Life begins at 40

THE Vincent community has launched a campaign to reduce the speed limit across all the city’s residential roads to 40kmh.

Cyclist Geraldine Box and pedestrian advocate Andrew Main have started the “Our Streets at 40” group and are collecting signatures for a petition they will lodge with the state parliament.

In May 2016 Vincent councillors endorsed a plan for a two-year trial of 40kmh in parts of South Ward, but it’s stuck in governmental limbo, and Our Streets is now calling for a 40kmh speed limit on all residential roads in Vincent.

The campaign is modelled after Britain’s 20’s Plenty movement, which has succeeded in getting many local councils to drop speed limits to 20mph (32kmh).

Our Streets at 40 had a stall at Sunday’s Mt Hawthorn Streets and Lanes festival, and Ms Box says the general attitude was supportive and it feels like they’re on the brink of change.

She says people were telling her “we want residential streets to be more than just car sewers or rat runs”.

• Geraldine Box and Andrew Main at the corner of Alma and Leake Streets, one of the areas in Vincent they say would benefit from a 40km/h speed limit. Photo by Steve Grant

Fewer accidents

International research shows that when speeds are reduced, pedestrians are more likely to walk, or even use the street to kick a ball around.

It also means the “car is king” mindset changes and motorists start driving more safely.

The statistics vary slightly from one study to the next, but when a pedestrian is hit by a car at 50kmh they’re about twice as likely to die than at 40kmh, and fewer accidents happen at this speed.

Perth state MP John Carey was Vincent mayor when the council endorsed the 40kmh trial and supports the new push.

Last week he held a community safety forum with police minister Michelle Roberts, where crime was expected to be the main topic of discussion, but Mr Carey says “the first issue raised by residents was speeding on local streets.”

Ms Roberts asked for a show of hands supporting 40kmh on local roads.

“Think it’s fair to say 75 per cent supported it,” Mr Carey says.

The group has a Facebook page “Our Streets at 40”, and they’ll be circulating their petition at local shopping centres before presenting it to parliament.

by DAVID BELL

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