What if roads were giant holes in the ground? (#TwentyIsPlenty)
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Am I just getting old, or are people driving faster these days than they used to? When I moved to Bozeman in 2004, the speed limit on most streets was 25 mph, and it seemed like most people drove 20 mph. These days, the speed limits on many streets is still 25 mph, but it seems like many people driver 30 mph+.
On Tuesday I joined a group of concerned city residents on Babcock Street on a walk hosted by WTI. Many neighbors shared concerns about high-speed traffic on their street and a desire for a lower speed limit.
Nationwide, a growing number of cities are reducing their speed limits on residential streets from 25 mph to 20 mph, as part of a growing "twenty is plenty" movement to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. CitiLab reports: Why Speed Kills Cities
Making this change in Bozeman would first require a change in state statute, but in the meantime there are other ways to reduce speed, through roadway design, education, and social norms.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that “a pedestrian struck at 25 miles per hour has 25 percent chance of being seriously injured—but that climbs to a 50 percent chance at 33 miles per hour.” At 40 mph, nearly half of pedestrians strike will die on the scene.
The difference between 25 mph and 20 is just a few seconds over the course of a commute, but can be the difference between life and death for a pedestrian if hig. If we're going to make Bozeman safer for pedestrians, we may need to rethink our speed limits.