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New 30kph city limits could actually be bad for safety -- road expert

THE new city speed limits could actually be bad for road safety, an expert has warned.

A war of words has erupted between the Green Party and the Automobile Association over the 30kph restrictions that kicked in yesterday.

The two are at loggerheads over plans to extend the restricted speed zone, with the AA saying the proposal will result in motorists becoming sceptical of speed limits.

For its part, the Green Party has launched an attack on the AA and its boss, Conor Faughnan, saying it's "clearly an automobile association, not a people association".

"The AA is supposed to be an organisation promoting better road safety and better environmental standards," said Dun Laoghaire TD Ciaran Cuffe, adding that their stance on the issue "contradicts their aims".

Mr Faughnan, told the Herald: "I think that's nonsense. The 30kph zone has no benefits whatsoever.

"There are no benefits in terms of road safety or environmental impact."

He argues that it will only serve to "confuse" drivers and "result in people getting penalty points they don't deserve".

The new limit took effect yesterday, with gardai wasting no time setting up speed traps along the city quays where dozens of motorists were stung for points and fines.

Mr Faughnan said: "This is like putting an 80kph limit on a motorway.

"We can pretend we're making the world safer, but you're teaching the population that speed limits don't make sense."


He also accused the city council of "kicking car users".

Mr Cuffe said he was surprised at the AA's reaction, explaining: "There is a concern that quite a few cyclists have died on the city quays in recent years."

Asked by the Herald how many, he replied: "I don't have a figure off the top of my head, but I am certainly aware of three cyclists that were killed in the last few years."

However, Mr Faughnan hit back at Mr Cuffe's remarks, saying: "The frustrating thing for us is that the actual benefits for road safety are none."

He said that Mr Cuffe's "car- versus-bike-versus-public-transport approach" was "adversary" and "out of date".

The Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) has also criticised the new limits.

"In areas like the quays and St Stephen's Green -- the main transit routes in and around the core of the city area -- such a low limit is probably in appropriate," a spokesperson said.

Mr Cuffe insisted the new measure would bring more visitors to the city.

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