Look at the science of speed limits

July 9, 2013   ·   0 Comments

I see where the council has determined to establish lower speed limits on gravel roads within the township; dropping them from the provincially established 80 kilometres per hour to a more sedate 60 km/h.
Speed limits are supposedly determined by the science of, “what is a safe rate of speed for the road conditions and environment?” and as such vary from road to road and place to place.
For example, the 15th Sideroad, between Weston and 7th, is rolling with blind hills and in wet weather conditions can be a little more challenging to drive. Thus it may easily be argued that 60 km/h is appropriate. While the 8th Concession, between the 18th and the Lloydtown-Aurora Road, is flat, straight and well-surfaced allowing a presumably greater rate of speed.
Where speed limits are established arbitrarily low, it’s a simple assumption that a great many cars will choose to exceed that limit. And if the road is patrolled and tickets handed out, it is generally perceived as a ridiculous cash-grab. It’s a formula for the creation of the us vs. them mentality that is already a challenging enough issue to attempt to avoid.
If the speed limits are established realistically for the road conditions, it’s shocking how many people will stay within 10 km/h of the established limit. And should adverse road conditions warrant, it is fairly common to find people slowing below the established limit and adjusting their driving appropriately.
I think it’s a reasonably safe assumption that the majority of drivers do not wish to damage their cars, animals, people, or end up in a ditch, drive according to their comfort levels.
There will always be drivers, of course, who believe they’re never going to have an accident and will pass you at 150 km/h while you’re driving 80. Whatever limit is established is of little meaning or value to them.
If one wants to adjust speed limits within King Township, my perception is that they are generally too low already.
For example the speed limit on 27, from the Nobleton Senior School to just north of the 15th, is set at 60 km/h. This may, in due course be appropriate, as Nobleton builds out, but currently is too slow for the existing road and environment conditions. The fact that there is often a speed trap set up here suggests that a large enough number of drivers feel similarly.
Let’s get back to the science of appropriate limits, as opposed to playing the politics of desired limits.

Jeff Laidlaw



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