Home Office Minister says that limits must be put on volume of traffic in Spanish cities
The Spanish Home office Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, said yesterday that mayors have changed their outlook on the subject of road safety because ‘we are all aware that the volume of traffic in cities cannot continue to rise’ and that ‘the current situation cannot go on’. He made these statements during a speech at this year’s parliamentary conference on road safety and the prevention of accidents, attended by 16 mayors and experts on road safety.
Rubalcaba also spoke about the ‘fundamental question of mobility within cities’ where 75% of Spanish citizens live. He said that now the issue of mobility within cities was focussed more on pedestrians and public transport than cars. He also said that the already high volume of traffic could not be allowed to continue to rise the consequences of which were further pollution, the destruction of urban areas and the deterioration of the landscape.
Referring to the already high volume of traffic he said that measures needed to be taken ‘to put a stop to this situation’ and that local authorities had been forced to make radical planning decisions when thinking about mobility within their municipalities.
Rubalcaba was keen to point out the number of traffic accidents had gone down in cities although not as noticeably as on Spain’s motorways. From 2003 to 2008 the number of road accident victims went down by 45% while the number of road accidents victims in cities only went down by 31%. During this period there were 49,000 road accidents in cities which is equivalent to 53% of the total number of road accidents.
Rubalcaba stressed that urban road safety would depend on the coexistence of pedestrians, bicycles and cars. He also pointed out that if car drivers respected speed limits of between 30 and 50 kilometres an hour and wore their seat belts then the possibilities of a mortal accident were ‘extremely limited’.