AS EXPECTED, motorists have criticised and environmental groups have welcomed the extension of the 30km/h speed limit zone in Dublin city centre. The AA has described the move as a “misapplication” of speed limits that it said other cities had primarily restricted to residential areas. The Dublin Business Association expressed concerns about car-borne shoppers going elsewhere.
However, the Irish Environmental Network (IEN), the umbrella group for national environmental organisations, commended Dublin City Council for its initiative, saying it “points the way for other city and town councils”. The Dublin Cycling Campaign noted that the areas affected by the new speed limit were “rich in pedestrians, shoppers, children and, at night, revellers”; in some places, pedestrians often well outnumbered motorists. The campaign cited a study published recently by the British Medical Journal which found a reduction to a 20mph (32km/h) limit led to a 40 per cent fall in casualties and collisions over a 20-year period to 2006. But the campaign also said motorists could benefit from the change: “When 30km/h zones were introduced in Germany, car drivers on average had to change gear 12 per cent less often, use their brakes 14 per cent less often and required 12 per cent less fuel,” it said. Via Irish Times