Reduction in Via Cintura accidents. | Marcelo Sastre

So far this year, there has been a 39% reduction in the number of accidents on Palma's Via Cintura compared with 2020. This is despite there having been months last year when there was considerably less traffic than usual, the Council of Mallorca's Ivan Sevillano attributing the reduction to the lowering of the speed limit - from 120 kilometres per hour to 80 in February this year.

Sevillano, the councillor for mobility, says that if a comparison is made with 2019, when traffic was normal, the decrease in the accident rate is more in the order of 70%. In 2018, there were 173 accidents and in 2017, 226. These contrast with 52 over the first eleven months of 2021, 33 fewer than in 2020.

The lower speed limit, he explains, has had a significant impact on noise pollution. Prior to the introduction of the 80 km/h limit, there was a decibel rating of 77. It is now down to 62 and so below the 65 recommended by the World Health Organization.

However, the encouraging figures for accidents cannot disguise the fact that there there have been four fatalities on the Via Cintura this year, the first since 2017. Two of these were the result of speeding; the other two were pedestrians who were crossing the road.