Motorists could be forced to slow down to 40km/h when driving throughout the City of Sydney, as the NSW government works with local councils to reduce speed limits in areas with high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.
Transport for NSW is negotiating with councils across the city to reduce speed limits to 10km/h in pedestrian-motorist zones, 40km/h in high pedestrian zones and to extend school zones.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance was assessing whether to introduce speed limits of 40km/h or less across the entire City of Sydney council area.
Mr Constance said he was ‘very concerned’ about the increase in pedestrian deaths, but would be guided by expert advice: “We do need consistency for speed limits in the heart of Sydney.”
Tara McCarthy, a deputy secretary at Transport for NSW, said there had been a 46 per cent reduction in pedestrian injuries since the 40km/h zone was introduced in parts of the Sydney CBD in 2014.
“A vehicle that hits a pedestrian at 50km/h is twice as likely to cause a fatality as the same vehicle travelling at 40km/h,” she said.
Clover Moore said, “Reduced speed limits create safer streets for all road users, particularly important for children and older people. Slower traffic also makes footpath dining, strolling or window shopping a far more pleasant experience for all.”
Cr Moore praised the NSW government trial of 30km/h speed limits in Manly. “I’d love them to consider doing the same in Sydney, to further protect those walking or riding bikes. The 30km/h speed limit is fast becoming the global standard for urban speed limits,” she said.
Raphael Grzebieta, emeritus professor in the Transport and Road Safety Research Centre at the University of NSW, said Australia’s ‘default’ speed limit should be lowered to 40km/h.
“Suburban streets where people walk and cycle and our children play and where lighting is often poor, 40km/h is the highest it should be,” he said.
This article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 30th August 2020.