Dickens said the study would also examine if the city should add more sidewalks or lighting in areas that don’t have them to prevent crashes. That could also mean installing automated speed enforcement devices such as speed cameras that track a car’s speed.
More than 40 U.S. cities have changed their speed limits as part of the international Vision Zero campaign, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries through safer street designs. Atlanta is not a Vision Zero city, but it plans to include the same principals as part of its transportation plan.
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition executive director Rebecca Serna said she’s advocated for reducing speed limits and thinks the study is a step in the right direction. She’s hoping speeds will be reduced.
"If we can slow down cars, we can save lives," Serna said pointing to a 2013 study by Health Resources in Action, a Boston-based organization focused on public health and medical research.
According to the study, a pedestrian’s risk of death lowers if the speed limit is decreased. A pedestrian has a 6% chance of death if the speed limit is 20 mph as opposed to 45 mph, which increases the risk of death by 65%. Serna admitted until recently she didn’t think speed limits mattered until she saw the statistics.
“We’re improving people’s odds of surviving if they are in a crash,” she said.
Dickens doesn’t anticipate the study will firmly say the city must decrease its speed limit.
“It’s an overall complex solution we’re looking for, but it’s the start of the conversation,” Dickens said of the study.
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Temperatures are near 100 while dressed head to toe.