Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has published a new document, the aim of which is to provide advice and guidance to those charged with responsibility for imposing speed limits.
Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits will also ensure that greater consistency is applied where speed limits are concerned.
The guidelines provide for the introduction of new road signage to deal with speed limits in rural areas on minor local roads and for the implementation of new urban ‘Slow Zones’ in residential areas to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h.
Minister Donohoe said, “Speed limits should not be seen by drivers as setting a target speed, or as being appropriate in all conditions, nor are they intended to be. Drivers must, take responsibility to drive at a safe speed appropriate to the particular road and surrounding environment, while not exceeding the posted speed limit’.
“The purpose of the guidelines is to provide advice and guidance to local authority engineers, and other practitioners, in making bylaws in relation to the setting and management of speed limits. The guidelines also have relevance to An Garda Síochána, who must be consulted in relation to any proposed byaw applying a special speed limit; the National Roads Authority, who 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.”
Speed limits in urban areas will be based on movement function (arterial road, link road, local road) and place context (commercial centres, suburban housing areas, out of town industrial areas).
A new rural speed limit sign is to be introduced. This generic sign is the ‘white circle with black diagonal stripes’ which is in use internationally. Its use is recommended on narrow country roads instead of the numerical 80km/h sign. This sign means that drivers must use their judgement when using the road in question but must not exceed 80km/h in any event.
There will be new urban ‘Slow Zones’ (30km/h) for housing estates.
Local Authorities and community groups are encouraged to consider the implementation of ‘Slow Zones’ in self-contained areas that consist of local roads with low traffic volumes and minimal through traffic. It is envisaged that each such zone should be a self-enforcing, reduced-speed area with speed bumps, markings or other traffic calming treatments as required.