30 km/h speed limit proposed for 10 more roads in Kuala Lumpur, highly pedestrianised areas targeted

A mandatory speed limit of 30 km/h may soon be imposed on 10 more roads in Kuala Lumpur city, as proposed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), The Star reported.

Though the exact locations for the 30 km/h speed limit have yet to be identified, Miros hopes that the 10 roads will be in highly pedestrianised areas, said Miros chairman Wong Shaw Voon.

The choice of locations proposed for the 30 km/h speed limit is based on accident records vulnerable road users, as well as those with a high number of complaints received from the community, according to the report. Speed management intervention measures by the authorities would also include road humps, roundabouts and transverse bars, with the aim of slowing traffic in these areas, Wong said.

Feasibility studies are expected to be completed by the end of the year, The Star reported. “DBKL has already imposed a 30 km/h speed limit in some school zones. Under the new proposal, several roads with a current speed limit of 40 km/h will be reduced to 30 km/h, while roads with a 60 km/h speed limit will be reduced to 50 km/h,” Wong added.

Lowering speed limits could also reduced the probability of death or serious injury in the event of road incidents, the Miros chairman said. “People are constantly in a rush to get somewhere. If they could just slow down, we can prevent accidents,” he said, adding that speed management can help reduce the number of accidents by adopting the safe system approach of incorporating engineering, education and enforcement.

Last year, Miros proposed a 30 km/h speed limit for built-up areas such as urban and residential areas, and the ministry of federal territories (KWP) was reported in February to be studying the proposal, which was subsequently to be presented to DBKL.

According to police data cited by The Star, national statistics found that Kuala Lumpur contributed 30% of road deaths nationwide, and speed-related crashes accounted for 30% of the fatalities, while serious injuries accounted for 31%. Speed-related crashes included incidents where the vehicles went out of control, overturned or collided with roadside objects, according to the report.

Meanwhile, transportation planning expert Goh Bok Yen said that road safety should be viewed from a broader perspective, and not just through reductions in speed limits, The Star wrote.

Transportation planners suggest that new road design guidelines should accommodate different kinds of road users. File image of bicycle lane in Kuala Lumpur, 2018.

“It is timely for DBKL to transform city roads and make them user-friendly to non-motorised vehicles such as bicycles and [other] pedestrians. Achieving a more balanced redistribution of road space between vehicles and pedestrians in the central business district is crucial,” Goh said.

New road design guidelines for lower speeds must come with wider and safer walkways for non-motorised road users, and there needs to be a shift from traditional car-centric road design and operation to one that accommodates different kinds of road users, he said.

Arterial roads – such as Jalan Kuching, Jalan Cheras and Jalan Tun Razak – would remain motor vehicle-centric, others such as Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Jalan Petaling and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman should prioritise non-motorised vehicles and pedestrians by having wider walkways, he suggested, adding that vehicle speeds could be reduced by narrowing the lane widths for motor vehicles to lower their speeds.

The next steps could be to restrict certain categories of vehicles such as trailers in the central business district, restrict motorcycles to dedicated lanes on arterial roads and to have roads that permit only public transport vehicles, the latter using London as an example cited by Goh.

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