Reducing the residential speed limit by 10 km/h is an idea whose time has come. Most vehicle accidents occur in urban centres and the connection between urban vehicle speed and citizen safety is profound.
Multiple studies show a significant reduction in the probability of death for pedestrians or cyclists, as the speed of impact is lowered.
Kudos to Victoria City Council for pushing for a provincewide urban speed limit of 40 km/h. Communities around the world are lowering urban speeds with huge positive results.
Benefits to drivers include fewer and less severe accidents, no impact on travel time, reduced fuel and vehicle operating costs and lower car insurance rates.
Benefits to children, pedestrians, cyclists and neighbourhoods include increased safety, cleaner air and less noise.
Plus when streets are safer, more people walk and ride instead of drive, resulting in healthier citizens who need less from the health-care system.
Benefits to governments and taxpayers include lower costs associated with signage and carnage. Implementing a general ruling on urban speed is far cheaper than dealing with one road at a time, and reducing accidents means less police time spent on attending crashes and doing the related paperwork.
Also, slower urban vehicle speeds reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a huge component of the B.C. government’s commitment to sustainability and action on climate change.
There are no downsides to the resolution Victoria city council is planning to put before the Union of B.C. Municipalities this fall. Drivers get where they are going in the same amount of time, and citizens have safer streets and more travel choices.
It is a total win-win.
Now it’s our job to get behind council to make sure it gets passed.