Speed Kills; Toronto's Top Doctor Wants Speed Limits Reduced to Protect Pedestrians

Residential speed limitLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The Toronto Board of Health recently issued a terrific report, Road to Health: Improving Walking and Cycling in Toronto that lists all the reasons one might want to promote walking and cycling, including better health, reduced obesity, lower rates of diabetes and more. Except this is Toronto, where everything is looked through the lens of the War on the Car, raging between the Mayor and his suburban driving Ford Nation, and, as the deputy mayor calls everyone else, "the activists, unionists and cyclists". So what everyone really is going on about is a recommendation that the speed limits on residential streets be reduced from 40 Km/hr (25 mph) to 30 Km/hr (19 mph) and from 50 (31 mph) to 40 on bigger streets. City Councillor Minnan-Wong accuses the good doctor of " wasting taxpayers’ money by meddling in an area in which he does not have expertise."

Doesn’t he have better things to do than interfere in every single department and everybody else’s lives? If he wants to lower speed limits, maybe he should apply for the general manager’s job in the transportation department.

probability of fatalityFrom Report/Public Domain

However the facts are absolutely clear: speed makes a huge difference in whether a hit injures you or kills you. Reports back it up.

The outrage in the comments in loud and predictable, mostly ranging from "roads are built for cars" and "if cyclists and pedestrians followed the rules they wouldn't get hit." But is this really necessary? in Spacing Magazine, Dylan Reid notes:

The fact is, between narrow roads, parked cars, speed bumps and regular stop signs in the older parts of the city, and curving roads and cul-de-sacs in the suburbs, not to mention watching out for kids, I doubt many drivers hit 40 km/hr for any sustained amount of time on residential streets anywhere in Toronto.

He is probably right.

Speed Kills; Toronto's Top Doctor Wants Speed Limits Reduced to Protect Pedestrians
You can imagine how this is going over in a city where drivers say there is a war on the car.

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