Global call for 30km/h speed limits | Ralph Lauren

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A number of global bodies including the World Health Organization are calling on governments to reduce speed limits in built up areas to 30km/h.

The Streets for Life campaign calls for low-speed streets in areas where people “walk, live and play” to reduce road traffic injury, which is responsible for 1.35 million deaths globally each year and is the leading global killer of young people.

Signatories for the call to action also include members from UNICEF, the United Nations and the FIA Foundation, with the latter dedicating a €15 million ($23.5 million) fund for a safe streets Advocacy Hub to support policy change for safe, low-speed streets worldwide.

The FIA Foundation says speed is a significant contributor to road crash deaths, estimating with every 1km/h increase in speed there is a 4-5 per cent increase in fatal crashes.

There are many countries where 30km/h speed limits are common, including many in Europe.

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Camera IconWorld Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Credit: Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP, Salvatore Di Nolfi

If such a prospect of a 30km/h speed limit makes you want to not bother with driving, that’s kind of the point: the campaign says other benefits of low-speed streets would include a shift to walking and cycling, delivering improved air quality and climate action.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, its was an opportune time to implement change.

“We need a new vision for creating safe, healthy, green and liveable cities,” Dr Tedros said.

“Low-speed streets are an important part of that vision.

“As we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, let’s make safer roads for a safer world.”

Child Health Initiative global ambassador Zoleka Mandela said tThe campaign is aimed at all countries, with one in three high-income country road deaths attributed to speed.

“Our call to action launched today, is for low-speed streets in every community, all around the world, Ms Mandela said.

“I call on leaders at all levels to please join the call to action.

“As we respond to and recover from COVID-19, please make our streets more liveable.

“Help people get to work and to school safely. Help them lead healthier more productive lives.

“Our streets are for the people. Our streets are for our planet. Our streets are for life.”

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