We’re were getting a 20 mph limit for most roads in our UK town (until it was scrapped yesterday) and the local Facebook groups are acting like they’re turning us into an open air prison.

Apparently having shops in walking distance is a Chinese conspiracy, and we must reject the climate emergency, and other such frothing at the mouth…


What’s so strange is that still you will find big Toyota, Audi and Mercedes vehicles parked in the center, even though it’s not handy to move that way in the city


And next step is to enforce a 25km/h speed limit for e-bikes. Those kids on those fatbikes are a menace.

joelthelion, (edited ) avatar

Maybe a weight limit, too? You don’t need a fatbike in the city.

S410 avatar

...wide tires don't mean that the bike's heavy, my dude.
A cheapo walmart bike with mostly steel parts and other dead weight like a kickstand and a basket can easily be heavier than a decent frame with wide tires.

joelthelion, avatar

The tires themselves are heavy, and they very often go with an oversized frame. Some of these eBike SUVs are genuine monsters. Pretty scary for other cyclists and pedestrians.


We have that in Germany, 25 for regular e-bikes. Anything above requires you to register and insure your bike, you get an actual license plate and you are considered a vehicle not meant to use regular bike lanes.


Not quite. Only the motor assist has to shut off at 25 km/h. You can go as fast as you want (and your legs allow) with most e-Bikes. The ones which require a license plate are extremely rare.

Fun fact: the default speed limits of 50 in built-up areas and 100 on country roads do not apply to bicycles without license plates. Those, by law, are only for “Kraftfahrzeuge”. Signposted limits on the other hand are for “Fahrzeuge aller Art”, which includes bicycles and horse carriages.


Actually was once caught going 35 km/h in a 30 zone but the police (hunting speeders near a school) were more impressed than angry (mountainbike, doesn’t really have the transmission for speed fastest I ever went with that thing was 38km/h on flat ground). It’s downhill or race bikes where you have to start to worry.


There’s no point to allowing private cars in cities anyway. Just ban the lot of them.


The only exception i can think of are people with impaired movement that are fit to drive though. But for this we dont need full cars.


There are a few others I can think of but most of those revolve around rare events like moving in or out or buying furniture.

HeartyBeast avatar

So - how do they get in and out of the cities?


Massive parking lots at the edge of the city. At least this was the recommendation of the Berlin Autofrei initiative.


Park and Ride mass transit in. It’s the only compromise that can be made, really. No cars beyond allowing registered work vans/trucks and emergency vehicles.

One way or the other it’s inevitable. We either voluntarily (sic) shut down inner cities to any traffic other than the aforementioned due to obvious reasons, or, if AI can ever actually drive us, than we go all iRobot where humans just physically can’t keep up with the speeds and the windows blacken out.


Public transport?


Man, what an extremist you are


Schiphol airport is also a train terminal.


By being in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour like a smart person


Park and ride- I’m struggling to remember if it’s called that in English. They set up a bus line between a car park on the outskirts of the city and the city centre. So you just have to park and then jump on the bus. More specifically to The Netherlands trains and bikes are usually workable options as well.

HubertManne avatar

Not related to banning cars but at one point they were talking about making a metro line to connect the airports in chicago with the only stops being to intersect with the ends of the other metro lines and having a large parking structure built about half way between. Man I wish they had done that. Sorta a parking super structure to park and go to the airports or downtown.

HerbalGamer, avatar

Amsterdam actually has quite a few of these options dotted around the outskirts of the city, with trainstations and tramlines connecting them to the city.

HeartyBeast avatar

They work well in the UK for people visiting a city. I’m not sure they work for residents. Parking for around 2 million vehicles surrounding London would be … something. Even 1 million


If you’re living in a city you shouldn’t need, and thus have, a car. Cars are for people living in the middle of nowhere but still needing to get around in a way that isn’t covered by collect taxis, for everyone else there’s public transport and a rental once in a while.

HeartyBeast avatar

As someone who cycles to work and uses public transport where possible, there are still plenty of occasions where a car is very useful and a rental wouldn’t cut it.


Then public transport infrastructure isn’t good enough. Also things like shop locations, e.g. noone is going to haul beverage crates in a tram so there’s got to be stores with a proper selection within handcart to cargo bike or bike trailer distance, same goes for parcel pickups. And the roads have to be designed so that people feel safe using those methods.

I’d even go so far that in the vast majority of cases where you’d need a motorised vehicle you then want a van, not a car.

HeartyBeast avatar

Agreed. Once we’ve changed shop locations, redesigned the roads, revolutionised public transport I’ll definitely look into it.


Honest question, does London have intercity trains or busses? I mean 2 million sounds like a number for this public transport thingy people sometimes talk about

HeartyBeast avatar

Yes it does. So lets have a look. Let's say I want to take my family of four down to Devon to see my folks this weekend. On trainline, the cheapest return fair is £239, at not very convenient times. Better times brings the price to £362.

Add in the price if tube and bus at either end and you are looking at about £400 (a bit over $500) to get down there for the weekend. It's expensive? Yes it is - and partly because of the limited capacity on rail.

Now that could absolutely could be improved with additional rail infrastructure - but not by this weekend.

Of course, if I was travelling by myself - that's about £66 return and I have done that in the past rather than driving


i misread that, and thought the entire country was going to implement it. this really does make a lot of sense (in this particular city). but i woudn’t go around and limit traffic in every city to 30km/h like some politicians in germany tried to do.


Why not?


I’m not aware of any german politician wanting to implement a general speed limit of 30 in every/any city. Instead there is an attempt to allow cities/mayors/city planners to implement speed limits on individual streets for a variety of reasons. As of now many reasons like noise, risk to other road users, even schools/kindergartens in the vicinity are often not sufficient to warrant an individual speed limit according to road traffic regulations.


The workaround Germans seem to have discovered is to have roadworks that last indefinitely.


30kph in every city centre makes sense. It’s safer for everyone, including drivers. Nobody wants to hit a cyclist or pedestrian and you can see more at this speed, and have a shorter length to stop.

It also encourages people to take ring roads if they need to be on the other side of a city and need to have their car there.


Wales implemented it country wide. Almost all 30mph limits are now 20mph.


City’s like Amsterdam are not build for cars. They are allowed but it is mostly people on foot and bicycles. Going over 30 is not possible and dangerous.

grue, (edited )

On the contrary: Amsterdam was rebuilt for cars in the 1950s-1970s, then re-rebuilt for bikes because they realized that they had made a terrible mistake.


So… it’s not currently built for cars.


The point is, it’s not an “oh, it’s just 'cause it’s old and historic and couldn’t possibly be replicated anywhere else” thing. It absolutely can be done everywhere; the only difference is that Amsterdam is one of the few places that’s had the, frankly, good sense to do it. (I almost wrote “political will” there, but when you consider the fact that car-centric design doesn’t even fucking work for car drivers themselves, it really is more a matter of competence than ideology.)


it’s just 'cause it’s old and historic and couldn’t possibly be replicated anywhere else

Not sure why you’re so insistent on replying to your own strawman argument. The statement is “Amsterdam is not built for cars”. That’s it. That’s what you replied to…

IWantToFuckSpez, (edited )

The old center that was built before cars is only a part of the city. The rest of the city has been built with car traffic in mind. The problem is more that it is too crowded.


The problem is really that cars are too space inefficient for what they do. Cars travelling at 50km/h should have at the very least 1s of travel distance safety distance between vehicles which is about three car lengths. In other words for the often single person travelling in a car you need about one lane width times 4 car lengths of space which is probably more than your average apartment size in most cities and unlike apartments roads tend to not be stacked 5 or 6 high on top of each other. And that does not even take parking and space to enter and exit each parking space into account. Not to mention that a lot of that space is unused outside the peak usage hours at any given location.


1 second is not 3 car lengths unless you’re going really fast. Also, when pulling away, you shouldn’t sit stationary and wait for the gap to establish, as by the time you’re going you will be even further back. Instead, pull away at the same time as the vehicle in front, but restrain your acceleration so they still pull away from you. When they stop pulling away, you stop accelerating and you’ll have more or less the correct gap.

Standard advice is usually 2 seconds in the dry, 4 in the wet - “only a fool breaks the two second rule” takes about 2 seconds to say, then “but if it pours, make it 4” brings it to 4 seconds.


That sounds like a big mistake. I can understand like, 48 km/h per hour in highly populated areas, but going below US school speed limits is going to create lots of offenders (maybe that’s the end game). I can ride faster that 30 km/h on my bike. I can continually do that with as little as a 5% decline from the horizontal axis.


You obviously never been to Amsterdam

SpaceCadet2000 avatar

When you say Amsterdam, you probably think of this:

But there's also a lot of Amsterdam that looks like this:

I really don't see what it would accomplish in terms of safety or environmentally to limit the speed on the second road to 30km/h.


Many major European cities already implemented this, and I’ve yet to hear of a single one where it turned out to be “a big mistake”. Can anybody from these cities report (e. g. Helsinki or others)?

ThankYouVeryMuch avatar

Madrid did this. Massive fail, basically no one was going 30km/h, if you did (which I used to, just to fuck around) you could expect lots of honking and comments about your mother. It was reverted shortly after


That's not a failure of the law, it's a failure of law enforcement

ThankYouVeryMuch avatar

Iirc even most fines had to be reverted due to not being even signs put up


Also 30km/h with a 9kg bike isn’t 30km/h with a 1600kg toyota when you hit someone

If you want to go fast go around the city

  1. Amsterdam isn't the kind of place where you'd be doing 30km/h. In car or on bike.

  2. Amsterdam is one big highly populated area. See point 1.

  3. If you do try going over 30km/h in Amsterdam, you're frankly a danger to yourself in most places on bike and a danger to pretty much everyone else when you're in a car.


The limit before was 50km/h. The city is just too crowded. By lowering the speed limit even more you force people to take the highways if they want to reach the other side of the city.


Luckily for you the speed limit doesn't hold for bicycles :) (Though good luck finding any kind of incline/decline in the Netherlands :P) And luckily for other road users, collisions with bicycles, even at that speed, are less dangerous than with a car.


Wait school zone speed limits in the US is higher than 30km/h ?

In my country school zone speed limit is usually 20km/h and there are tons of residential areas as well as more and more cities that restricts big portion of their roads to 30km/h.

This is mostly done to reduce noise pollution as well as mortal accidents.


School zones are 40km/h in my country.

Onii-Chan avatar

Aussie chiming in, school zones are 40km/h here.


Remember the american mentality:

As soon as children are born, they don’t matter any more.


It's 20mph which is 32kmh


Also you are only allowed to drive as fast as to not endanger others. Children are not reliable and predictable. In front of a school during school hours driving at the speed limit is still reckless.


Cars shouldn’t be allowed around schools at all.

FlyingSquid, avatar

Parents need a way to drop off and pick up their kids, especially if it is a time other than school hours- the kid is sick, has a doctor’s appointment, etc.


Not in most of europe, where kids can usually go to school by themselves, either by walking, biking or public transport. It’s all about city planning.

Helicopter parents driving their children to and from school are a big nuisance and safety concern here.

FlyingSquid, avatar

If your child is very sick, walking, biking or public transport would not be the best way to get them out of a school.


There have to be excemptions for those very rare cases of course. Just like there are for fire trucks in case the school building is on fire.

But if children are too sick to walk, an ambulace might be a better solution perhaps?

FlyingSquid, avatar

Are you seriously suggesting that it is worth wasting an ambulance and a team of EMTs’ time when the problem could easily solved by the parent picking up the child and taking them to the doctor?


It seems I have to repeat myself here: There have to be excemptions for those very rare cases of course.


Most school zones in the US are 20mph (32km/h). Some states will have 25mph and, for example, a highway going through a school zone that usually 65mph may go to 35-50mph when the school zone is active but this is an exception, not the rule and is done on a case by case basis.

Remember though, American roads are much larger tha European roads. Most of these school zones that go that slow there's really no need for it.


a highway going through a school zone

What. Aren’t those supposed to be grade-separated and have no pedestrians.


Sometimes they are. Other times it's Main St. straight through the middle of town. And others it's through the middle of nowhere and peoples driveways straight onto it.

I've also seen dirt highways which just means it was an old highway from hundreds of years ago and just never got paved.

Exec, avatar

but going below US school speed limits is going to create lots of offenders

That’s not really relevant in Europe.


Thankfully Amsterdam isn’t the first city to do this and most of it is also limited to 30 kph anyway, so we actually this will work out fine.

I can ride faster that 30 km/h on my bike. I can continually do that with as little as a 5% decline from the horizontal axis.

5% is pretty steep, I wouldn’t be surprised if one could reach 30 kph without pedaling at all.


5% is pretty steep, I wouldn’t be surprised if one could reach 30 kph without pedaling at all.

Technically you can reach that with any amount of drop per distance where the speed gain exceeds drag as long as you don’t specify how long the incline is.


where the speed gain exceeds drag

That’s the question.


I shaved my body and only cycle naked to achieve minimum drag

Just so I can crash into kids faster on an incline

HerbalGamer, avatar

5% is pretty steep

found the dutch person


30 km/h is somewhere around the point where pedestrians can walk away from a collision with a car. Not unharmed but likely without broken bones.

Yes you can bike faster, but a bike has much less mass so they’re less dangerous for pedestrians in collisions.


Loudly and visibly changing the rules doesn’t “create offenders”. Offenders aren’t victims of changed rules.

It has been shown time and again that lowering speed limits in cities reduces traffic accidents and emissions at close to no costs to the flow of traffic.

My own city (in Germany, so it really was a heavily-criticized decision) lowered the speed limit on one of the major arterial roads to 30 kph. It is one I have to use regularly, and oh boy, let me tell you: I was soooo opposed to the change. Yet, it really only changed how fast you arrive at the next red light. There is literally no discernable change in how long it takes to pass that street, especially during rush hour. Traffic just got a little more fluid.

It is, however, the street with the most speeding tickets in town. I regularly see one or two mobile speed cameras along the way. And I’ve never been fined. You got to wonder…


Offenders aren’t victims of changed rules.

I’d say they are, if the rules are shit. In this case though the rules are fine imo.


I mean even if this speed limit was shit, it’s not like speed limits in general are invisible and people don’t know what happens if you break them. Every offense in this case is self-inflicted and not caused by the limit itself.


You have clearly never driven anything in The Netherlands then.


Actually, I have…




You’re right, now that you mention it



AKADAP, avatar

Typical walking speed is about 2.5 to 3 MPH suppose your government legislated a universal walking speed limit of 1.5 MPH. I think you can easily see that ridiculous laws create offenders, and the offenders are the victim of bad laws.


Bad faith argument much?

avater, avatar

And now back to the real world…


It is, however, the street with the most speeding tickets in town.

Is it still built like a 50km/h street? If yes then there you have your answer.


What’s your argument?

Streets in Europe are (with few exceptions) narrower than in the US. Is there a natural consequence for speed limits? Does it take some kind of special mental capacity to follow legal speed limits in streets that perceivably could be traversed faster?


Does it take some kind of special mental capacity to follow legal speed limits in streets that perceivably could be traversed faster?

In fact yes it does you practically need to be a superhuman: Narrow streets feel unsafe and drivers automatically slow down. In the US speed limits, where they don’t build streets according to the intended speed but much wider, are set to lower than what the engineers want you to drive at because they expect speeding.

US speed limits are also inconsistent, and the signs announcing them are practically invisible. Have a video.


Actually there’s so much road crossing from people and bikes in Amsterdam that cars kind of already go to 30km/h in most streets

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