This one is pretty simple, but of utmost importance. Speed kills, but the increasing share of fatalities is walkers. The chart explains why.

Though the primary beneficiaries are walkers, bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers will benefit as well. As with many policies and actions related to walking, this is an interim measure to keep people alive until roadways are redesigned. Roadways design should enforce a desired speed, not allow and encourage a higher speed.

Policies:

  • Any roadway with a history of crashes resulting in serious injury or fatality will have the speed limit reduced by 5 mph until this pattern ceases, and each such crash will result in further reduction, but not below 15 mph. 
  • Speed limits on all roadways will be set at the desired speed, not the design speed and not the actual speed. It will be illegal to consider the 85% criteria for setting speeds.
  • Implement a city-wide base speed of 20 mph, and allow higher speed limits only where the roadway design ensures safety at higher speeds. Safety means no fatalities or serious injuries. The sign below is from the UK (United Kingdom), but many places around the world have now made 20 mph (32 kph) the baseline speed.

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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