The pros and cons of increasing speed limits

As speed increases the number of vehicle collisions may indeed be reduced, however the injuries caused to pedestrians increases significantly

Powered by automated translation

The front page story Police raise speed limits to make roads safer (October 25) was a very interesting article with some very well made points. However, one main element missing from the article is the severity of accidents based on speed. As speed increases the number of vehicle collisions may indeed be reduced (UK motorways have a very good safety record), however the injuries caused to pedestrians increases significantly as vehicle speed increases. This is a minor issue on rural roads that have few pedestrians, but in an urban location, like Abu Dhabi's central business district (CBD) , the number of pedestrians is significantly higher.

At speeds of 60kph and above, accidents involving pedestrians tend to result in fatality. In the article, John Hughes, regional manager for the Middle East at the Australian Road Research Board, mentioned that the main issue is the surrounding environment or context. A high density land use such as Abu Dhabi CBD generates an enormous number of pedestrians. Increasing speeds to higher than 60kph in these areas would expect to result in a corresponding increase in fatalities.

The article touched on two other issues that have the greatest impact on improving road safety. Speeding and education can both be addressed with policy and enforcement. City roads should not be designed to accommodate speeding vehicles, and enforcement is required to reduce the perceived benefit of speeding. Education should begin as soon as possible. This is best achieved by enforcement of child seats and seat belts. If parents educate children to be aware of danger and safety measures, they will soon become embedded as a cultural norm.

Colin Hill, Abu Dhabi


Setting speed limits should be according to the standards of the Institute of Transportation Engineers: the 85th percentile method. The 85th percentile is the speed that 85 per cent of drivers travel below (under average, free-flow conditions). Weather, road and traffic conditions could be taken care of by installing variable speed limit signs. Such a range of speed limits are to be enforced and monitored both by the police and Department of Transport/Roads and Transport Authority.

Sumi Tiwari, Dubai

New traffic signal system needed

The headline Drive to maintain the 'green wave' (October 24) is totally misleading. The story is that a sophisticated traffic signal network system is available, but Abu Dhabi insists on keeping its 1960s US-style fixed-time corridor progression system.

Meanwhile, pedestrians have to wait even when there is no traffic for the clock.

The new systems should respond intelligently and continuously as traffic flow changes and fluctuates throughout the day. It should remove the dependence of less sophisticated systems – like that in Abu Dhabi – on signal plans, which have to be expensively updated. And the "green waves" would be far more productive than those under the Abu Dhabi system.

How long before the latest technology is actually used in Abu Dhabi and junctions are reconfigured to separate left turners and straight-ahead drivers, as on Yas Island? This would make the system even more flexible and efficient.

Traffic flows change all the time, and the system constantly refines itself to give the best flow. By separating left and straight traffic, the signals can be automatically adjusted throughout the day to minimise delay and maximise flow.

Ford Desmoineaux, Abu Dhabi

Hit the hip pocket for results

If the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company's imminent price rises truly are a tool to educate people about resource consumption as outlined in the article Utility bills could be all in the timing (October 24), then surely it is time that we are all charged the same, resident or citizen.

If someone is not paying for the resources they consume, no amount of education or promotion on water and electricity savings will work.

Consumer habits change when the hip pocket is affected as witnessed by fuel and cigarette consumption variances between countries with differing tariffs and prices.

Vanessa Scott, Abu Dhabi

Brando's 'American' bike was really British

I refer to Rehan Khan's business comment article Born to be wild, but a little bit of promotion helps (October 25) which described how the Harley Davidson motorcycle company managed to re-brand its product through effective advertising and public relations.

There was one error in the article, however. Marlon Brando did not ride a Harley in the film The Wild Ones. It was a Triumph Thunderbird 6T.

However, so strong is the Harley brand's power of suggestion that many would imagine Brando's bike would have to be a Harley.

David Robinson, Abu Dhabi