Bologna records drop in road accidents after imposing 30km/h speed limit

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Bologna records drop in road accidents after imposing 30km/h speed limit
Bologna has recorded a 16 percent drop in road accidents after introducing a 30km/h speed limit. Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP.

One month after the Italian city of Bologna introduced a controversial speed limit in its city centre, data showed that road accidents in the city have fallen by almost 16 percent.


There were a total of 186 road accidents on Bologna's streets between January 15th and February 11th this year, including one fatality and 122 which resulted in injuries, according to municipal figures.

The same period last year saw 221 accidents, three of which resulted in fatalities and 139 in injuries - meaning this year's numbers reflect a 16 percent decline in incidents.

There were also 19.1 percent fewer people injured overall (144 down from 178), and 25.6 percent fewer pedestrians involved in collisions.

"What is clear is the decrease in more serious accidents and the decrease in people injured... confirming that accidents tend to be less serious," said city councillor Valentina Orioli, one of the scheme's proponents.

"This is why it is important to continue to respect the limits and keep our guard up."

The move made Bologna one of a growing number of European cities, including Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Bilbao, to bring in a 30km/h limit aimed at improving air quality and road safety.

READ ALSO: 'Città 30': Which Italian cities will bring in new speed limits?

But the change was met in January with a go-slow protest by Bologna's taxi drivers and, perhaps more surprisingly, criticism from the Italian transport ministry, which financed the measure.

However, this week Italy's transport minister minister and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini appeared to have had a change of heart, as he reportedly responded to the news that accidents had dropped by saying the scheme should be rolled out across the entire country.

This represents a sharp turnaround from the hard-right populist League party leader, who previously said Bologna's 'Città 30' plan would create “more traffic and fines”.

In January, Salvini pledged to bring in new nationwide rules dictating speed limits in cities that would reverse Bologna's new rule.


"Road safety is everyone's objective, not a right or left-wing issue," he said at the Italian Senate's Question Time on Thursday.

"I wouldn't dream of infringing on the autonomy of the municipalities, with whom we are working fruitfully. Including the mayor of Bologna, with whom I think an agreement will be found."

Bologna's city council continues to face opposition to the rule from taxi driver cooperatives, who have put forward a motion to restore the old speed limits in 76 streets.

City councillors responded by saying that they would not "revise the measure on the basis of ideological conflicts or prejudices."

The issue of speed limits has divided Italy in recent weeks, as a prolific speed camera vandal dubbed 'Fleximan' by the Italian press continues to evade police.

Some have heralded the vigilante as a modern-day superhero, while others accuse the saboteur of "stealing" lives.


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Marcia 2024/02/19 19:17
Well, you also can't drive anywhere now. It's crazy there.

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