THE speed limit for buses on some routes in the Isle of Man could be increased under proposals being put out for public consultation.
Officials at the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure have requested highways bosses investigate the possibility of increasing the maximum speed limit for buses from the present 40mph to 50 mph, subject to any general speed restrictions in force.
To investigate the merits of this proposal, the Department of Infrastructure has agreed to hold a consultation to gauge public reaction.
Six routes have been chosen for a 12 month trial of the new maximum speed limit.
These are Ballasalla to Spring Valley Roundabout, Foxdale to Silverdale Glen, Castletown to Ballabeg (from the bypass to Ballabeg), Onchan to Ramsey (via the Coast Road, excluding Laxey), Greeba to Peel (excluding St John’s and Ballacraine) and Mountain Road (restricted to single deck vehicles only).
Director of highways Richard Pearson said that buses travelling at the current 40 mph limit were creating a ‘rolling road block situation’.
This encouraged motorists to carry out overtaking manoeuvres, potentially posing a risk to oncoming traffic – and it also encouraged bus drivers to creep up above 40mph, thereby committing an offence.
He said: ‘The basis of the proposal is to improve road safety.
‘Presently, we have buses travelling at a slower speed than general traffic in several locations and much slower than the speed limit in force.
‘This creates a situation where buses are frequently overtaken by other vehicles and the department believes this presents a risk to both bus passengers and other road users.
‘Both the DOI and DCCL recognise that increasing bus speeds creates a risk, but on balance believe this proposal should decrease overall risk by reducing the number of overtaking manoeuvres, and therefore improving road safety.
‘Whilst the primary benefit of these proposals is road safety, an indirect benefit would be reduced bus journey times and congestion.’
At the end of the trial period, highway bosses will review all feedback received and either leave the amendment in place or revert back to the current 40mph speed limit
Mr Pearson said modern buses were perfectly capable of travelling at higher speeds and it could lead to cost savings.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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