Ontario considers reducing municipal speed limits

by | Jan 30, 2015 | News

40 kmph sign

The province may lower speed limits, including the standard 50 km/h to 40 km/h (Donna Sevilla/Humber News)

by Donna Sevilla

Ontario is looking into decreasing speed limits in municipalities. In some areas, the standard 50 km/h may be lowered to 40 km/h.

“Municipalities have expressed the need to reduce their speed limits to enhance road safety for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists,” said Transportation Minister Del Duca in an e-mail statement.

The World Health Organization said in a 2004 report that pedestrians struck by cars traveling 30 km/h or below have a 90 per cent chance of surviving. While pedestrians struck by vehicles at 45 km/h have less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving.

The survival rate for pedestrians struck by vehicles going 80 km/h is zero.

“The province wants input from the public, municipalities and stakeholders on whether to consider changing the default speed limit for local roads. Any decisions made always take the safety of our roads and road users into consideration,” Del Duca said.

One of the communities that was affected by careless driving is Leaside, a neighbourhood east of downtown Toronto, when seven-year-old Georgia Walsh was struck and killed by a minivan last July.

The driver had failed to stop at a red light and was charged with careless driving.

Since the accident, the community had put signs up around the area with the words, ‘SLOW DOWN’ as part of the a campaign by Kids At Play.

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA) has been advocating for lower speeds in the area.

Traffic has been increasing over the years and even more with the added construction of the LRT on Eglinton, said LPOA Co-chair Carol Burton Fripp.

She also said that speeding has always been an issue in the area, but to lower the speed limit also requires proper enforcement.

“There’s a joint responsibility to be careful and to look both ways before you cross, as well as looking both ways before you turn in a car. The driver probably has the greater responsibility because the driver is in a heavier vehicle that’s moving at greater speed,” said Fripp.

The committee is working with Leaside councillor Jon Burnside, traffic committees and consultants in hopes to achieve “real results”,  she said.

She said one of the factors that also may affect drivers’ visibility while driving is tinted windows.

In Ontario, there is no percentage limit on how much a driver can tint their window, as it is up to police to determine if a car window is too dark.