On Sunday 31st January a new by-law came into effect on Sunday contained in the Dublin City Council Special Speed Limit by-laws 2009, which were passed by Dublin City Councillors in 2009.
The new 30 kph limit of applies to all roads on a 24/7 basis covering most of City Centre area including the North and South Quays between Church Street and Tara Street.
The motion put forward by Labour’s Cllr. Andrew Montague said reducing speed to 30K would reduce the road fatalities by 80%.
Dublin City Council website states “A review of accident statistics for the Dublin City area for the period 1998 – 2007 reveals that 47% of fatalities and 24% of injured persons were pedestrians. Research indicates that the percentage of pedestrians killed when in a collision with a vehicle travelling at 50 kph is 45 % but reduces to 5% when the vehicle speed is 30 kph”.
However the 5 axle HGV ban did not come into effect in the city until February 2007 so all statistics on Dublin City Council website refer to the same period when HGV’s choked the quays every day. This period also includes the horrific Dublin Bus accident on the quays in which 5 people lost their lives. There was also another bus fatality on O’Connell Street due to a poorly designed crossing at Henry St, and numerous cyclists killed by HGV’s within the city limits during that time.
This new 30K speed limit is probably one of the most nonsensical laws Dublin City Council has passed in recent years.
Even Cllr Montague’s leader Eamon Gilmore on Newstalk radio breakfast show agreed “I think it’s impractical; I’m not sure it’s even a good safety measure because trying to stay under 30 kilometres an hour means you’re probably spending more time looking at the clock than you are at the road”.
Over the past 10 years many new Bus corridors have been installed to allow public transport move more freely and reduce journey time into town, this new 30k limit will undo those recent gains.
Drivers who break Dublin city centre’s new 30km/h speed limit will face two penalty points and a €80 fine. For Gardai this 30K zone will no doubt be used as a means to bump the monthly figures for speeding fines, as the saying goes “its like shooting fish in a barrel” This is not the reason the penalty point system was introduced, there are many roads not far from city centre where little or no concern is given to speeding or dangerous behaviour, and likelihood of death or serious injury is far greater.
If Councillors were seriously concerned about safety of pedestrians and cyclists within the city they could.
- Provide a continuous cycle lane through out the city at present it a patchwork with a couple 100 meters here then cyclists having to rejoin traffic again.
- Long term all these cycle lanes should be segregated entirely from traffic (not like the present O O’Connell St arrangement).
- For pedestrians many crossings such as the junction of Bachelors Walk and O O’Connell St are totally unsafe and I’m surprised, someone is not killed here every week.
- Traffic calming measure would be more effective to protect pedestrians at junction crossings, than this 30k limit.
- Conditions of footpath along particularly along quays and parts of Dame Street are too narrow and in an appalling condition.
Why has Lock Rd, Lucan got a 50K limit with 3 Schools and HGV traffic?
I live in Lucan a fast growing town with a very young population of 40,000 people 12km from the city. In the summer of 2008 I carried out a petition to get HGV ban and 30kpmh limit on Lock Rd, which has 3 schools and, 2,200 students must use to travel to and from school everyday
This particular road is used on a daily basis by HGV traffic as short cut between N4 and N7 avoiding the M50. The road width reduces to a very narrow 7.5 meters as it passes 2 of these schools while on the opposite side of the road is the entrance to Superquinn shopping centre with a constant flow of shoppers and deliveries
Despite strong support from local residents associations, parents, schools and indeed some of Councillors, South Dublin County Manager said it was totally impractical to impose a HGV ban and 30K ban on this road. An alternative suggestion was put forward to impose just a school time ban again this was rejected and failed to receive the support of enough councillors to even put it to a vote.
The 30K city limit makes little sense and cause more distraction to motorists and should be reversed.
There is something seriously wrong in the way we make laws in this state, if the 30K limit in the city was seen as the best way to reduce fatalities, yet on a residential road in Lucan, South Dublin County Council continue to allow thousands of children attend school with HGV traffic and a 50k limit and think its appropriate.
An urgent review is required by Department of Transport on where 30k limits are best served.