Cyclist.ie supported advocates from the Love 30 campaign who addressed Ireland’s Road Safety Authority annual conference last Wednesday.
Mairéad Forsythe and Justin Fleming shared the final speaking slot of the day-long conference. They jointly made the case for having 30 km/h as the default speed limit for all of our towns, villages and urban areas. The theme of the conference was ‘Tackling Speeding – Risk Factors and Interventions’.
Rod King MBE, who has been a great supporter of the Love 30 campaign over the years, also spoke. Rod has played an instrumental role in empowering local communities in the UK to implement 30km/h speed zones. The UK version of the campaign is ‘20’s Plenty for Us’.
On enforcement, Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton opened the conference with the announcement of a doubling, that very night, of fines for speeding and many other offences such as using a mobile phone while driving. Before this, speeding attracted a minimal €80 fine. No graduated increases apply for higher speeds.
Among the other speakers, Dr Judy Fleiter, Global Manager with the Global Road Safety Partnership, discussed the motivations for speed choices on the road. Guro Ranes, Director of Road Traffic Safety, Norwegian Public Roads Administration talked about Norway’s approach in tackling speeding with a particular focus on graduated speeding. Fines for dangerous speeding there are much more realistic, but don’t take Finland’s approach of being linked to the offender’s income level.
Senior Gardaí also addressed the conference, describing new technologies now available to the Roads Policing corps such as speed guns for patrol cars linked to automatic number-plate recognition. It’s to be hoped these technologies will be rolled out quickly and used widely so we can catch up with international best practice, but a timeline for this wasn’t clear. The appallingly widespread offences of driving and parking in bus lanes and cycle lanes were not addressed, and unfortunately question time didn’t allow for queries on this. It’s something the Campaign will work hard on in the coming year. Addressing car-dominated viewpoints that fail to prioritise the needs of vulnerable road users – never mind the environment – in official circles and culture is a high priority.
Closing the day, RSA Director Michael Rowland welcomed the Love 30 proposals and indicated that the Authority would support a national default 30 km/h limit. Needless to say we’ll be tracking whether RSA backs up these words with actions.
For more on campaigns for lower and safer speed limits in built-up areas, see: