The 30 km/h speed limit on single-lane urban roads in Spain reduced the number of deaths between May and December last year by 14%, says the Directorate-General for Traffic, whose figures show that there were 38 fewer deaths than in the same period in 2019.
The new rule came into force a year ago this month. From 11 May 2021, the speed limit on one-way streets in towns and cities has been 20 kilometres per hour; 30 kph on roads with one lane in each direction and 50 km/h on roads with two lanes in each direction.
The general director of the DGT, Pere Navarro, says one year is only a short time to analyse the effectiveness of the measure, but it does appear that reducing the speed at which vehicles can travel has resulted in fewer accidents. “And that is good news,” he says.
The figures for May to December 2021, compared with the same months in 2019, show that the number of deaths was 25% lower, and 32% fewer people had been hit by a vehicle. With regard to cyclists, 21 died in 2019 compared with 11 last year. Navarro also points out that in the case of people over the age of 65, who are “especially vulnerable,” the number of deaths dropped by 40%, and the number of pedestrians who lost their lives went down by 32%.
A survey carried out by the Ponle Freno-AXA Centre of Studies and Opinion showed that 70.3% of drivers comply with the 30 km/h speed limit on urban roads with one lane in each direction.
Pere Navarro says this move has probably been the most important of recent years and it has many advantages. It could even mean that traffic lights will no longer be needed in some areas of towns and cities in future. “It has been a step forward for a more human and sustainable urban environment,” he says. “Cars cannot be the habitual form of transport in a city”.