New guidelines present opportunity to review speed limits and improve road safety says Mulherin

Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin, has called for a full review of speed limits currently in place across Mayo including in housing estates and areas where children play. Deputy Mulherin was speaking following the launch of a new document entitled “Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits”, which has been produced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD.

The new guidelines are aimed at those charged with responsibility for speed limits across the country, including the local authorities, so this is the perfect opportunity for Local Authority engineers to audit the speed limits currently in operation in Mayo.

She said this week: “Of particular concern is the speed limit in housing estates where children play. I have been contacted by numerous residents' groups and individuals who are concerned about the speed of vehicles in housing estates and the dangers posed to children at play. With regard to rural roads, it is likely that some changes need to be made either increasing the speed limit on quieter roads in good condition, or reducing it to increase safety on poorer quality roads.

“We need to ensure that greater consistency is applied where speed limits are concerned. It is also recommended that speed reviews be carried out every five years which is appropriate given our roads are constantly being upgraded and the speed limits may need to be changed to reflect that.”

She went on to say that: “The guidelines address a number of areas and introduce new road signage to speed limits in rural areas on minor local roads. They also encourage the implementation of new urban slow Zones in residential areas to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h. In particular the guidelines envisage the use of speed ramps and other traffic calming measures in housing estates in the designated 'slow zones'. This is very welcome as there has been a lot of inconsistency in policy and reluctance in the use of these road safety measures across Mayo in residential areas by Mayo County Council. After all speed limits cannot be policed all of the time and physical works in situ are an answer to this.”

She concluded saying that the guidelines are also relevant to Gardai, who must be consulted in relation to any proposed bye-law applying a special speed limit; the National Roads Authority, which must consent to a special speed limit on a National Road or motorway and to other interested parties such as the Road Safety Authority, the general public and motoring organisations.

“Nobody knows our local roads as well as the engineers in Mayo County Council and I would urge the commencement of a review of speed limits in the county at the earliest opportunity. Input is also required from local road users who are familiar with the anomalies and lack of common sense that exist in their area when it comes to speed limits.”


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