Busted: 5 myths about 30km/h speed limits in Australia

From Matthew McLaughlin -The Conversation

Photo Credit: Matthew McLaughlin, provided to The Conversation: Published: May 20, 2021 5.56am AEST

Introducing 30km/h limits is one of a suite of measures available to governments to bring about six compelling co-benefits to society: road safety, physical activity, air quality, liveability, equity and economic benefits.

All Australian states and territories should urgently introduce 30km/h speed limits to create streets that are safe, accessible and enjoyable for all.

Image credit: Matthew McLaughlin

Need more convincing?

Read the full article by:

  • Matthew Mclaughlin PhD Candidate, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle
  • Ben Beck Senior Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University
  • Julie Brown Associate Professor, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW, and Program Head, Injury Division, George Institute for Global Health
  • Megan Sharkey Urban Studies Research Scholar, University of Westminster, and Adjunct Lecturer, UNSW Sydney

Their research is not based on heresay, but has solid facts to support their conclusions.

How to solve this?

The difficulties for Councils to introduce trial 30km/h streets or local areas are manifold, and are held back by the perpetuation of the above five myths.

In Victoria at least, a particular problem is the centralisation of decision making (power?) within the Department of Transport (DoT) such that Councils don’t have the delegated authority to change speeds on local streets.

Councils have the authority and resultant authority over most other factors affecting the use and appearance of local streets. Why not speed limits?

Our laws and regulations in Victoria, and possibly in other states too, need to urgently change to enable Councils to have more say about what happens on their local streets.

Posted in Active transport | Leave a comment

UK: GPs to prescribe walking and cycling to improve health

PA Media: The government intends to improve overall health and tackle health disparities through more physical activity

Source – BBC News

Three Yorkshire cities are among 11 places where doctors are to start prescribing walking and cycling to boost mental and physical health. The new Gear Change Plan pilots would be “hugely beneficial” to overall mental and physical health, said the Department for Transport (DfT).

Whilst there is a community health benefit, the move is not entirely altruistic. Walking and cycling minister Trudy Harrison said more cycling and walking would “ease the burden on our NHS”, She also says that it will help with “improving air quality and reducing congestion”. The government-funded plan aims to reduce the number of GP appointments and people’s reliance on medication.

What are the trials?

  • The government is developing the pilots with the NHS and Sport England
  • They include adult cycle training for all abilities, plus more walking groups for exercise and mental health
  • Free bike loans will be offered
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter-users will also benefit
  • The pilots run until 2025 in Bradford, Leeds, Doncaster, Cumbria, Gateshead, Nottingham, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Plymouth, Cornwall, Bath and NE Somerset

Source: The Department for Health and Department for Transport

The government-funded plan aims to reduce the number of GP appointments and people’s reliance on medication.

The government said the authorities must also improve infrastructure so people felt safe walking and cycling.

Credit: BBC News – Cyclist Chris Boardman is commissioner of National Active Travel, the government agency which improves the UK’s cycling and walking infrastructure

“We need healthier, cheaper and more pleasant ways to get around for everyday trips,” said cyclist Chris Boardman, commissioner of National Active Travel, a government agency set up to improve the UK’s cycling and walking infrastructure.

“Moving more will lead to a healthier nation, a reduced burden on the NHS, less cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and huge cost savings.”

In 2020, Public Health England research found being overweight or obese means greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19 and ministers estimated two-thirds of UK adults were overweight.

However, the scheme is not without its doubters. While GPs agree the pilot funding is “great news”, with obesity a risk factor for Type-2 diabetes, cancers, liver and respiratory disease, some say overstretched surgeries cannot take on even more work created by the pilots.

Read the full story here on BBC News.

Food for thought for us here in Australia where our hospitals, doctors and ambulances are reeling under the pressure of dealing with the ongoing effects of Covid and its effect on the whole health system.

And we would also benefit greatly from having a Federal Government funded National Active Travel Agency with a high profile Commissioner like Chris Boardman.

Posted in Active transport | Leave a comment

Latest WATAG newsletter

Click here to view the August 2022 Active Whitehorse News

If Noah was loading up his ark today.

Image credit: ADENE – The Modern Noah’s Ark

Click here to view the August 2022 Active Whitehorse News

Posted in Active transport | Leave a comment

30km/hr here too please!

Reduced speed limits in Tallinn

Yet another city announces 30km/hr.with the beautiful historic city of Tallinn in Estonia joining other enlightened cities like Paris who wan to make their streets safer and ecologically better. The maximum speed allowed will be 30 km/h on a number of inner district roads and 40 km/h on some of the larger streets in the city centre.

New plans for the city will categorise the city’s streets and roads into nine categories as shown.

Deputy mayor Andrei Novikov said a precondition for lowering the speed limit in the city centre is the reconfiguration of the traffic light programmes, but this may take longer than planned due to a shortage of specialists. “Lowering the speed limits without reconfiguring the traffic lights will not achieve the desired result,” he said.

Tallinn is a beautiful historic Hanseatic city. Image credit – The Daily Telegraph

Eliisa Puudersell, CEO of the non-governmental organisation, Elav Tänav, (or Lively Streets – check this link too) welcomed Tallinn’s decision to join the ranks of cities that are reducing the harmful effects of car traffic by lowering speeds.

“Lowering the speed of car traffic will reduce the number and severity of accidents, free up space for other road users, alleviate Tallinn’s noise problem, and make driving more sustainable and smoother,” she said.

Tallinn is also installing 28 new road thresholds to calm traffic and reduce traffic.

Read more here: https://news.err.ee/1608630265/center-of-tallinn-to-become-30-km-h-zone-under-new-plans#

All we can say is “WELL DONE TALLINN” because we can’t say that about our cities’ plans for safer roads in Australia. Whilst we are making comparisons, Estonia’s population is only about 1.3 million, and Tallinn is home to nearly 500,000.

If they can do it, why can’t we here in Australia?

Posted in Active transport | Leave a comment

Latest WATAG newsletter

Click here to view the June 2022 Active Whitehorse News

Just one minute will inspire you

Click here to view the June 2022 Active Whitehorse New

Posted in Active transport | Leave a comment