Irish Health Minster Calls for Slow Speed Zones
he Irish health service executive (HSE) has called for the immediate introduction of a special speed limit of 30km/h (approximately 20 mph) outside every school and in every housing estate in the country. If enforced, such a move would help reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries, especially among children, according to Dr. Pat Doorley, Director of Population Health at HSE.
The greatest impact, he said, would be on children from more deprived areas who are most vulnerable. Dr. Doorley has written to all city and county managers urging them and the Department of Transport, to adopt these special limits. Dr. Doorley emphasized that the higher the impact speed, the greater the likelihood of serious or fatal injury. “The evidence of increased pedestrian safety at 30km/h is strong. The chance of a pedestrian being seriously injured or killed if struck by a car is 50% if the car is travelling at 50km/h, but only five percent at 30 km/h. Around 90% of pedestrians will be killed if struck at 60km/h, while at higher speeds, all will be killed,” Dr. Doorley explained. In the UK, it has been shown that 30km/h zones reduced the incidence of road crashes by 60% and cut child pedestrian and child cyclist injuries by 67%, while overall vehicle speeds fell by an average of 15km/h (9 mph). Excessive speed currently accounts for one-third of all deaths on Irish roads.
Cycling is more than just good fun, it is good business too. A new study conducted by Chuck Strawser, of the Bicycling Federation of Wisconsin, and Tom Huber, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator with the state Department of Transportation shows cycling contributes between $764 million and $834 million a year to the state economy. Wisconsin accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s bicycling industry.
The study is being prepared for the Governor’s Bicycling Coordinating Council, and it is designed to measure the impact of bicycle factories, plus spending by two-wheel tourists using the state’s many trails and at various cycling events held in Wisconsin.
The total estimate includes the industry accounting for $556 million and 3,418 jobs and tourism bringing in anywhere from $208 million to $278 million.
“Bicycle tourism is so difficult to quantify,” Huber said. “In terms of manufacturing, we pretty well nailed those numbers and feel good about them,” he said, noting the total includes both retail and whole-sale sales.
The study is only considered to be preliminary because the tourism numbers and methodology are being reviewed, he said. “We have very little data on how much bike touring and even single-day rides occur, especially by people who are not using the state trails, on how much they are spending, and overnights,” he said. “We just don’t have much data that will help us answer those questions.”
The top tourism estimate of a $278 million contribution would represent three percent to four percent of Wisconsin’s $11.7 billion in tourism and recreation revenue in 2003.
Huber said the study should help the coordinating council “make sure the Legislature is aware of the impact, so when they do consider funding for not only recreational trails but for bikeways, they understand there are some very positive things occurring as a result of the money being invested.
The Paris mayor’s office has announced ambitious plans to reduce traffic in the city center. Four districts in the heart of Paris could be closed to all but local residents’ vehicles by 2012. Denis Baupin, the official in charge of Paris’s transport issues, said that the three-phase project will include road-narrowing and a new bicycle lane. Phase one will create a speed limit of 30km/h (20 mph) in “arrondissements” (districts) one to four, create a bicycle path along the North bank of the Seine river, keep traffic away from the Louvre and narrow major roads in the historic heart of Paris. In phase two, roads surrounding the shopping mall of Les Halles will be pedestrianized, in line with a major redevelopment project there. Phase three would see the whole area from the Place de la Bastille in the east to the Place de la Concorde in the west closed to non-residential traffic. According to Mr. Baupin, the plans for phase one are already far in advance and will be presented soon to Paris’ city council. All the plans are drawn up by the same consultancy that worked on London’s congestion pricing system.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has secured funding to complete detailed system design and planning for its Bus Rapid Transit system, DART. During a March 29 ceremony, the City Council awarded Brazil-based consulting firm Logit with a contract to oversee planning, physical design and operational design with funding from the World Bank. The team includes experts integral to planning the BRT systems in Curitiba and Bogotá, as well as former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa.
With funding from the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy will manage the institutional, legal and contracting issues as well as provide training to local staff in preparation for future system expansion.