Rossland Slows Down

Map Showing Rossland BCThe City of Rossland has done something rare in our motor vehicle centric world where many drivers think that faster is better. Effective on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 the speed on municipal streets has been lowered to 30 km/h. Hmm you say, that's the same speed as a school zone. Well, not in Rossland, the speed there has been lowered too. It's 15 km/h in pick up areas and 20 km/h elsewhere. Interesting!

Reducing speeds on residential streets from 50 km/h to 30 km/h results in a significant reduction in injury and fatality when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian.

Reducing speeds on residential streets results in a more livable neighbourhood. Everyone will be more likely to play, walk or bike because they feel less threatened by drivers.

Do you have 30 seconds to spare? The city's newsletter contrasts travel times on one of the streets before and after the change. It will cost drivers half a minute.

It will be interesting to revisit this decision in a years time to see if the citizens of Rossland keep this as their residential speed and to ask ICBC about it's effect on collision rates. If it turns out to be successful perhaps this is the example you can use to help convince your municipality to follow suit.

Reference Links:




Hold your horses! The new policy to reduce speed limits is now in effect! Please pay attention and create a habit of mellow driving. Council had another good discussion on the need to slow traffic on our narrow streets. We will look at various forms of traffic calming and more ideas will be implemented as our budget allows. With the enthusiastic support of the RCMP & ICBC, our new policy reduces the speed limit from 40km to 30km on most of our city streets. Near schools, the limit will be 20km, and 15km at school drop off locations. Other narrow, streets will also be reduced to 20km. These include a section of McLeod, around Nickleplate Park and a short stretch of Thompson. The safety of our kids, pedestrians and pets is paramount. The difference between going 40km and 30km on the length of Thompson, for example, is 30 seconds. Think about it. Slow down, relax. The RCMP will help drivers focus on changing their behavior.

Now the City of Rossland PD have a way to get simple tickets. Do you know how hard it is going to be for motorists to slow down and keep it under that speed. They'll have to put 2x4's under their pedals when they go through a school zone! 

That's just crazy, somebody going 40km/hr will get a speeding ticket now and if they are doing 55 km/hr they will get an excessive speeding ticket, and possible stunting charges??? 

Well one more reason I will never visit or live in that town!!!

Excessive speeding in a 30 km/h zone starts at 71 km/h, not 55.

 "stunt" means circumstances in which, taking into account the condition of the highway, traffic, visibility and weather, the driver or operator of a motor vehicle is driving or operating the motor vehicle without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that is likely to cause harm to an individual or likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the highway by doing any of the following:

(a) causing any or all of the motor vehicle's tires to lift from the road surface;

(b) causing the motor vehicle to lose traction while turning the motor vehicle;

(c) driving the motor vehicle in a manner to cause the motor vehicle to spin;

(d) driving the motor vehicle in a lane intended for oncoming traffic for longer than necessary to pass another vehicle;

(e) slowing or stopping the motor vehicle in a manner that prevents other motor vehicles from passing or in a manner that blocks or impedes other motor vehicles;

(f) without justification, driving as close as possible to another motor vehicle, a pedestrian, or a fixed object.

Speed does not enter into the definition of stunt except in (e).

This war on cars is getting pretty goofy.

Limits were reduced on some roads in Victoria, primarily downtown roads and a couple of arterial roads, one of which is 4 lanes. 

Statistics provided by the city of Victoria show speeds on most roads were already in line with what would be expected from 40kph limits, yet the city went ahead and ordered tens of thousands worth of signs to get motorists to do what they're already doing.

The usual claims of "urban livability" and "quality of life" were made.  If cars drove slower, more people would feel safer walking and letting their dogs and children run around in the road.  But my guess is that if you asked 100 people what would improve their quality of life, speed limits would be quite far down the list.  Health, relationships, work - all things that have a far greater impact than speed limits.   

Slower means quieter, right?  Most noise produced by cars is when accelerating from a stop, not cruising at 40kph.  The lowered limits has done nothing to make heavy duty vehicles less irritating at 10pm. 

Until we ban smoking on sidewalks, aggressive panhandling, open drug dealing and use and the disposal of needles and condoms in doorways and alleyways, speed limits will have virtually zero impact on urban livability. 

My prediction for Rossland:  It'll be the residents who begged for this change who will be the ones getting the tickets.  After all, it's always "the other guy" who is the problem. 

I see some people complaining that lower speed limits are a bad idea.  Where are the facts to support their contention?  If one takes the time to read through the documentation cited in the links at the end of the article, one would discover scientific evidence to support and even encourage the lowering of speed limits.  All too often the initial reaction to an idea like this, is "How is this going to make my life more difficult?" or "I have a right to go at a speed of my choosing in order to get there on time."

Missing from the conversation is what about other people's right to be able to use the streets safely without undue risk?  What about other people's right to live in a peaceful residential neighbourhood?  The narrator in the 20 is Plenty film summed it up nicely -- "Speed is greed."

The biggest objection to lower speed limits is usually that 30 k/hr will cause traffic gridlock.  The studies linked in the article show that the opposite is true.  In urban settings lower speed limits actually encourage a smoother, more efficient traffic flow.  Counterintuitive, but true. 

Now the challenge is, will you accept scientificly proven facts, or will you stick with outmoded perceptions created by decades of advertising that speed is good?

Oh, Phrontistes.  I believe you brought this up on another police forum and were kindly laughed out of there.
You maintain that lowering the limits increases neighbourhood livability, but there's little evidence to support that speeds on residential roads are a concern.  Looking at Victoria, actual, measured speeds are in line with what your group has been calling for, but this fact continues to fall on deaf ears.  You continue to insist municipal councils spend untold tens of thousands on consultations, debates and ultimately signage to regulate drivers into doing what they're already doing.  
An appropriate speed limit is one which does not require a driver to regularly look down at their speedometer - it should be a natural speed given the conditions present.  The more I have to look away from the road to verify that I'm travelling at a legal speed, the greater the opportunity I have to hit someone.  
Despite the lack of 40k signs, my neighbourhood is quite peaceful.  Most of the vehicle noise comes from commercial vehicles accelerating from a stop, not from them driving at 50kph.  

The reduction of Ross ands' speed limit from 40 to 30 kph is perplexing.  40 kph was already very low.  30 kph is easily attainable on a bicycle.  Are Rossland RCMP now going to be tasked with ticketing cyclists as well as motorists?  They're going to be busy enforcing this piece of social engineering.  

I've driven through the lovely town of Rossland, and never felt the previous speed limit was unsafe.  The new lower limit is nothing but a driving distraction; my eyes need to be focused on the road ahead, not on my speedometer trying to adhere to their civic councils' poorly conceived concept of a safe driving speed.  Adhering to unrealistically low speeds is really just another form of distracted driving, and not productive.



I am glad to hear you live in a peaceful neighbourhood.  Does that mean that those who do not have that luxury should be forced to put up with the noise, pollution, and lack of safety in order to accomodate those who are unwilling to share the road with other users?

Your quick reply indicates that you didn't bother to actually read the documentation Tim provided.  Perhaps when you find the time to do so, we could continue the debate based on the facts, rather than knee jerk reactions.

It seems odd that many countries, and scores of municipalities around the world have adopted 30 k/hr if it was such a stupid idea.  The facts are that lowered speed limits have far too many benefits to list here.  If you research the subject and get the facts perhaps you will see the advantages.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. -- G.B. Shaw


I regularly walk my neighbourhood as well as those belonging to friends and family.

My neighbourhood consists of mixed 50kph and 40kph zones.  As a pedestrian, I percieve no difference in safety when crossing from one speed zone to another.  The primary driver of traffic volume, speed and congestion is the type of the road, *not* the speed limit.  In fact we've recently had two cars drive into buildings - both in, or just entering 40kph zones. 

As a pedestrian on my regular walks I'm far more bothered by the wafting cigarette and marijuana smoke I have to contend with than how fast a car is passing me.  Or the piles of garbage and unwanted furniture I have to dodge.  Or the drug paraphernalia I have to not step on. 

A friend lives in one of the very neighbourhoods identified by your group as needing protection from the terrible motorists - yet she regularly finds in her yard are piles of human excrement that the homeless/drug addicts leave behind.  How's that for livability and quality of life?  Yet some cars doing 5kph more than you believe is safe is somehow a priority?  Get a grip.

Reduce all vehicular speed limits to zero and prohibit pedestrians and bicycles from all streets.

IF IT SAVES ONE LIFE! ......  See the logic? How far do we go down this risk reduction path - until we can no longer do ANYTHING?

Now, go to The Isle of Man and see how they do it. Cops don't have guns and most don't even carry batons. There are NO speed limits outside of city/village limits. Speed limits within the cities/villages are loosely enforced in the sense that if it is a bright sunny day with no kids/traffic you will not get a ticket at 40 mph (30 mph limit), but if it is a dark and rainy night with poor visibilty you might get a ticket even if you are UNDER the speed limit. It is called COMMON SENSE and it works very, very well. Keep in mind that this is small island that hosts the annual Isle of Man TT motorcycle races (108th year) when +50,000 vistors invade the island - and it all works.

Compare IoM accident/crime rates with BC's - you will find them most interesting.

Finally, please do not give me the "It won't work here" argument, that is simply nonsense.

Jerry Cutler


I wonder if there are Bell Curve types of graphs of Safety vs Speed for highways and cities. Or Maybe a double bell with a regular bell followed by an inverted one.

I know, for myself, the faster I am driving, the more I stay totally focused on the task. Eyes constantly scanning the verges, sidewalks, cross streets, etc., for hazards. The slower I drive,  the harder it is to stay keep my eyes ahead, and not daydream or sightsee.

I wonder if in fact there is any science to Rossland's decision, or did someone just make a decision on their "opinion" rather than "fact".

In a sleepy little town of 3500, with no traffic lights, it won't matter much to the "bigger picture", unless other communities climb on board the band wagon.

I read somewhere on a Highway Engineering report, that the majority of people drive to the speedthat they believe is safe, and that most accidents occur when there is a wide differential in speeds between the vehicles on the road : Those that follow their instincts, and those who follow the posted speedregardless.

Just curious.

"I wonder if in fact there is any science to Rossland's decision, or did someone just make a decision on their "opinion" rather than "fact"."

I don't know what Rossland based their decision on, but the science to support it does exist, in multiple studies done in the last 25 years.  A couple of those studies were listed by Tim at the bottom of his article.  Many more studies are listed in the bibliographies of the two studies cited.

You asked about graphs:  There are some in the papers mentioned above.  There is also a formula developed by some Norwegian traffic engineers that allows one to calculate the difference in accident rate compared to a difference in speed.  Some time ago Tim posted a chart with those numbers on this site, but I am not sure where to find it.  For instance, if a pedestrian is hit at 50 k/hr there is an 80% chance it will be fatal.  When the speed is 30 k/hr the chance of fatality drops to 5%.  Do a search on "The Power Model of the relationship between speed and road safety".

Reducing the speed to 30 k/hr adds less than a minute to the average urban journey.  This has more to do with other factors than it does with the change in speed.  What is so hard to believe is that a lot of people would rather sacrifice a life than sacrifice a minute.  The narrator in the 20 is Plenty video summed it up as "Speed is Greed."

On your last point, yes, there was a study done in the 60's by the US Department of Transportation.  That is where the oft quoted 85 percentile figure comes from.  And yes, on a divided multilane highway big speed differentials do add significantly to the risk.  But that study is often misapplied, by municipal engineers in particular, to inappropriate circumstances.  Do a search for "The 85th Percentile Folly" to get a different view on that subject.

Speed is greed?  Tell that to the cyclists who blast through occupied crosswalks at full speed while yelling to pedestrians to "get back"  Tell that to pedestrians who run across against "don't walk" signs, holding up traffic.

EVERYONE likes to get places quickly and efficiently.  "Speed is greed" and "Twenty is plenty" are just a couple of many conveniently rhyming anti-car sentiments often spewed by those who want everyone around them to fall victim to the heavy hand of government. 

During discussions on Victoria's speed limits, a Victoria councillor commented on speed in the Rockland neighbourhood.  Residents whined that cars were driving too quickly through "their"roads and asked for more speed enforcement.  After the enforcement campaign, residents claimed they were being targeted in "their" own neighbourhood.  It was the people who lived there who complained about their own speeding and paid the price for it when the law came knocking.

Thanks to groups like the one Phrontistes runs, community residents are becoming ever more fearful of being stopped by the police in the course of carrying out their safe and reasonable activities.  Urban livability and quality of life mean nothing if you have to constantly check to ensure you're in compliance with the law. 


I don't run any group.

“Facts are stubborn things. Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams

"Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

You see, I have been reading studies and have been following this debate for quite some time now; and really it seems that it always comes down to the fabled chart of effects on pedestrians in a collision at 30km/h vs 50km/h.

The problem with that chart is - it really doesn't at all tie-in to "lower speed = less accidents". What it actually stands for is "lower speed = less severe injuries".

So when this "evidence" is brought up in a discussion of "lower the speed-limits to decrease the amount of accidents" - I start gaging a little.

So lets set the limits aside for engineers but make all the cars spongy and soft! I don't think that there would be any argument against getting hit by a sponge rather than a metal object at high speed - so why are all the cars so hard and deadly to humans? Lets make cars out of soft and cushy sponges!

A chart of my theory:

Object drop test from 50ft and hitting a human:

Sponge: 0% chance of injury to human

Anvil: 100% chance of death in a direct hit scenario (200% critical strike bonus for hitting with the sharp end)


I think the problem is that "speed" has been used in place of "poor driving" for so long now, that the so-called community so-called advocates ask for reduced limits thinking that will cure bad driving.

It's like when they live on a 30k road and put up "slow down, kids at play" signs up... well no, they're already driving slowly, they're just not driving carefully.

Don't confuse one for the other. There's no need to slow everyone down - just slow down when important. I have no problem slowing down to 30 or 40kph in a 50k zone when there's a group of kids around, but to drive at that speed constantly is a bit silly.

Yes we have speeders in Rossland as you do everwhere, slowing the speed limits are not going to slow these speeders down because in Rossland we don't have a police force, they occasionally drive up from Trail.

Why wasn't the problem with drivers totally ingnoring stop signs brought up, and believe me in Rossland this is a problem. The four way stop sign at Davis and Thompson Ave might as well be removed  as I don't know the number of times after I had stopped then went to proceed some dummie drives right on thru forcing me to stop again.

The main street which is Columbia Ave (Highway 3B) a double solid yellow line and drivers u-turn in front of you to park across the street, or drivers back out, cross the centre line to go in the other direction. There is three intersections in Rossland under the old by-laws which make it legal to do a u-turn and even some RCMP are not aware of this as I know people who have been ticketed for using these intersections for a legal u-turn. These are Spokane St. & Columbia Ave,(Hwy 3B), Queen St, & Columbia Ave. (Hwy 3B) Columbia Ave. and Monte Christo St. up by the Court House.

Parking on Columbia Ave is also a real problem because Rossland parking by-laws are not enforced to the degree they should be and drivers know this so they overpark the time limits, park in front of curbs with yellow paint, park on hatch marked roadways, in bus stops etc. Lets not forget the number of drivers who ignore the Handicap parking stalls. Yes many drivers park backed in to a parking spot facing the direction that when they exit this parking spot they have to cross that double solid line.

What about the bikers of whom we have many that ignore the traffic laws such as Stop signs, crosswalks etc.

It just amazes me when something that is scientifically proven safer can be argued against with such passion from "speeders", like baxter for instance that even acknowledges many drivers are "poor drivers" but in the same breath supports higher speeds,,,, How can they not see the reality? Speed is Greed is correct,,, and Greed Blinds all common sense.

One thing I'll note is that in many areas of the Lower Mainland (particularly within Vancouver City) many residential neighbourhoods have had a 30 km/h limit imposed on them over the last few years - and it seems to work quite reasonably. It also indicates more intelligent planning than arbitrarily imposing this 40% reduction from the 'normal' maximum.


It will be interesting to revisit this decision in a years time to see if the citizens of Rossland keep this as their residential speed and to ask ICBC about it's effect on collision rates.

It's nigh on four years, and surely by now there must be statistical evidence as to whether collision rates have been affected - or not - by the Rossland rules.

I sent an e-mail to the CAO for Rossland, Bryan Teasdale. He responded promply and said that the municipality does not keep statistics on this. He suggested that if I needed to know, I should look at the ICBC crash maps for Rossland.

I contacted ICBC and was told that it would take at least 8 months to do a data analysis to answer the question. The contact person for Rossland's area refused to speculate.

The Trail RCMP Detachment surprised me. Within a day of my query I received the following response:

This is for MVIs, I tried to weed out the Hit and Runs (usually parking accidents) and I did not include Columbia Avenue or Highway 3B, where the speed limit is still 50 kph:

2019: 1

2018: 4

2017: 9

2016: 3

2015 after the speed limit change: 7

2015 before the speed limit change: 4

2014: 5

2013: 10

2012: 9

It appears that the speed limit change has affected how many MVIs are reported.   28 reported MVIs while the speed limit is 50kph zone in a 3.5 year time span.  And 24 reported MVI's while the speed limit has been 30kph, in a 4.5 year time span.