Bike Bendigo has welcomed a recommendation for 30km/hour speed limits on roads in built up areas with high volumes of people walking and riding bikes.
Commissioned by the International Transport Forum for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, the research looked at the road environments of 10 countries, including Australia.
The review explored speed and crash risks and advised the lower speed limit was good for built up environments where bike riders, pedestrians and motor vehicles mixed.
The study also compared how road safety changed after speed limits were altered or automatic speed cameras were introduced on a large scale.
Among other conclusions, it confirmed that vehicle speed had a direct and disproportionate influence on crash outcomes and severity.
Advocacy group Bicycle Network welcomed the report’s 30km/hour recommendation, which it said was consistent with its own campaign to reduce speeds on local roads.
Bike Bendigo president Jac Torres-Gomez said there was definitely a case for implementing 30km/hour speed limits near places like schools, shops and childcare centres.
“We know that 30km/hour speed limits are the international standard for a reason. It saves lives and makes for a better urban experience,” she said.
“This creates a more forgiving environment, particularly for people walking and riding. This allows room for human error and creates a safer and more welcoming environment for the whole community.”
She said the City of Greater Bendigo’s recent decision to soon reduce the speed limit within the CBD to 40km/hour was a step in the right direction.
“Many cities around the world, particularly in Europe, are implementing this and it is making a difference,” Ms Torres-Gomez said.
She said reduced speeds also encouraged more people to get out of their cars to walk or cycle.
The RACV’s general manager of public policy and corporate affairs Bryce Prosser said his group considered 40km/h an appropriate speed limit for high pedestrian areas.
“Road authorities should aim to remove the root cause of crashes and install traffic management devices to change the speed environment of the road,” he said.
Ms Torres-Gomez noted protected bike lanes would improve safety.