The 30 km/h limit has been operational in Palma for several months. | Pilar Pellicer

According to Palma town hall, the 30 kilometre per hour speed limit in the city has led to a 58% reduction in serious accidents and an overall decrease in accidents of 37%.

This speed limit now applies to all urban roads in Spain. The 50 km/h limit will only remain in force for roads with more than one lane in both directions. The others will be 30 or 20 where pavements are at road level.

A national regulation, it has operated in Palma since last October. Mayor José Hila points to a marked decrease in the accident rate between November and February compared with the same period in 2019 and 2020, albeit those were months which were not marked by the pandemic and the curfew.

Hila observes, however, that there was only a fifteen per cent fall in traffic volume. He doesn't believe that the pandemic was responsible for there having been 884 accidents as opposed to 1,404.

The director of the traffic directorate in the Balearics, Francisca Ramis, says that the speed limit change seeks to cut the accident rate by 40%. "It is about protecting pedestrians, cyclists and users of personal mobility vehicles, so that they can coexist safely with cars." For the Spanish government's delegate in the Balearics, Aina Calvo, "it is about combining security with sustainability". The traffic directorate estimates that there will be an 80% reduction in fatalities.

In Palma, the change will affect some streets with a 30 km/h limit, which will go down to 20 because the pavement is at the same level as the road. The 30 limit already applied to 90% of the city's roads. Hila explains that 30 km/h lanes will continue to be introduced on roads with a limit of 40 or 50. These will allow space for bikes and scooters, so that they don't have to go onto the main part of the road.

The Council of Mallorca, meanwhile, has installed some 230 signs to take account of the new regulations for roads for which it is responsible. In municipalities where there are no roads which come under the Council's responsibility, the 30 km/h speed limit has been adopted in recent months.