Independent MP Andrés Ingi Jónsson intends to present a bill to Parliament proposing that speed limits in urban areas drop from 50 km/h (31mph)to 30km/h (19mph). He cites traffic safety and air quality as reasons for the change but municipalities would still be able to increase the speed limit where circumstances allow.
The bill proposes that the maximum speed limit would be lowered to 30 km/h (19mph) “but municipalities have the power to raise the speed limit where circumstances allow it,” Andrés told Vísir. According to the bill, the decision-making power would be in the hands of the municipalities instead of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. Andrés considers that an improvement and refers to the recent discussion on the Hringbraut speed limit, which was lowered following two near-accidents. “The city had to fight IRCA on this when residents called for the speed limit to be lowered. If the bill becomes law, the burden of proof would be on the other side and changes to the speed limits would depend on people’s safety, especially the safety of the most vulnerable group, pedestrians.
Asked about the effect this would have on traffic speed, he says it isn’t about lowering the speed limit everywhere to 30 km/h (19mph), it’s that a higher speed limit would need to be justified and supported by valid arguments.
The bill also proposes that traffic laws would no longer permit a speed limit of 110 km/h (68mph) in certain roads and that the speed limit in parking lots be lowered from 15km/h (9mph) to 10 km/h(6mph). While the laws allow for a speed limit of 110km/h(68mph), no roads in Iceland have a speed limit above 90km/h(56mph). Andrés states that it’s a matter of traffic safety and air quality. He points to development in other countries, such as Sweden, where speed limits were lowered to reduce traffic accidents. “Just this year, both Spain and the Netherlands have decided to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h (19mph) just like I’m suggesting we do here.”
Andrés Ingi is currently seeking support for the bill and intends to present it to Parliament in the next few days.