Road Traffic Bill will save lives

18 02 2015

 Ramsey

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has asserted that the proposed Road Traffic Bill will save lives. Speaking in the Assembly chamber after introducing the bill, Mr Ramsey highlighted the various, safety, health and societal benefits to introducing the optional 20mph limit to residential areas.

Mr Ramsey said:  “This Bill is not simply about reducing speeds on local roads, it offers an opportunity for neighbourhoods to reclaim their streets, an opportunity for kids to play safely, and it is a fresh opportunity for us to build better communities at minimum cost for maximum return.

“In earlier consultations many of the key stakeholders baulked at the thought of a blanket reduction. This is something I have taken on board. This effort will not be successful if new limits are imposed rather we are seeking not a blanket ban, but a phased in, community requested, community led approach.

“Having undertaken a considerable amount of consultation I can report that the reaction to and support of this bill has been incredibly encouraging. District Councils across Northern Ireland, the PSNI and countless children’s charities and transport organisations have all voiced their support.

“This bill offers us a chance to improve safety, health, environmental factors and community benefits. This bill also has the potential to tackle obesity rates and improve community health due to increased rates of walking and cycling. If that doesn’t carry it past the threshold of worthwhile legislation than I wonder how high we’ve set the bar?

“Hull Council for example recorded a growth of six times the incidence of cycling after introducing 20mph zones. Edinburgh reports that their 20mph zones have the best air quality in Scotland bucking national and European trends. Evidence suggests that reduced acceleration and braking reduces fuel consumption and associated emissions.

“In 2014, a total of 79 prematurely bereaved families were forced to deal with the consequences of a fatal road collision. Road fatalities irrevocably change lives. There is no shying away from that. It is also true to say that they have financial implications to the economy. Department for Transport figures suggest this is as high as £1. 95 million per fatal collision.

“Traffic is the biggest cause of death following medical illness in children. Chief among the supporters of this bill are the NI charity PlayBoard. There is no higher value than life and I am in no doubt that the new lower limits will save lives. If we save one life with the passing of this bill then surely that is good legislation

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Ramsey meets with experts over speed limit reduction

12 02 2015
 
20mph
SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has met with child safety and play advocates ahead of the introduction of his Road Traffic Speed Limit Bill. Mr Ramsey described the meeting with Playboard NI officials as extremely valuable to the debate.
He said:  “I felt it was important that this debate is framed by informed opinions and built upon the best interests of those at risk in our society. The information provided by Susan and Jacqueline reaffirms why this Bill is a necessity.
“The truth is that a 30mph speed limit is not enough to protect those at risk on our roads. A collision at these speeds for pedestrians, particularly children and older people, can be fatal.
“Reducing the speed limit would not only reduce the damage of any impact but would also give drivers more time to react and prevent tragedy.
“The aim of this Bill is to return residential areas to their residents, keeping the streets safe for their children to play. We cannot afford to maintain the status quo.
“I would like to commend Playboard NI on the valuable contribution they have made to this Bill and for the work they carry out to support children and young people.”




Cunningham welcomes proposed 20mph legislation

5 02 2014

 20mph

 

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has commended party colleague Pat Ramsey MLA for the progress made on the Private Members Bill which would see the speed limit on residential unclassified streets reduce from 30mph to 20mph.

 Mr Ramsey presented his proposed legislation to the Assembly’s Regional Development committee on Wednesday morning.

 Councillor Cunningham who has been a strong supporter of the local “Twenty is plenty” campaign and welcomed the pilot 20mph scheme being introduced in the Whitehall area of Ballycastle.

 “The main elements of the scheme at Whitehall will consist of the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in the Whitehall area without the addition of traffic calming features. The scheme aims to manage vehicle speeds and driver behaviour.”

“I believe that by reducing the speed limit on designated restricted roads we could act positively to reduce collisions and fatalities on our roads. Road injuries are amongst the leading causes of loss of life and disability worldwide, and regionally, a reduction in road related death and injury is a major aim of public policy.

“Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended the introduction of 20mph speed limits and zones as an important way of improving safety

“The proposed legislation allows for the Department of Regional Development to issue exemptions for roads which may be unclassified, but that are major thoroughfares, which would allow roads to retain 30mph status.”





20mph limit for residential areas moves one step closer

16 06 2013

20mph

SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt is introducing a Bill to the Assembly which proposes to reduce the speed limit on residential unclassified streets from 30mph to 20 mph. The Bill comes after extensive public consultation as well as engagement with stakeholders, and aims to improve road safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.

 Recent guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends the introduction of 20mph speed limits as an important way of improving safety and creating environments to encourage and enable active lifestyles.  

Mr McDevitt said;

 “According to research from the Department for Transport in England, if a person is hit by a car travelling at 30mph, they face a one in five chance of being killed – reduce the speed to 20mph, and their chances of being killed are significantly reduced to one in forty.  

“This year we have seen twice as many deaths on our roads if we compare the figure with this time last year, many of whom were pedestrians. I believe that a reduced speed limit would go some way towards reducing the number of fatalities and accidents, and begin to really address this issue.

 “The proposed legislation allows for the Department of Regional Development to issue exemptions for roads which may be unclassified, but that are major thoroughfares, which would allow roads such as Boucher Road in South Belfast to retain 30mph status.”

 The proposed legislation has been welcomed by Sustrans Deputy Director Steven Patterson;

 “Introducing 20mph limits is a positive move for Northern Ireland. Slower speeds will save lives, improve neighbourhoods and boost walking and cycling levels.

 “Slower speeds will make our streets and communities safer for all road users, significantly reducing the number and severity of accidents and encouraging people to spend more time in the places they live, work and socialise.

 “Shifting to 20mph is also a cost-effective solution to achieving a more active, healthy population and reducing the burden on our health system.”





Plans for pilot 20mph speed limit scheme welcomed

12 05 2013

 

 20mph

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed a proposed pilot 20mph speed limit scheme to be developed by DRD Roads Service at Whitehall, Ballycastle. It is proposed to carry out the works later this financial year.

 Councillor Cunningham who has been a strong supporter of the local “Twenty is plenty” campaign also called for the Assembly to bring for the necessary legislation from Conall McDevitt’s Private Members Bill which will reduce the speed limit on residential and urban roads from 30mph to 20mph. 

 “The main elements of the scheme at Whitehall will consist of the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in the Whitehall area without the addition of traffic calming features. The scheme aims to manage vehicle speeds and driver behaviour.”

“I believe that by reducing the speed limit on designated restricted roads we could act positively to reduce collisions and fatalities on our roads. Road injuries are amongst the leading causes of loss of life and disability worldwide, and regionally, a reduction in road related death and injury is a major aim of public policy.

“Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended the introduction of 20mph speed limits and zones as an important way of improving safety





Public support for 20mph zones

3 01 2013

20mph

Welcoming new research published this week, which showed that public support for 20mph zones has almost reached an outright majority, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called on the Assembly to support the Private Members Bill due to be heard shortly.

According to research published by the Independent, 62% of people now support the move toward 20mph zones.

Research by safety campaigners suggested 20mph areas in residential streets was having a positive impact on road safety.

Councillor Cunningham said “We need to make our roads safer and more usable, there is no doubt that cutting the speed limit to 20mph in residential areas can and will save lives. Early indicators show cross party support within the Assembly for the move.”

Research by shared space expert Ben Hamilton-Baillie and cranial pathologists suggested that 20mph was a ‘natural’ limit for human impact with surfaces, as humans have evolved to run at a maximum speed similar to this limit – whereas beyond 20mph there is a significantly heightened change of brain damage.





Road Safety week

19 11 2012

 

Speaking at the start of Road Safety week, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has highlighted the results of a survey carried out by road safety charity Brake which is calling for 20mph speed limits near schools, homes and shops.

The survey of 8,000 children shows 70% of youngsters would be able to walk and cycle more if roads were safer.

Brake’s findings show 43% of the children aged seven to 11 said they have been hit or nearly hit while walking or cycling, while a further 54% worried about being hurt by traffic.

“As part of Road Safety Week we need to raise awareness among drivers about the need for slower speeds in built up areas. The Assembly is soon to debate proposals requiring for a 20mph speed limit in residential areas. As well as that we need to take a serious look at routes walking and cycling to our schools.”

“A private members Bill will urge the Assembly to work towards 20mph being the norm in all built up areas.”

Studies show that at 20mph drivers have much more time to react and fewer casualties occur among pedestrians and cyclists.