that 0.001% of the time something unexpected does happen, drivers are not prepared for it and the results can be deadly.

In these European towns with entirely re-engineered streets and road safety laws, a person cannot drive down the road safe in the knowledge that a 15-20cm high ledge at the side of the road acts as a magic barrier between them and pedestrians, because legally it doesn’t. A pedestrain can walk out at any time, anywhere, for any reason, and if a collision results it is 100% the motor vehicle drivers fault in every circumstance. Hence, drivers expect people to appear in front of them at a nanosecond’s notice, meaning every nook, cranny and bit of furniture on the side of the street represents a potiential hazard, being a possible hiding place for a pedestrian who’s about to walk onto the street. Meaning people in cars are now hesitant to travel at speeds much above walking pace.

I’m not saying this would be a suitable system on all roads in Aus. In fact I’ll be one of the first to put my hands up calling for more strict motorway/rural dual carriageway standards in Aus to allower higher rural speeds between major cities. However in an urban environment, why does the car continue to be king? What about every other person who wants to use the road? Why are all of us legally viewed as second class citizens when we get out of our cars?

Funky1 Funky1 2:03 pm 25 Nov 09

Growling Ferret said :

Northborne is already a 40kmh zone or slower each morning peak.

The ACT has the lowest level of fatalities by population at around 2/3s the national average.
http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/37/Files/RDA_Oct09.pdf

More Nanny state crap, and would never have saved Clea Rose from the drug affected serial criminal that hit her…

It would not have saved the unseatbelted passenger in this car that was being driven by a friend under the influence of drugs
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/04/2645973.htm?site=canberra

The poor bloke who hit a roo on his motorbike would not have been saved – http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/02/2702895.htm

People will die from trauma received from motor vehicle accidents. Setting stupid goals of Vision Zero, No Wasts 2010, No Australain Child Will Live in Poverty etc is just stupid posturing by those that should know better.

And it would not have saved my Dad who died of a heart attack while behind the wheel a few years ago, yet was registered as a road fatality. Then a few weeks later Hargreaves comes out with a pearl of wisdom that ALL road fatalities in the ACT were due to excessive speed or inattention by road users. God knows how he could make such a blanket statement. Lost all credibility from that moment on.

GottaLoveCanberra GottaLoveCanberra 2:02 pm 25 Nov 09

Speed is NOT a cause of accidents, it is a multiplier of the damage that will occur when an accident happens.

Dumbarse drivers who fail to concentrate on what it is they’re doing and what they should be doing in a motor vehicle (aka a 1.5 ton steel missile) at all times and in all conditions.

Buzz2600 Buzz2600 12:44 pm 25 Nov 09

I tried to vote … but wouldn’t let me. Perhaps I’m not hitting the desired response that fits the pre-determined outcome?

By the way, I think slowing drivers down around shopping precints is a good idea – Dickson shops is a perfect example, accident waiting to happen with so many cars and pedestrians all going in different directions at once.

aidan aidan 12:37 pm 25 Nov 09

Sgt.Bungers said :

Most roads in urban areas of the ACT were designed for a safe vehicle speed of 60km/h+. Simply lowering a speed limit on a road designed for a higher speed is lazy, sloppy, and can be argued as being a revenue raising practice.

Rip up the road, re-design it and re-build it to look and feel safe for 20-30km/h, as should be the case in areas of high pedestrian activity, and the majority drivers will travel at 20-30km/h without needing to look at their speedo.

I’m sorry but that simply isn’t true. I wish it were so, but real world observation says otherwise. There are alot of sports grounds adjacent to my local 50km/hr “minor collector road” which is lined with parked cars during the soccer season. This dramatically reduces the width of the road and should lead most people to reduce their speed. Do they? Bollocks! The majority do the same speed they always have and just swing out from the parked cars so they are partially in the oncoming lane. I know this as I have to move over so the buggers don’t hit my car.

Same story on my (bike) ride to work. Cresting a blind hill with sharp corner and no visibility the vast majority of cars just swing out into the oncoming lane to avoid me, instead of slowing down and passing with caution or even waiting until their visibility of oncoming traffic improves. I was shocked when someone actually did the second of those options. Must have been only the second or third time in 10 years of riding that route daily.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 11:58 am 25 Nov 09

Relevant to the topic:

http://www.cabe.org.uk/news/kensington-high-street-sees-decrease-in-accidents

Notice how the alterations to high street in Kensington, London, did not include a drop in the speed limit, yet they experienced a decrease in incidents of 47%. Road engineering is key, up there with driver education.

Magic numbers printed on signs, hoisted on poles, do very little to enhance road safety, but as I said before, they are cheap and incite discussion amoungst the community, both negative and positive, which makes GovCo look like they’re doing something.

T1G3R T1G3R 11:52 am 25 Nov 09

Is speed really a factor here? Most of the time I find it’s stupid drivers that go straight in their lane when its turn right only or turn left only or running a red light or cutting you off, lane changing without doing a head check. Most drivers need a re-examination for the license rather than fix the road rules.

Spitfire3 Spitfire3 10:56 am 25 Nov 09

Spitfire3 said :

as it is one of the three major thoroughfares for cars travelling from the north side to the south side

Ok, maybe three isn’t the right number but my point remains.

Spitfire3 Spitfire3 10:54 am 25 Nov 09

I took the survey and wrote the following in the comments free text field:

“The most important thing I think is to be very careful about what areas/roads get included inside the border and what are excluded, ie think of the motorists too. For example, in Civic, Northbourne Avenue should most certainly NOT be reduced to 40km/h as it is one of the three major thoroughfares for cars travelling from the north side to the south side. What a bottleneck that would be.

However Bunda St and the small streets that come off it would be good candidates for the 40km/h limit because through traffic takes different roads nearby such as Cooyong St.

I support this reduction to 40km/h wholeheartedly as long as the distinction between which roads to apply it to and which to avoid is done sensibly and clearly. This distinction does not seem to have been addressed very much and I think you’ll come up against a lot of community opposition (whinging perhaps) if people think any of their main driving thoroughfares are going to be made 40k zones.”

lobster lobster 10:47 am 25 Nov 09

Have these 14 deaths last year occured around shopping and community facilities and were the vehicles invoved travelling between 40 and 50 kph?

Cos if not… Then this entire plan is flawed.

HAving said that… Around the inner streets of manuka and through the main shopping street in gungahlin and through Civic – you probably wouldn’t get up to 50kph anyway. I guess it depens on what they define to be those areas.

housebound housebound 10:46 am 25 Nov 09

A traffic study back in the eighties, which was still quoted only a few years ago, showed that the main reason for the ACT’s low accident rate is the hierarchical design of the road network, which keeps through traffic off the residential streets.

There was even a difference, albeit small, between the accident rate in the grid-pattern innner areas with less in the way of an arterial network,and Belconnen with all those arterial roads.

The inner north rat runs weren’t as much of a problem when the study was done, so I imagine the differences in accident rates should be even greater.

In that light, 40km/hour speed limit might make little difference in most suburbs, but it might lead to reduced accidents in the older areas with a lot of through traffic along residential streets.

astrojax astrojax 10:22 am 25 Nov 09

harvyk1 said :

It’s really just a band-aid solution to the fact that there are so many people on our roads who should never have been given a license in the first place, or who really need a better level of driver training.

bingo!

54-11 54-11 10:17 am 25 Nov 09

As Very Busy said on another recent thread about speed cameras:

“Many will probably shoot me down here, but I would say that it is infinately safer to travel at 90kmh on that stretch of road than it is to travel in any 80kmh zone while talking on a mobile, failing to use indicators, failing to give way etc. Yet, what are the stats – How many infringement notices have been handed out for each offence over the last year? I’ll bet that the speeding infringement is 100’s of times more often. After all it doesn’t take much effort to pull in those $ does it? That is why it’s called revenue raising.”

This 40kmh proposal does nothing substantive whatsoever about road safety. We must start enforcing current laws, not create more problems. Is this proposal a carry over from that dick, Hargreaves? Sounds like it.

sloppery sloppery 9:55 am 25 Nov 09

harvyk1 said :

It’s really just a band-aid solution to the fact that there are so many people on our roads who should never have been given a license in the first place, or who really need a better level of driver training.

Exactly.

Grail Grail 9:33 am 25 Nov 09

We definitely need more nannying in this state. Last year there were fewer deaths due to drugs, but more deaths due to being old. We should make the entire stretch from Belconnen Mall through to Woden Plaza 40 + pedestrian shared zone, that’ll sort ’em out.

That, and compulsory retesting for your licence every 5 years from age 20, design regulations on street-legal vehicles to restrict maximum speeds, and more cameras everywhere to catch people speeding, running red lights, jaywalking and picking noses in public.

But seriously, 14 deaths in one year is nothing. The only way we’re going to reduce the road toll to zero is by stopping everyone from driving altogether, but that will just mean more people dying from trips and falls because they’re not familiar with this whole “walking” thing.

harvyk1 harvyk1 9:25 am 25 Nov 09

It’s really just a band-aid solution to the fact that there are so many people on our roads who should never have been given a license in the first place, or who really need a better level of driver training.

KB1971 KB1971 9:07 am 25 Nov 09

Is this going to be another “No Waste by 2010”????

BTW, Im not opposed to 40 zones in these areas, just the unrealistic goal of “no fatalities”.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 9:04 am 25 Nov 09

And this will ultimately fail unless the road is re-engineered to suit. Most roads in urban areas of the ACT were designed for a safe vehicle speed of 60km/h+. Simply lowering a speed limit on a road designed for a higher speed is lazy, sloppy, and can be argued as being a revenue raising practice.

Rip up the road, re-design it and re-build it to look and feel safe for 20-30km/h, as should be the case in areas of high pedestrian activity, and the majority drivers will travel at 20-30km/h without needing to look at their speedo.

However, that wont happen in Aus anytime soon. Putting up new speed limit signs is far cheaper than proper road engineering and proper road safety practices.

Growling Ferret Growling Ferret 8:42 am 25 Nov 09

Northborne is already a 40kmh zone or slower each morning peak.

The ACT has the lowest level of fatalities by population at around 2/3s the national average.
http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/37/Files/RDA_Oct09.pdf

More Nanny state crap, and would never have saved Clea Rose from the drug affected serial criminal that hit her…

It would not have saved the unseatbelted passenger in this car that was being driven by a friend under the influence of drugs
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/04/2645973.htm?site=canberra

The poor bloke who hit a roo on his motorbike would not have been saved – http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/02/2702895.htm

People will die from trauma received from motor vehicle accidents. Setting stupid goals of Vision Zero, No Wasts 2010, No Australain Child Will Live in Poverty etc is just stupid posturing by those that should know better.

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