New York City’s Central Park has a 25 MPH speed limit. Except it’s 15 MPH for bicycles. Except not anymore.
1991: New York City Central Park Commissioner establishes 15 MPH bicycle speed limit in Central Park based on “study” that involved people in cars driving alongside bicycles. I don’t know the specifics but it didn’t seem all that rigorous.
1993: Cyclists challenge discriminatory speed limit in court. Judge upholds the speed limit because of “police statistics that catalog the number of bicycle accidents.”
Last weekend: Police with radar guns ticket 10 cyclists for exceeding the 15 MPH speed limit. NYC Parks Department says, “15 MPH speed limit? Oh, we forgot about that and don’t care anymore” and removes the signs. Police revoke the tickets issued to nine of the cyclists.
Here in California, pedestrian and cyclist safety advocates sometimes grumble about this state’s 85th percentile requirement on speed limits and engineering requirements for any local government that would like to change it. This frustrates attempts to calm streets for a better pedestrian and cyclist experience on the road, but it also eliminates wacky arbitrary limits. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than a city parks department just making it up as they go along.