“Melrose Cares” Drive for Safety Campaign
Is there anyone over the age of 18 who has not heard the adage “speed kills?’ While this short phrase could easily refer to methamphetamine use, and it certainly does in many circles, most people associate it with speeding while driving.
Speed does kill and slowing down, especially in urban and suburban areas, is crucial to reducing the number of pedestrian and bicycling fatalities as well as auto deaths. The city of Melrose has taken a major step in promoting safety for everyone in the community with its latest campaign–”Melorse Cares, Drive for Safety.”
New street signs have been installed that now make 25 mph the official speed limit for all roadways within the city. Motorists should be aware that law officers intend to enforce this limit. The street signs are just part of the overall collaborative effort with bicycle advocates and city officials to make Melrose a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly city.
Every city and town can benefit from the example being set by Melrose. Besides lowering the speed limit and emphasizing enforcement, other measures include driver awareness and education, and the implementation of roadway safety measures. These may include speed bumps as well as lighted crosswalks and traffic-calming circles. Having clearly delineated bike lanes and barriers between cars and bikes at some intersections would definitely minimize the risk of a collision.
These safety steps can also cut down on distracted driving. If you have to go over speed bumps or drive through a roundabout, you will have to pay attention. Even if you are texting, you are driving slowly and the chances of an accident or causing a tragic accident are reduced. But in any event, put the cell phone down.
There is no reason for speeding in Melrose or any other urban or suburban areas. Drivers need to be reminded that persons of all ages and abilities use our streets for walking and bicycling, and that they need to drive with their safety in mind.
Science of Speeding and Fatalities
It is obvious that the faster you drive, the less time you have to perceive a hazard and to react to it in time to avoid it. While speeding by itself does not increase the number of accidents, it does increase the number of fatal accidents since the forces involved in a collision naturally increase substantially with each added mile per hour.
New York City provides an example. There, the default speed limit is 30 mph. At that speed, the chances of a fatal accident with a pedestrian or bicyclist is 30%. It rises to 80% when a car is at 40 mph. The fatality rate decreases dramatically to only 2% when the speed is 20 mph. In fact, many New York traffic safety experts are advocating for the 20-mph default speed limit. In London, England, which has residential speed zones of 20 mph, they experienced a 46% drop in accident fatalities after implementing the lowered speed. Studies have shown that each 1 mph reduction cuts down the incidence of traffic fatalities by 6%.
It might behoove city planners and officials here to consider residential speed zones of 20 mph. Although motorists on wider streets in suburban areas or on cross-town streets not directly in a neighborhood may find it difficult to travel at such slow speeds, motorists can be educated and come to accept and appreciate lowered speed limits in certain areas. Every motorist is a pedestrian at some point and many are also bicyclists so experiencing a speeding motorist while walking or cycling is nothing new and should make us all aware of the risks.
Contact Melrose Lawyer Neil Burns
Neil Burns is a Melrose lawyer who practices injury law and has represented the rights of accident victims throughout the state of Massachusetts for over 25 years. If you have an accident claim or have questions regarding personal injury accident law, contact Mr. Burns.