30km/h speed limits: Just around the corner?
A small municipality in inner Melbourne is going for gold in the upcoming imbecile Olympics, in Tokyo. Introducing 30-kay limits - yessss!
The city of Yarra - an insignificant spec on our former convict South Pacific paradise - is taking regulatory retardation to a whole new level:
“MELBOURNE drivers will be the first in the country to test a new road rule that forces motorists to slow down to 30km/h in residential areas”
This is a 12-month trial in for residential streets in Collingwood and Fitzroy. Read the full News report here >>
But people run faster than that...
It's true. They do. Not all people, obviously, but some. In fact, if all you can achieve in your Nikes is to run at 30 kilometres per hour - kiss goodbye that dream of Olympic gold in the 100, 200 or 400-metre sprints.
I’m a fan of responsible, safe driving - but not absurdity.
They tried this on in Brisbane - but it didn't get up. Check it out >>
And, inconveniently, it backfired expensively in the UK >>
This report is my honest personal opinion.
Who is responsible?
“This trial is about improving safety. From 2012-2017 there have been more than 100 crashes in the trial area, resulting in more than 30 serious injuries.” - Daniel Nguyen, Mayor
Daniel Nguyen is the mayor of Yarra City, the official website of which says he is: "Executive Officer of Tarwirri, a membership body for Indigenous law students and lawyers, working towards contributing to the awareness of legal and policy issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Victoria." Check it out here >>
I’m generally not a fan of lawyers in politics, because they wouldn’t know how to problem-solve, even if the solution leapt up enthusiastically and bit them on their reproductive organs. Nor am I big on minority-appeasers.
So, forgive me if I enjoy this.
Safety or saving cash?
“The council said this approach focuses on making the roads safer by adjusting people’s behaviour, rather than using costly infrastructure like speed bumps to force people to slow down.” - news.com.au
Firstly: Speed bumps are (quote): “Costly infrastructure.” Do tell.
Still, I guess we wouldn’t want to spend money actually making the roads safer.
How good is your speedo at 30km/h?
In all the brainless reporting over this, nobody has apparently told any of the minority-appeasing shot-callers that modern speedometers are absolutely shit at measuring low speeds.
The rules say speedos cannot indicate a speed slower than your actual speed, but they can over-indicate by as much as 10 per cent plus four kilometres per hour.
This means that at an indicated speed of 30 kilometres per hour, you might be doing 30, but you could also be doing 23.6 kays an hour. Or any speed in between.
That’s a 25 per cent variation, which is completely unacceptable - if accurate speed matters. They’re imposing a limit on drivers, and yet cars are not equipped to provide drivers with accurate information about how fast they are actually going in that speed ballpark.
Hope springs eternal
“We hope that this trial will help reduce the number of serious injuries, and also bring other benefits including reduced congestion and encouraging more people to choose active transport options, like cycling and walking.” - Daniel Nguyen, Mayor
“We hope.” Really?
There is no “we hope” in matters such as this. At least, there should not be. When it comes to safety, to complex systems, to public policy, these kinds of bullshit statements are indefensible. Personal opinion.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard Qantas flight QF 452 to Shitsville. We hope the wings won’t fall off at any point up there - but especially over the ocean, because that would be really bad.
Thank you for coming in today. Here’s your new Holden Commodore. We don’t sell many of these. We sincerely hope it gets you home in one piece.
Let’s not be hoping ourselves across the line here. Let’s use, I don’t know, evidence.
How dangerous is Yarra City?
“From 2012-2017 there have been more than 100 crashes in the trial area, resulting in more than 30 serious injuries.” - Daniel Nguyen, Mayor
This is a bullshit media soundbite that you’re not supposed to analyse - but let’s do that anyway. There are six years inclusive in that range. Five serious injuries per year, on average.
In road safety-speak, a ‘serious injury’ is defined as being one night or more in hospital. The city of Yarra has about 90,000 residents. There’s about 4500 people per square kilometre, on average.
Unpalatably enough, there has never been a benign transport system. There never will be. Some harm is inevitable. Five serious injuries a year. One every 10 weeks. It’s hardly Fallujah. Riding horses was far more dangerous.
The unpalatable truth about pedestrians and cyclists
“90 per cent of these crashes have involved pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.” - Daniel Nguyen, Mayor
If you want to live to a ripe old age, you can eat your vegetables and exercise, and not be a BASE jumper - whatever - but it’s also a really good idea to avoid crossing the road and texting at the same time.
How much pedestrian-based road trauma is a consequence of that? I’d suggest, a lot, and it’s probably increasing. What about drugs and alcohol? How many of these seriously injured pedestrians were off their friggin’ tree?
Perhaps there are three or four pubs that are pedestrian trauma hotspots. Six intersections that need a civil engineering upgrade.
Making the roads safer?
Heaven forbid you’d commission an expert civil engineer to audit the council’s roads. Because that would cost money, and all you’d get is evidence.
I doubt that minority-appeasing arsehole mayors have the balls to stand up and say that all road users have over-arching responsibility to use the road safely. This includes pedestrians and cyclists.
If pedestrians are found to be using the road unsafely, perhaps a crackdown is in order. Good luck with that - in this respect, and this respect alone - pedestrians are a protected species.
Certainly it’s a bad ‘appeasement’ look to start issuing infringements or cautions to pedestrians and cyclists if all they are doing is placing their lives at risk by using the road in an unsafe and/or illegal manner.
The default judgement among minority-appeasing arseholes is that when a car hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, the driver is at fault. But this clearly is not always the case. Sometimes, yes, certainly. But not always. Often, pedestrians and cyclists place themselves at risk needlessly and recklessly. And it injures them.
The idiocy of ever-tighter limits
It is very easy to ignore inconvenient facts and concentrate instead on soundbites when you’re a minority apologist.
For the scientifically uneducated Muppet (personal opinion) it’s just much easier to put the responsibility back on drivers - especially as it involves no capital expenditure. Bonus.
Unfortunately, this kind of approach will just foster mainstream resentment by increasing the number of indefensible fines that are inevitably imposed.
Inconveniently, despite the press conference going well, and journalists lapping it up, this trial cannot hope to solve the problem - to the extent that there actually is one. Yarra City is not a road trauma hotspot. It’s a stupidity hotspot.
You can contact the mayor, Daniel Nguyen, by email: email@example.com - there’s nothing a politician appreciates more than honest feedback about how they’re doing their job.