Well, while I was expecting this survey to garner some debate I wasn’t quite anticipating it to receive the response it did!
Over 1,100 people have completed the survey across a well distributed age range which, whilst I’m no statistician, actually makes the results a statistically significant representation of our population.
tl;dr Most of us are happy with a temporary limit but aren’t keen on making it permanent. Shocker, I know!
Let’s look at the numbers though and start with the biggy.
A huge 80% of respondents favoured returning to no national speed limit once the virus was under control on the Island. Indeed, 85% were opposed to maintaining a 40mph limit in particular. No surprise there really, the idea of a speed limit being introduced “by stealth” was never going to be popular.
However, while two-thirds (66%) were opposed to any form of limit, approximately a quarter of respondents (26%) did favour the introduction of a maximum speed of some degree.
Of those who would be open to a national speed limit, most respondents (33%) said they would be happy with a 60mph limit, closely followed by 50mph (29%). It’s clear that 40mph is generally seen to be too low, but there was favour for a higher limit.
While younger respondents were more inclined to oppose a speed limit of any form (72% and 76% of 16-24 and 25-34 year olds respectively) this only dropped to an average of 60% across the remaining age groups. So a fairly balanced representation across the ages, no pointing fingers at the unruly youth!
Fewer experienced drivers, ie those who have held a licence for 10+ years, were opposed to retaining a national speed limit than drivers with 1 to 10 years experience: 64% versus 73%.
63% of people agreed that the temporary limit has helped our Coronavirus response, with 48% of all respondents feeling they have been restricted by it. Furthermore, 75% of those who disagreed that the limit is helping our response felt restricted by it. This is probably understandable, the more impacted you are personally the harder it must be to support it.
Moving on to some of the free-text responses. Unsurprisingly, many responses cited the impact a speed limit may have on the Island’s tourism, TT visitors in particular, and therefore the knock-on effect to our economy. While some responses suggested having a speed limit and removing it for TT, others suggested only implementing a limit during TT.
Several respondents said they have felt safer and calmer driving during the temporary limit, with others suggesting that having no national speed limit, especially on our small roads, now seems irresponsible. A handful of responses seemed to suggest poor driving standards were a greater cause to road accidents than purely excess speed.
On both sides of the argument, there was a general desire for any future decision (should there even be one) on a national speed limit to be based on independent data-backed research. I’m certainly not going to argue with that.
So… not an entirely unexpected outcome, but hopefully it’s provided some level of quantifiable insight into the collective feeling on the Isle of Man about a national speed limit.
Thank you for your responses!
Some more extra numbers:
1,100+ – respondents, thank you!
150+ – Facebook comments, thank you?
365+ – free text responses
14 – mentions of the word “freedom”
6 – times f*ck was used in responses (none were in favour)
3 – mentions of the effect on our poor, poor diesel particle filters
2 – number of responses that made me literally lol
1 – the number of times I was called a “whopper”
The entire survey results (as at 22:00 10/05/20) can be downloaded as PDF here.