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Consultation on reduction in speeds is launched

By Stephen McVey

A consultation seeking views on a reduction in speed limits from 30mph to 20mph on designated unclassified roads has been launched by a local MLA. SDLP  man Conall McDevitt said the main objective of the exercise is to increase road safety, particularly for pedestrians.

“Research from the Department for Transport (DfT) found that if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle travelling at 20mph, there is about a 2.5% (1 in 40) chance of being killed, which compares to about a 20% (1 in 5) chance of being killed when driving at 30mph.”

It is envisaged that the legislation would apply only to smaller residential streets and not major thoroughfares.

“I believe that reducing the speed limits on some of our roads would ensure fewer accidents and fatalities on our streets, as well as the possibility of playing a part in contributing to public health, through encouraging more people to walk and cycle for short, every day journeys.”

Gerard Rice of the Lower Ormeau Residents’ action group said that road safety needs to be given more attention, as previous attempts to reduce speeding in residential areas has failed.

“A 20mph limit would be a welcome introduction but in some areas even that wouldn’t go far enough. Ramps were introduced to try and deal with speeding but that hasn’t helped. Drivers are able to drive around or over them at a dangerous speed.”

Steven Patterson, Director of Sustrans NI, reveals there has already been public support for a lower speed limit.

“We all have to be considerate of each other as we share our streets. A quick win would be to make our residential and shopping streets have a 20mph speed limit.”

The deadline for responses to the consultation is Monday 9th July.

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