The Via Cintura - reduced speed, but tailbacks still inevitable. | MDB

Since the speed limit on the Via Cintura in Palma was cut from 120 km/h to 80, the accident rate has fallen by 28%. Figures from the traffic directorate indicate that between February 1 (which was when the new speed limit came into effect) and July 31, there were eighteen accidents "with victims". These compare with 25 over the same six-month period of 2020 - for much of those six months there was reduced traffic. The comparisons with 2018 and 2019 reveal a more significant decrease, as there were respectively 67 and 65 accidents of this type.

The reduction in the speed limit was controversial, and it continues to be. Iván Sevillano, the councillor with responsibility for roads at the Council of Mallorca, says that there are times when "brave decisions" need to be made. Were opposition parties to win the next election ("which I hope won't happen"), he is "convinced" that they wouldn't eliminate the speed reduction. The Partido Popular were particularly vocal in their opposition.

The fact that there could have been 25 accidents involving injuries over the period when there was confinement and decreased activity lends further support to the Council's belief that a speed reduction was the right thing to do. While there still are accidents, Sevillano points to another apparent benefit from the reduction - ambulances are able to get to emergencies more quickly.

As well as cutting accidents, objectives are to lower pollution and noise. Five stations for monitoring emissions on the Via Cintura have yet to come into operation, but studies of noise indicate a general reduction of between five and seven decibels to below the 65 decibel recommendation of the World Health Organization.

The one area where there has been an increase is fines. Over the February to July period of 2019 there were sixteen fines for speeding. This year there were 139.