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Reduce the number of speed zones

Speed limits 30km/h city honoured

It has been recognised that there are too many speed zones in Australia and that the frequency of zone changes is too high.

This is among the findings of an Austroads research report. It’s something every motorist is already well aware of, yet it took 116 pages of the “Model National Guidelines for Setting Speed Limits at High-Rick Locations” report and no doubt many expensive hours of public service research to come up with the same result.

Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman Guy Stanford says the AMC made a submission to Austroads  which, among other things, suggested a reduction in the number and frequency of speed zones.

“There is one section of the northern NSW coast highway where the highway patrol hangs around just where there are many speed zones,” he says. “What they end up with is self-serving statistics about speeding.”

We all know of similar places where the speed limit varies too frequently. We also know how the police like to patrol such locations where motorists are easily confused.

Too many speed zones is one of the frequent complaints of motorists in the annual RACQ report on what peeves motorists. It is especially concerning for motorcycle riders who don’t have a speedo in front of their faces for constant reference or who could end up with aggro drivers sitting close on their tail.

Guy warns that the Austroads report is “only a discussion paper at the moment”, but it is comforting to know that at least this issue is now on the table.

Speed zonesAmong other conclusions, the report says: “The model guidelines also proposed to reduce the frequency of changes in speed limits experienced by drivers. This can be achieved through a proposed reduction in the available speed limit choices and extension of the minimum speed zone lengths. Practitioner judgement would still need to be applied to make sure that speed limits are broadly in line with the road character along the route.”

In other words, the number of speed zones that jurisdictions can apply would be reduced as is the case in Europe. It also proposes a minimum distance of a speed zone. Fewer speed zones means fewer speed signs which means a reduction in dangerous roadside furniture that causes injury and death to riders.

While it would be nice to think this will eventually happen, there are many more scary things in the report that many motorcycle riders would not want. To give a brief summary, the report writers believe that slower speeds would reduce injury and death risk. There is nothing about increasing speeds to reduce fatigue!

  • Do you know of a location with too many speed signs?
  1. I know Centenary Highway has multiple speed changes! It ranges from 100 to 80 in a random order in the short stretch from Jindalee to Toowong – more if you include the speed reductions for road works. You spend more time looking at your speedo instead of watching where your going? I think they should stop calling it a highway!

    Its fenced the full length, has a huge concrete center divider (so no chance of a head-on with oncoming traffic) and has lights the full length. Why not just make the whole length 100 and problem solved – except of course when your doing 10kph during peak hour traffic!

  2. Agree with the reduction and frequency of changes.
    Also would like to know about speed limit sign standards. For example the pic above where it shows a sign “Speed Limit 25”. Doesn’t look lime a standardsign to me. Is it legal? Is it legit?.

  3. On highways like Highway 3 out My way where I resdie, there are fluctuating speed zones due to the parks that vary from trailer parks, to local convience stores, to other shops along the bay way, and golf courses, lakes so these speed zones MUST BE SET to reflect safer speeds with all involved, and the gateway to Bremerton which is gateway thru to the Olympics too. The speed variations from town out are 25 to 35, then 50, down to 45 again then after the old golf course and resident fifth wheel park it’s past the bay to 50 again then a mile later back down to 45, then up hill a mile or shorter 60 etc… It is understandable and not much FREEBIE get left here, however a fatal wreck did occur a while back, and the mental notes remain God bless and learned experience, Peace be with The societated situations solemn Enjoy Your Experiences!

  4. It will never happen, and thise who have been brainwashed to velieve the speed kills mantra would think it hideously stupid, but I’d be interested to see what would happen if they scrapped speed limits all together and allowed drivers to self regulate depending on the conditions they found themselves in.

    The police could still charge you for really inappropriate speed using other laws but this approach would free up driver and rider attention to fully focus on the road and their surroundings rather than simply needle watching taking up part of each road users concentration levels.
    I personally think that if this was tried, there would only be one downside. That would be a definite drop in revenue raised. The road toll wouldn’t be effected one way or another, but it would stop police setting up speed traps on roads marked 80 that were designed to travelled on at 100. You only have to look at a road to realise when we are all being conned. The road mentioned by Red Duck is a prime example. If you dropped speed limits on the Centennary Hwy, you’d still only be able to do slow speeds during peek hour, but at 11 at night with no traffic volumes you could safely do 110-130.
    The only downside would be the current driver attitudes and complacency toward road sharing and lane discipline in QLD. Has anyone heard of keeping left unless overtaking?

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