High speed streets make our neighbourhoods unattractive places to ride bikes
Nearly all bike trips start on local residential streets. But the speed and volume of most neighbourhood streets discourage men, women and children from riding.
- High speeds discourage men, women and children from riding their bikes for short trips – whether it’s to the local shops, school or even a mates place – because they don’t feel safe or comfortable.
- Local streets with high speeds prioritise the movement of cars, rather than the movement of people walking and cycling. This intimidating environment leads to less physical activity and social interaction, impacting the livability of our suburbs.
- Unless we drop speeds in residential areas, bike riding will remain an underutilised activity and transport choice.
As fewer people ride and walk, our communities and neighbourhoods become disconnected, disengaged and unhealthy.
Across Australia authorities are reducing speed limits to 40km/h in residential streets, school zones and in shopping thoroughfares. But should they be lower?
On streets with no separate space for people to ride bikes, we must lower speed limits to 30km/h.
Reducing speeds on local streets by 10km/h on local streets, from 40km/h to 30km/h, offers significant public health and safety benefits by reducing serious and fatal crashes.
Research from across the world shows that lower speeds not only leads to fewer crashes and less serious consequences, but that the entire community will benefit.
Lower speeds encourage more people, particularly kids and the elderly, to walk or ride their bike. The flow on effect is that local suburbs become healthier, happier and more connected as people become more physically and socially active.
Research from the Monash University Accident Research Centre also shows that slower speeds have little real impact on travel times.