30 KPH Trial Extended and Expanded in Melbourne

Studies have shown that at 30 kph the fatality rate for cyclists and pedestrians when hit by a motor vehicle is only 10%, which quickly climbs to 90% at 60 kph. Lowering the speed limit to 30 kph on local streets has been proven by crash data to dramatically reduce the rates of death and serious injury.

Currently, there are only tiny areas of 30 kph limits in Australia. One of the largest and longest running of these is in Melbourne.

Back in 2018 The City of Yarra, which covers some inner northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne, implemented a 30 kilometre per hour trial for some local streets.
Initially the trial was scheduled to run for 12 months, but over five years later, the initial trial area is still a 30 kph zone for all local streets, with no intention from the local government of reverting to higher speed limits.

As we reported a year ago here, the City of Yarra was considering expanding the 30 kph zone, after they’d considered evidence from the original trial area.

The data is now in. Over the first five years of the existing trial, there’s been a 51% reduction in all crashes within the trial zone and a 70% reduction in serious crashes.

City map outlining trial 30km per hour trial area
The original 30 kph trail area is in yellow which has been recently added to with the area in blue. The speed restriction does not apply to the major roads on all four boundaries or the streets marked in blue. Photo Credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Now the City of Yarra is expanding the trial zone to cover about three times the area. The new trial zone will cover most of the suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. The expanded area trial started on Thursday 9th May.

Yarra mayor Edward Crossland said the council hoped that the measure would become permanent encompass more of the municipality and other council areas. “The evidence is clear – lower speed limits save lives,” the Greens councillor said.

Ultimately in Australia’s three tiered system of government, local councils must comply with state government legislation and most of our state governments have been fighting hard for many years to resist, obstruct and delay pressure from advocates and some local governments for the lowering of speed limits.

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton previously dismissed the 30 kph push as “ridiculous”. In a more recent interview on ABC local radio in Melbourne, he was being somewhat more accommodating, but still not giving strong support.

Meanwhile, as we have reported here and here to link to just two examples, cities and entire nations overseas have already implemented permanent city and nationwide 30 kph laws for local streets.

Part of this article was first published in The Age newspaper.

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