In fall 2016, the City Council and Mayor approved changes to city speed limits, lowering the limit on all residential (non-arterial) streets from 25 to 20 MPH and on center city arterials from 30 to 25 MPH. Check out the FAQ and the council bill to learn more.
Speed is the most important factor in collisions. Higher speeds increase the likelihood and severity of crashes while lower speed limits improve safety for everyone; especially people walking and biking. Collision data show this to be true. Speed consistently contributes to 25% percent of traffic fatalities annually on Seattle streets.
Speed is especially lethal for people walking and biking. The graphic below illustrates the chances of survival during a vehicle and pedestrian collision.
Unfortunately, collisions with people walking and biking make-up just about 5% percent of total collisions but nearly 50% of fatalities. It's also important to note that pedestrian fatality and serious injury rates increases with age, since an older person may not be able to recover from a collision as quickly, when compared to a younger person.
Pedestrians have a much better chance to survive when vehicles are traveling at lower speeds and drivers have more time to see and react. By reviewing and changing our speed limits when appropriate, we can create consistent speed limits on our arterial streets, improve safety for all travelers, and reduce the severity of all collisions.
We all play a role in creating safe streets. Know the limit and help Seattle reach Vision Zero.