One of the things Bicycle NSW does is represent bike riders in meetings with government and road safety stakeholders. At February’s Road Safety Partners’ Forum, Waverley Council shared the new approach it’s trying for road safety – setting a default speed of 40km/h across the whole Local Government Area.
Waverley Council illustrated the rationale very clearly.
Reducing speed limits from 50km/h to 40km/h makes a huge difference in the outcome of an accident if a pedestrian is hit by a car, truck or SUV. Part of the Road Safety Strategy 2021 (p17) includes partnering with local government to expand 40hm/h zones in high pedestrian areas to improve safety.
Half of all journeys in Waverley are taken by walking, cycling or public transport, and Council has committed to priorities that support these people.
Pedestrians receive top priority, followed by bike riders, public transport users, service vehicles, shared vehicles and then private vehicles. This is a steep change compared with many areas where increasing numbers and speeds of vehicles compromise the safety, health and amenity of people.
Bicycle NSW has historically called for speed limits to be reduced in urban areas, and we look forward to the results of the trial for road user safety and efficiency.
“It can be for road designers and managers to forget that their purpose is to move people. Faster isn’t better if the price is death and life-altering injury,” said Ray Rice, Advocacy Consultant, Bicycle NSW.
“We need a safe systems approach that reduces the risk of harm to people, and it is great to see Waverley Council step forward to try this approach,” said Ray.