A woman living in Norwich, Norfolk, UK believes that a 20 mph speed limit for traffic on the road outside her home would have saved the lives of her two cats, both of whom have been killed by speeding cars. She lives on Denmark Road. The sad fact is, though, that there is a 20 mph speed limit on Denmark Road but it is being completely ignored by too many people. She wants traffic calming measures to be installed to ensure compliance but speed bumps are unpopular.
Rebecca Crawford has lived on Denmark Road for more than five years and she’s launched a petition calling for Norfolk County Council to install speed bumps. The council is considering the request. She has lost two cats due to “reckless drivers…and I am heartbroken. At around 5pm on January 18, I found my cat Caesar in the middle of the road.”
He was hit by a speeding driver and did not stop. She is concerned that when her four month old child grows up and walks down the road that she will be in danger. Cars parked on either side of the road also make crossing the road more hazardous.
It is probably true that reducing speed limits on urban roads to 20 mph does save the lives of domestic cats as it gives them more time to react to avoid approaching vehicles. However, we don’t know how much of a benefit it would be. In my experience domestic cats tend to dart out onto roads in front of traffic because they don’t understand what vehicles are. I’m not convinced that a reduced speed limit would reduce the number of cat deaths due to road traffic accidents.
However, a study in Bristol decided that the introduction of 20 mile-per-hour speed limit in that city managed to save four lives and avoid eleven serious injuries. They found that traffic speeds were reduced by 2.7 mph where the new limit had been introduced. Presumably the previous speed limit was 30 mph. Therefore reducing the speed limit by 10 mph reduces traffic speed by 2.7 mph. This clearly indicates that people do not comply with 20 mile-per-hour speed limits. They find that it is too slow. This is another reason why a 20 mile-per-hour speed limit may be ineffective in saving domestic cat lives. And also why traffic calming measures need to be added on roads where there are 20 mph limits.
Perhaps some kind scientists might wish to do a study, if it is feasible, on whether the safety of wondering domestic cat onto roads would be enhanced by a 20 mile-per-hour speed limit. My thanks to the Eastern Daily Press.