Petition Stop lowering speed limits
Speed limits are set to be reduced again on up to 50 roads across 5 parishes (Trinity, St. John, St. Mary, St Peter, and St. Lawrence), this is further to 59 roads in St. Helier and 68 roads in St. Saviour in September and November 2021.
This repeated change to speed limits is causing disruption and confusion and needs to stop.
This response was given on 31 July 2023
Historically, Jersey’s speed limits have evolved on a reactive basis and have not always been applied coherently and consistently to roads of similar character.
Historically, Jersey’s speed limits have evolved on a reactive basis and have not always been applied coherently and consistently to roads of similar character, reducing the legibility of the road network to drivers.
Recognising this, in 2016 the Minister for Infrastructure along with the Comité des Connétables, the Parish and States Police agreed a framework for speed limits across Jersey, which as lodged with the States Assembly (R.132/2016). The Framework can be found at https://www.gov.je/Travel/Roads/Pages/FrameworkSpeedLimit.aspx, this generally follows national best practice.
Effective speed management is a key part of creating a road environment in which all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, etc. feel welcome and safe. Such measures support active travel in line with States’ policy, and just as importantly will provide a greater perception of safety and a more comfortable living environment for communities.
As well as being a legal limit, speed limits are a key source of information to guide road users as to the nature of the road environment they are moving within and what risks are posed to themselves and to all other road users. This is particularly pertinent for visiting motorists.
The Infrastructure and Environment Department has been working systematically with each of the Parishes in turn to review their speed limits and lower them where appropriate, in line with the Framework. The aim being to achieve a uniform approach and methodology to setting reasoned speed limits across the Island that the public understand and are generally willing to support. The current public consultation is part of that programme.
It is worth bearing in mind that a majority of proposed speed reductions occur within Village settings (or where there is an established road safety issue). Therefore one aspect of the review is to minimise the need for signing, for example matching the speed of residential side roads to that of the main road where the main road speed limit is being reduced, to avoid sign clutter at the junction. This accounts for many of the roads listed in the current proposals.
Using Speed Limits to address Road Safety
In Jersey, vulnerable road users (i.e. pedestrian, cyclists, motorcycle and moped riders, etc.) form 64.2% of all road traffic accident casualties, and 81.8% of all those Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI). These proportions are significantly higher than those in Great Britain where vulnerable road users comprise 36.0% of overall casualties, with powered two-wheelers and pedal cycles combined comprising about a fifth of all KSI casualties. This discrepancy between Jersey and Great Britain highlights the need to focus on ways of reducing casualty rates among vulnerable road users and the severity of outcomes, the selective lowering speed limits is part of this.
Studies have shown that if hit at an impact speed of 50km/h (31.1mph), a pedestrian has a 29% risk of fatality, this reduces to 13% at an impact speed of 40km/h (24.9mph) and further to 5% at 30km/h (18.6mph). Speed reductions have also been shown to reduce cycling injury risk, with a study finding that 20mph roads have a 21% reduced chance of injury when compared with 30mph roads.
By comparing collision rates in St Helier (within the ring road) before and after the current 20mph speed limit was introduced in 2019 (excluding the period where Covid restrictions were in place), there has been a 35% reduction in the number of collisions in which people were injured. This compares to around 26% across the rest of the Island in a similar period.
At 5,000 signatures...
This petition will be considered for debate by the States Assembly