17 December 2021, by Victoria Séveno
Four major Dutch cities have announced plans to reduce the maximum speed limit in all built-up areas to 30 kilometres per hour in order to reduce the number of road accidents.
Reducing speed limits in Dutch cities
Over the summer, the city of Amsterdam announced that it planned to reduce speed limits on various large roads in the city centre from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour. In October, the Dutch government passed a motion that made 30 kilometres-per-hour speed limits the standard in built-up areas.
Since then, Amsterdam has decided, together with the municipalities of Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague – who have been dubbed G4 for short – that all roads in built-up areas have a maximum speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour.
“If we want to better protect pedestrians and cyclists, we have to take action,” says Amsterdam traffic alderman Egbert de Vries, who points out that 80 percent of traffic fatalities occur on roads with a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour.
Improving road safety in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague
The G4 have asked the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) and the cabinet to amend the rules for maximum speeds in big cities, and reduce the speed limit to 30 kilometres per hour. The cities hope to change their speed laws as soon as possible, with Amsterdam aiming for as early as 2023.
In addition to reducing speed limits on larger arterial roads, the G4 is also calling for a number of changes to Dutch streets in order to improve road safety in the Netherlands. These proposals include banning electric bikes and scooters from cycle lanes.
While the national cyclists union (Fietsersbond) and the Road Safety Research Foundation (SWOV) are hopeful the plans will improve road safety, public transport operators in Amsterdam (GVB), Rotterdam (RET), and The Hague (HTM) are concerned the proposed plans could affect the speed and efficiency of public transportation. A report published in 2019 by the Road Safety Research Foundation (SWOV) also argued that, in order to effectively enforce a 30 kilometres per hour speed limit, structural changes would have to be made to city roads.