Road safety charity Brake is welcoming the announcement that Christchurch's CBD will be 30km/h from 12 March, and says it will help to protect people out on foot and bicycle, and encourage more active travel.
The charity says the lower speed limit will help to reduce the risk of death and serious injury to people on foot and bicycle. Drivers have a much better chance of stopping in time if a pedestrian or cyclist makes a mistake, and if a crash occurs, the chance of survival is much higher. At 30km/h, if a pedestrian is hit by a car they have a 90% chance of survival, at 50km/h their chance of survival is just 50%.
Having 30km/h speed limits in communities have been proven to be effective in protecting vulnerable road users in other countries and are becoming increasingly popular overseas, particularly in Europe.
Brake is also calling for more investment in 30km/h limits around the country, and in separated cycleways and footpaths.
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director said: "Everyone has a right to cycle or walk to work or for leisure, health or enjoyment, without fear or threat from fast traffic so it's fantastic to see Christchurch City Council making the CBD 30km/h. Research shows that 30km/h limits in communities reduce the number of deaths and injuries and result in an increase in the number of people walking and cycling in those areas. We know fears about fast traffic prevent many adults and children from reaping the benefits of cycling and walking, so support measures such as this which both improve safety and encourage active travel.
"We need more 30km/h in communities and outside schools across New Zealand to enable people to walk and cycle in safety and help create safer and healthier communities."
- If hit at 30km/h, a pedestrian has a 90% chance of survival. If hit at 50km/h, they only have a 50% chance.
- Being hit at 30km/h is roughly the same impact as falling from the first floor window of a building. At 50km/h it's roughly the same impact as falling from the fourth floor.
- At 30km/h, your stopping distance is approx. 11 metres, at 50km/h it's approx. 24 metres.
- It's estimated that for every 2km/h drop in speeds, crash rates fall by an average of 5%.