Winnipeg Free Press Letter to the Editor One step further (Aug.20'11)
Re:* Mayor hopes to reduce speeds in school zoneshttp://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Mayor-hopes-to-reduce-speeds-in-school-zones-127931908.html *(Aug. 17). Mayor Sam Katz should be commended on his leadership in taking the initiative toward making our communities safer around schools. But why not take it one step further and reduce the speed limit to 30 kilometres per hour throughout residential neighbourhoods?
This would make the entire community safer for everyone, whether you are eight years old or 80. This is especially salient when one considers the World Health Organization statistic that "pedestrians have a 90 per cent chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving an impact at 45 km/h and almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h."
Winnipeg Letter of the day: Speed is biggest danger
Re:* Walking, cycling can be deadlyhttp://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/walking-cycling--can-be-deadly-127719563.html * (Aug. 15). Thank you to Jen Skerritt and the *Free Press* for raising this important public health issue. Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) are the leading killer of children, teens and young adults in Canada.
As the article points out, this tragedy is magnified by the fact that there are a number of relatively simple interventions to reduce injury and death from MVCs. Speed more than any other factor predicts the chance of injury and death in a MVC. According to the World Health Organization:
- An increase in speed of one kilometre per hour results in a three per cent higher risk of a crash involving injury and a four to five per cent increase in crashes that result in death. - The likelihood of death is 20 times greater for a car occupant in a crash with an impact speed of 80 km/h compared with 30 km/h. - Pedestrians struck by a car travelling 30 km/h have a 90 per cent chance of survival, which drops to 50 per cent at 45 km/h. Pedestrians have almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h.
Obeying posted speed limits and exercising due caution, along with sustained and visible enforcement and environmental controls such as speed bumps to encourage reduced speeds, can significantly reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions that injure and kill.
DR. MICHAEL ROUTLEDGE
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority