Nicholas Farrell Nicholas Farrell

Bologna is rebelling against the 30 kph speed limit

(Photo: iStock)

Ravenna

You’re not supposed to mock the afflicted, I know, but I laughed when I read the news that the left-wing citadel of Bologna has introduced a 30 kph (19 mph) speed limit. Forcing the Italians – a nation of famously crazy drivers who make fabulous sports cars – to drive no faster than cyclists is to deprive them of an essential element of what it means to be Italian.

Poor Italians. Is nothing sacred? Not even speed?

Probably, thank God, not even globalisation can change the Italian psyche

I’ve lived for so many years cheek by jowl with the Italians and their ins and outs that I must confess I find anything that pulls their tails funny.

But of course it is far from funny that Bologna, traditional power base of the Italian left, last week became the first large Italian city to impose a 30 kph speed limit on nearly all its roads.

The stated justification is to reduce road deaths. But the unstated aim is to strike yet another blow at the internal combustion engine by those who also think that to save the planet you need a falling GDP and falling birthrate. Forcing traffic to a virtual stand-still is a perfect metaphor for their idea of progress.

There are already similar speed limits imposed by like-minded lefties in many European cities. Since May 2021, Spain has had restrictions on nearly all urban roads, as has Wales since September. There it could cost the Welsh economy up to £9 billion in lost business over the next 30 years due to longer journey times, according to the Welsh Labour government’s own analysis. To put that in perspective, the annual education budget in Wales is £3 billion. 

A record 468,389 people in Wales have now signed a petition that’s open until March calling for the abolition of ‘the disastrous 20 mph law’ which is more than the 443,000

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