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Lower speeds at regional intersections

Lower speed limits on rural intersections regional

A plan to temporarily lower speed limits on regional highway intersections when approaching side-road traffic is detected may not work for motorcycles.

The technology has been initially installed at the intersection of Glenelg Highway and Dunkeld-Cavendish Road and Penshurst-Dunkeld Road, near Dunkeld, Victoria, and will be rolled out across the state.

Watch this video to see how it works.

The problem for riders is that it uses the same inductor loop technology deployed at traffic lights that often fails to detect small motorcycles.

Click here to read how to improve your chances of detection by these loops.

Lower regional speeds

The new technology follows a recent call to reduce speed limits on unsealed country roads.

VicRoads says this new side-road-activated speed technology will trigger an electronic speed sign to lower the speed from 100km/h to 70km/h on the Glenelg Highway.

“There are no plans to install speed cameras through the side-road-activated reduced speed zones,” VicRoads told us.

However, we expect there may be extra policing at these intersections to enforce compliance.

The electronic speed limit sign will also be activated by vehicles waiting to turn right from Glenelg Highway on to either Dunkeld-Cavendish Road or Penshurst-Dunkeld Road.

Lower speed limits on rural intersections
Glenelg Highway image shows Dunkeld-Cavendish Road on the left and Penshurst-Dunkeld Road on the right (Google Maps).

“The reduced speed limit will stay activated until there are no more vehicles on the side roads waiting to enter or cross the main road,” VicRoads says.

VicRoads is also installing short lengths of “flexible steel guard fence” in front of the new electronic signs to reduce the risk of motorists crashing into them.

Local rider Anthony Morrison says he is concerned about the new technology.

“My concern naturally as a rider coming along a 100km/h zone and suddenly presented with a 70 speed sign with a car behind me is scary just like the 40 with flashing lights,” he says.

Click here for more on the 40km/h emergency vehicle rule.

History of crashes

VicRoads says 70% of fatal intersection crashes in regional Victoria occur on high-speed roads.

“Intersections in regional areas have a greater risk due to higher travel speeds, particularly where small side roads meet main roads,” VicRoads says.

“This intersection near Dunkeld has seen two crashes in the past five years, with one resulting in serious injuries.”

VicRoads claims the benefits of side-road-activated speeds are:

  • Instructing drivers on the main road to slow down if there are other vehicles approaching from side roads;
  • giving drivers on the main road more time to react if side traffic fails to give way;
  • giving drivers on side roads more time to assess gaps in traffic and enter the main road safely;
  • letting drivers know they’re approaching an intersection, which will prepare them for any merging traffic; and 
  • significantly reducing the severity of crashes due to the reduced speed limit when traffic is merging from side roads.

“A similar program in New Zealand has reduced serious and fatal crashes at intersections by 89% since 2012,” VicRoads says.

  1. Hi Mark, Good article. I know of only one crash in the last 5 years and that was a European tourist (it just means I did not hear of the other one). The tourist probably looked the wrong way and from my experience riding around Europe this is easy to do. The big difference is that when I do it in Europe the drivers are drivers and anticipate you just may ride out in front of them, whereas here we have a god given right to just drive through anyone who breaks the law by not giving way. This highway slowing down will not change anything until the Australian driver learns to drive. I can think of many other intersections that have a large number of crashes and injuries in the local area that need fixing, like the Genelg Hwy and George St in Hamilton, it is just a death trap unlike the one in the article.
    Anthony Morrison

  2. Whilst I cannot find anything the article says wrong, all it does is cater to the bad driver like everything else that is being done , when are they going to wake up and realise the only way to seriously reduce the carnage on the roads is

    1. Raise the driver standard to a higher level , much better instruction and much higher testing levels are needed , at the moment the driver standard is so low as to barely be able to call it a standard .
    2. A change in driver attitude is needed , driving is a privilege, not a right and every one out there on the road needs to give everyone else some consideration and respect . At the moment out there it seam as if everyone acts as it’s there right to do as they please and f*%k everyone else , this attitude has got to be changed.
    These two things would change the face of driving , not the constant slowing down of everyone every time there is a chance that some poor driver is going to do something wrong .

  3. There is at least 1 similar intersection in SA, the corner of Cudlee Creek Road and Fox Creek Road.

    I don’t have a problem with it, it is an intersection I was always wary of anyway, not too many straight roads in the area.

  4. The cynical of us will suspect that this is another thinly disguised attempt at revenue grabbing instead of actually doing something that works.
    The biggest problem with intersections like this is poor design and bad drivers.
    Most often the problem is a lack of merge area and massive signs blocking the view of on coming traffic. The other problem is drivers who bought their license off a cereal box and plug their brains into anything but paying due care and attention.

  5. An addition to intersection accidents is, we were always taught to ‘look right, look left, then right again” before proceeding, but…..
    I see close to 100% of drivers about to turn or turning across traffic, look in the direction of the side of the road they with to move onto for approaching vehicles, paying very little attention to what they’re going to cross in front off.
    Secondly, I’ve also noticed many drivers using a very cursory glance, almost a pretend look rather than actually carefully looking before moving off at give-way or stop signs.

  6. There are similar speed reductions – though fixed signs not dynamic – for a number of intersections on the M420/B420 in Victoria … rather than drop suddenly from 100 to 70, they do it in a graduated way – from 100 to 90 to 80 (or 70) over a longer distance. It actually works pretty well.

    I suspect for these dynamic signs though, the distance you’d have to start the decrease would be too long for it to be timely as cars would already have passed the first marker before the side road triggers the notification.

    As long as the 100 to 70 notification is clear and there’s a buffer (so a bike can slow safely without being tailgated) it would actually be better than fixed reductions. Curious how self-driving cars will cope…

  7. Another band aid solution… rather than actually fixing the real problem(s)… How much is going too cost vs how many lives it actually saves?
    Just another attempt to be seen to be doing something, however pointless or stupid….

  8. And the road towards a dictatorship continues to be build.
    Frankly if one can not make such judgements , one should not have the privilege of holding a license!

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