Seven people were killed in a series of road accidents during a bank vacation in June, the worst weekend on Irish roads this year.

Hey, by 2022, 77 people have been killed on the road so far, compared to 44 people in the same period last year.

How many deaths can you prevent in a town or city with wide paved roads, protected bike paths, bus corridors, and single-lane traffic with a speed limit of 30kmh? A city full of people, move freely.

Why can’t we achieve this in other countries? The reduction in traffic on many Spanish roads introduced in May last year to 30kmh has significantly reduced the number of road fatalities.

Spanish officials warn that it is still in its infancy, but the first figures since the introduction of the speed limit show a 25% reduction in deaths in 2021 compared to 2019. increase.

Bilbao has extended the speed limit of 30kmh to all roads in the city center, further beyond national standards.

Spain’s Transport Secretary, Pele Navarro, said more data would be needed over the next two years to see if the measures achieved their goals, while the lower limit was “traffic.” Pollution while increasing quantity, noise and quality of life for citizens. “

Similar evidence has emerged in the United Kingdom. Based on three 2018 surveys, London, Bristol and West Yorkshire have reduced speeds up to 20mph in urban areas, reducing casualties by more than 40%.

Active travel, on the other hand, has been approved by major public health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), as an effective way to increase physical activity in young people.

In addition, an Irish government initiative was introduced in March last year to support school walking and cycling infrastructure across the country to reach climate change goals and improve children’s physical activity.

These initiatives are by making roads more and more dangerous by designing road vehicles that increase driver comfort and safety at the expense of increasing the number of children and adults walking, cycling and scouting. It is essential that it is not compromised.

WHO Director Tedros Adanom Gebreyes advocated a 30kmh speed limit in cities and towns at the start of last year’s UN International Road Safety Week, with car accidents being the leading cause of death for children and adolescents. Said. The data show that introducing such speed limits does not increase travel time.

About one-third of road traffic deaths can be due to overspeeding. WHO believes that the risk of a fatal collision increases by 4 to 5 pc for every 1 km / h beyond the limit.

Barry Aldworth of AAIreland states that the 30kmh zone helps improve traffic flow, but it needs to be implemented properly. “It’s very easy to change the speed limit and change the sign. It’s much harder to change the behavior,” he said.

EU law, which requires all new cars sold after 2022 to have a speed limiter, can also help slow down.

The default limit of 30kmh in urban areas has the ultimate benefit of a cleaner environment and increased safety for all.

Dr. Catherine Konron is a Senior Health Officer in the Department of Public Health at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork and a former Head of Human Health and Nutrition at Safefood.

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