NewsA rule that hardly anyone knew

A rule that hardly anyone knew

Many countries are amazed at the fact that there is now a general tempo of 30 in urban areas. On the other hand, this restriction has been in place in Madrid for three years

There are revolutions that are not. For example this: Since Tuesday you can only drive speed 30 in Spanish towns instead of the previous 50. That sounds like a drastic measure. The newspapers and commentators are full of praise: more safety, fewer accidents, and hopefully less noise and fewer emissions (depending on how well people know their own car). Of course there is always one or the other brother-in-law who grumbles: “They don’t want us to drive a car anymore!” But most of those who say something think: Spain is on the right track. And that for a long time – which in turn many do not know.

In many cases “Oh!” And “How?”

It occurred to a reporter from the Spanish state news agency Efe on Tuesday to take to the streets in Madrid and ask people what they thought of the new Spanish Tempo 30. The reporter heard a lot of jokes, most of them had missed this news under all the Covid-19 news. But they were even more surprised when the reporter revealed that in Madrid – that is, here, where reporters and respondents were standing – the general speed limit had already been reduced to 30 kilometers per hour in October 2018. “I think it’s good, but I hadn’t noticed it yet,” said a driver waiting at the red light.

Such ignorance sounds incredible, but it can be believed. What has been true for almost three years in Madrid and since Tuesday in all of Spain is the following: basically 30 km / h, but 50 km / h on all roads with two or more lanes in each direction. The latter make up around a third of the urban road network. You can continue to whiz.

And on all the smaller roads you can hardly drive faster than 30 anyway. Not before and even less today. There is too much going on on them: cars parked or unparked to the left and right, taxis or delivery vans stopping, all with a right of way signal for a long time. Tempo 30 is already a strong performance. At least in Madrid. That’s why nobody noticed the new rules, even if they have been in place for three years.

From now on, the road traffic authority is asking drivers to do what they have been doing for a long time. With which the authority resembles the king in the “Little Prince”, who can even order sunsets – at the appropriate time. “I have the right to demand obedience because my orders are reasonable,” says the king. And so it says the Spanish road traffic authority.

Spain is one of the most roadworthy countries in Europe, which was completely different 15 years ago when the then Interior Minister Rubalcaba introduced the driving license on a trial basis. In 2006 there were more than 4,000 road deaths, in 2019 there were still 1,755, i.e. less than half, and last year – because of Covid-19 – probably even fewer. This is the most important rule, in Spain as everywhere: anyone who drives a car has to be dealt with tough every now and then, with fines and speed cameras and the threat of driving license revocation. Then it works, so to speak.

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