19 May 2022

Kilkenny road users urged to drive at 30kph in urban areas as part of UN Global Road Safety Week

Speed limits and road safety

At 60kph one in ten pedestrians survive collisions between car and pedestrians, at 30km/h, nine in ten pedestrians survive.  For the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week , The UN is calling on policymakers to act for low speed streets worldwide, limiting speeds to 30 km/h where people walk, live and play.

30km/h speed limit introduces calmer, safer roads and shorter braking distance. It gives the driver a better view of their surroundings and makes it easier for them to see any pedestrians crossing the road, cyclists and other vehicles and allows more time for drivers to react to the unexpected.

For 2021, the theme of the week is ‘Streets for life and this have never been more important as people spend more time in their own localities. “30km/h makes our cities, towns and villages safer places to live.  It allows children and those with limited mobility to move more freely and it creates vibrant people-friendly spaces” states Caitríona Corr, Cycle Officer with Kilkenny County Council.

Road traffic injuries ranks among the top four causes of death for all children after infancy.  Crashes on the roads, account for one third of all injury deaths across all age groups – pre-schoolers, older children or teenagers.

There was 6% increase in the number of people who died on Irish roads in 2020, despite a reduction in overall traffic volumes.  A total of 149 people died on Irish roads in 2020 – compared to 140 in 2019 – a 6% rise. This included 10 cyclists.  

However, overall, the measures been taken to reduce road trauma is working; between 2013 and 2019, Ireland saw a 26% reduction in road traffic fatalities, compared to just a 6% reduction across the whole of the Eu-27.  We had the two safest years on record for road fatalities in 2018 and 2019 and slowing down will ensure that this overall downward trend in accidents and fatalities will continue. 

Many cities and urban areas have introduced widespread 30 km/h limits. Several countries are introducing default 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas including Netherlands, Spain, and Wales (20 mph). Some locations have speed limits as low as 10 km/h. Love 30 / believes that Ireland should follow this best international practice and legislate for a default 30 km/h limit in built-up areas.

In rural Ireland, this time of the year is one of the busiest times for farming contractors and rural Ireland experiences a large increase in the presence of farm machinery on the roads and people operating machinery are being urged to reduce their speed.

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