Boreens with grass growing up the middle and an 80kph limit. Very safe major roads with triple and even four-lane carriageways but speed limits so low that you barely feel that you are moving. The setting of Irish speed limits has become a mess.
The AA has been arguing this issue with government literally for years. Now with the new government we have been promised meaningful co-operation at last. With help from AA Members and motorists countrywide we have a chance, we hope, to get this shambles sorted out once and for all. We will be providing the Department of Transport with a list of poorly set limits and we have been promised that they will intervene with the local authorities to have them corrected.
You can report a bad speed limit by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please give as much detail as you can. If you have a photo so much the better – we will be putting the best example up on our website and we will pay €25 for every photo that we feature.
Speed limits are set legally by the local authority not by central government. While speed limit categories are set out in road traffic law, which limit to apply on which road is a decision made locally. The problem is that some local authorities have done their job well, some have done it badly and some have not done it at all. The result is limits that have no consistency from one county to another, and many examples of dangerous, careless and just plain ridiculous local variations.
The AA met with government on this issue recently. We have been asked to provide a list of bad speed limits nationally and have been promised that we will be supported when that list is presented to local authorities to fix.
We are asking all motorists to report bad speed limits to us directly. Send them by email to email@example.com. If you can include a photo then so much the better. To be fair, please also let us know if you have come across examples where you think the local council has done a good job, maybe by changing a limit or by assessing a road properly.
We want to collect as many as possible from as many sources as possible, so don’t be reluctant to drop us a line. We’ll publish the best photos on our website, and we have raided the kitty in here so we will offer €25 for every photo that we feature online. We would also like to find, if we can, the single most ridiculous speed limit in Ireland. Some stiff competition there so we’ll probably ask you vote on that later on.
But for all the humour that we can find in it, this is a very serious issue. It genuinely makes a mockery of speed limits and of the road safety strategy. I have said it many times – the reason why our road safety strategy has been working is because of us as Irish drivers. We have supported all of the new laws and driving behaviour has improved out of all measure. This has been achieved in spite of, not because of, the way speed limits have been set.
If we are taking limits seriously then we demand that the people setting them take them seriously as well. Please join our campaign and lets get it right once and for all.
The N4 – an example of how not to do it…
The N4 is the national primary route from the M50 in Dublin to Sligo. At the Dublin end for a stretch it is four lanes wide with a solid centre divide to prevent cross-over accidents. It also has an 80kph speed limit. Regular users will know that as you approach from Sligo or Galway you are on a motorway for many miles at 120kph until suddenly the road doubles in width but the speed limit drops to 80kph.
Further west along that same national primary route in Co. Sligo the road is a narrow, winding single lane. There are ditches on either side lined with white crosses erected by local people marking spots where people have died. The speed limit on that lethal stretch is 100kph.