COMMENT: Dangerously controversial 30km/h limits

It's also 30km/h on the beach at Bull Island, but don't tell the Evening Herald

“30kph limit for rush hour cars on Long Mile” cried the Evening Herald’s headline yesterday.

Why is the zone only for certain times of the day? Only half way down the Herald’s news report is a council official quoted saying that the limit applied during the school year. No other mention that the limit is there because of school children or that there are school buildings on both sides of the road.

The newspaper also somehow failed to mention the small length of the new speed limit zone on the road. The zone comes in just under a whopping 400m long. That distance at 28km/h takes so long to travel… a whole 51 seconds!

The article opens saying: “Motorists on Dublin’s busy Long Mile Road will have to take extra care following the introduction of a new 30kph speed limit.” At the risk of somebody telling us “will somebody think of the children”, this is a small stretch of road outside schools in a built up area, motorists should take extra care outside all schools regardless of the speed limit.

According to the council’s website, the operational hours are 8.15am to 9.30am and 12.45pm to 4.15pm. A second new zone outside a school for 140m at Chapelizod Road runs from 8.15am to 9.30am and from 1pm to 3pm.

Unlike normal speed limit signs, these timed signs have black backgrounds and text (ie 30km/h) which lights up when active (see here).

What’s the point of the limits? The following image shows the large increased probability of death if a person gets hit by a car at 50km/h, compared to a much lower probability of death at 30km/h. Some people’s feelings on this differs to the facts, but it’s hard to argue with physics:

MORE: Image of a 30km/h periodic speed limit sign
MORE: Speed limits in the Dublin City Council area
MORE: Call for 30km/h speed limit
MORE: Effect of 20 mph traffic speed zones on road injuries in London

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