Being from New York City, at least the Borough of Queens, I wonder what Time writer Justin Worland was thinking when he included in a piece about New York lowering its speed limit to 25 m.p.h. from 30: “Police first need to enforce the rule, something some city-dwellers think isn’t likely.” My recollection is that New York’s police were a no-nonsense outfit, and if the sign says 25 m.p.h, that’s what it’s going to be. In any event, whether a city that prides itself for being a non-stop, on-the-move place can slow down enough to improve the safety of motorists and pedestrians on its streets will be an interesting sort of public relations challenge.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio thinks the lower limit will work, but, notes John Whitelegg, a University of York professor “who has helped implement programs to lower the speed limit in Germany and the United Kingdom,” “What we’re trying to say is this is not just about changing speed, it’s about changing what goes on in people’s heads.” We’ll see.
(Photo: Mayor Bill DeBlasio announcing the lower speed limit. Five miles per hour matters. “A car that hits a pedestrian while traveling 30 mph,” the Time article notes, “is twice as likely to kill that person as if it were traveling 25 mph. And it’s eight times as likely to kill a pedestrian than if it were traveling 20 mph, the average top speed that a sprinting human might collide into another object.”)
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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