The city of Bologna will cut the speed limit on its roads to 30 from June 2023 after the council approved the rule change on Wednesday, with those backing the plan saying it will slash emissions and improve road safety.
The new limit will apply to almost all roads in the city, according to reports in Italian media, including those in the old town (centro storico).
“We want Bologna to be a frontrunner at the national level on road safety,” City mayor Matteo Lepore told local media on Wednesday. “I hope the government sees Bologna as an example and starts talking about this.”
The League party, which is led by new infrastructure and transport minister Matteo Salvini, however recently criticised Bologna’s plan to cut the speed limit, reportedly saying the move would make life harder for residents and create “more traffic and fines”.
Bologna will join other European cities including Paris in implementing the lower speed limit as part of efforts to lower emissions and improve safety.
According to the World Health Organisation the risk of death to a pedestrian hit by a car driven at 50 km/h is 80 percent. The risk drops to 10 percent at 30 km/h.
The speed limit on roads in Italian towns and cities is generally 50, and on the autostrade (motorways) it’s 130.
Many Italian residents are dependent on cars as their primary mode of transport. Italy has the second-highest motorisation rate in Europe with 670 vehicles per 1,000 residents, second only to Luxembourg with 682, according to statistics agency Eurostat.