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Safety experts want lower speed limits 


Experts at the recent Australasian Road Safety Conference in Canberra have unanimously declared that lower speed limits are the best answer for reducing the road toll.

Delegate Judith Kuerschner says the “simplistic solution” of lowering speed limits is pertinent given the current NSW Government move to reduce speed limits on the Oxley Highway.


The road safety campaigner says that when the conference panel of “experts” from the opening plenary was asked “what is the one thing we could do tomorrow that would have an immediate impact on reducing the road toll?” the unanimous, “and unfortunate”, answer was to lower speed limits.

“This, not only raises revenue for the govt but limits insurance payouts (less speed = less damage WHEN you crash),” she says.

“The expectation from governments and ‘experts’ is that everyone will crash because people will, inevitably, make mistakes. Their aim, as a quick-fix, low-cost, high-revenue solution is to lower speed limits (without care for the increased risk of fatigue or distraction related crashes).

“A longer term, however, potentially more costly, solution is to invest in competency based driver/rider training and ongoing post licence training updates to equip people with the skills to avoid crashes, correct their mistakes when they do make them and minimise risk to themselves and others on the road.

“There are many nations who make this investment, Australia chooses not to be one of them because our governments don’t have the fiscal management skills of a three-year-old and need the money generated from fines to provide basic services (of which road maintenance is not particularly considered one).”

Judith began her road safety campaign after witnessing her husband being killed by a driver turning in front of him without indicating. She was also an Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party candidate at the last election.

Judith Küerschner experts
Judith Kuerschner

Despite her concern about the speed-focus of road safety exerts at the conference, she says the new Director of Road Safety Programs at Austroads, David Bobberman, was a breath of fresh air.

“He was openly encouraging delegates to put forward new ideas for Austroads to follow up on, not just re-hash the same old, same old, which is what the speed and enforcement argument is,” she says.

“The fact that over 100 people have died on the road above the projections for a 30% decrease by 2020 must surely speak to the fact that what we are currently doing to reduce the toll isn’t working (and reducing speeds appears to be the number 1 tactic from all jurisdictions).

“So hearing ‘experts’ spout that we should do more of the same to achieve a reduction in the toll is simply just madness (well, it certainly is if you take Einstein’s definition of insanity into account – doing the same thing and expecting different results).”

Judith was also disappointed with the lack of workshop and symposium sessions at the conference that related to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists.

“Those sessions that were available were of a high quality, although not always well attended by ‘non-motorcycling’ delegates,” she says.

However, Judith applauded the current ACT minister for Road Safety, Shane Rattenbury, who attended the conference.

She says the ACT recently introduced of 20 new vulnerable road user awareness questions in their learner driver package, and the compulsory passing of all five randomly chosen in each test.

Judith Küerschner experts
Judith Küerschner with her Can-Am Spyder

Judith says it is a step it the right direction for “increasing motorcycle awareness at the outset of the driver experience”.

She also points out that the ACT is trialling motorcycle lane filtering for motorcycle safety more so than congestion-beating reasons.

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  1. Lower speed limits are the stupidest, most moronic suggestion yet. All it would do is increase the times it takes for Australian motorists to get from one place to another and increase frustration and possible lawbreaking. The only reason any government would try bringing in lower limits would be to increase revenue raised in fines and if they were sick of being in government as they WOULD lose the next election.
    How about some of these committees make some positive suggestions like spending more money on roads and encouraging the use of railways for freight to remove trucks off major highways

  2. Clearly they are then, not experts. (Not even a once was, drip under pressure)
    FFS when will these so called experts drag themselves into the 21st century, and the reality of our roads.
    Speed does not kill, uneducated drivers and riders, totally f*#*#* roads, however is a different matter.
    I’m over these dicks, and the garbage they peddle. When is Australia going to stand up, and tell these clowns enough is enough.

  3. Lower speed limits work. We may not like that truth, but they work. This is proven out through statistical research, empirical studies. Einstein would agree with the government on this issue.

    1. Lower speed limits only slow down riders and drivers who actually care about them. I have been dealing with these reduced speed limits on Mt Nebo and Glorious for months and every time I am up there on the weekend masses of bikes and even the odd car comes blasting past me at well over the speed limit. It is a painful experience riding my ZX10 with 200hp over that mountain now. It was a chore when it was 80km most of the way but now its unbearable. If they took the time to make the roads better and actually fixed the total joke that is Q-Ride then the number of accidents up there would diminish greatly.

      We live in an era where cars and bikes are safer than they have ever been but the speed limits keep dropping. I got my first ever speeding fine on Mt Nebo a few months back and I was clocked doing 91 in the 70 zone out of a corner, I had only given it quarter throttle in second gear for a split second and BAM $400 fine. The only thing this will do is kill the motorcycling culture in this state. Small businesses in places such as Mt Glorious and Maleny will most likely be feeling the crunch already. Every time I ride my old favorite roads i see less and less bikes. I have been riding Mt Nebo and Glorious since my second ever road ride while on my L plates and the only accident I have ever had was when a 70 yr old in a 4wd drive cut me off in a suburban street while I was on my way to work doing 60km/h.

      If your answer to this is that I should get a smaller bike instead of the 200hp weapon then my answer will be that I have a CBR250RR and I can blow most of the new speed limits away in first gear on it. How about instead of always being led by fear we actually make a logical change to the roads and driver training? Take a stand against the revenue-raising for once.

      1. 100% agree ihatethisshit! I ride that same road (47 years of motorcycle riding), something like 30 years of the “Speed Kills” campaigns and not a shred of evidence that is works. Yes, the QRide course is a joke but in the same sentence we can also say that the current driver training for car drivers is just as woeful! As I have said many times before in posts incompetence and inattention are the biggest factors is accidents/crashes.

        As for the reference to “experts” in the article …… 😛

      2. I’d be interested to hear your ideas on how “fixing” Q Ride will reduce the number of crashes.

    2. Of course if the limit was reduced to zero, deaths would plummet.
      But seriously, nowhere in that story is there any input from foreign countries’ methods that really work. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel?
      And what about the Northern Territory, where deaths have been zero on the destricted zone?
      Invariably, the hare-brained ideas come from people who have lost somebody in a road crash. They have my sincere sympathy, but such an experience does not make them an expert.

      1. Unfortunately these so called experts, gather rather selectively from foreign countries the data that best suits their agenda. IE, the Victorian government when it first introduced the mandatory headlights on law, quoting a study from some Scandinavia country, that is in darkness day and night for some 3 months of the year. Instead of educating riders, particularly the new riders, to the environment in which they can become hidden in shadows, where a headlight on, could be beneficial, and when riding with the sun behind you with lights on, is not such a good thing.

        However this is Australia, not bloody England, Germany, Finland etc. (But we could learn something here on license testing, take Germany as an example, the complete opposite of the corn flake packet licencing system here).

        Comparing anything from Europe is counter productive, The distances between towns, the natural geography and topography, population density, is so totally different it becomes irrelevant.

        Here’s one for the hair brained experts, lets all go back to the 19th century, walk, horse, and buggy. That should fix everything just dandy. Might just stuff the economy, and the revenue raising capabilities. But sure as shit, it will fix the road toll. (hmm hope they don’t read this, they may take it on board)

  4. So Where is the MRA in all this ? or are they
    too busy flogging that stupid fluro vest idea?
    any comment by one of them would be interesting.
    they do after all claim to represent us

  5. I don’t understand what they are saying in the news media, the MDA are saying that motorcyclist are being injured because of the speed they where travelling << Did they crash doing the speed limit? or Did they crash going over the speed limit?

  6. Crashes are caused by lack of attention and negligence, nothing else.

    When a halfwit behind the wheel of a vehicle cant concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing, lowering the speed
    limit just takes the pressure off them so they can engage in even more distractions.

    Experts ….. Hah

  7. Australia is a huge and empty continent, so it makes absolute sense to reduce speed limits. Are these fools for real? So here’s the twisted logic of these so-called experts: let’s reduce speed limits and turn a three hour drive into a four hour drive, then run a TV campaign to make everyone aware of the fact that the one of biggest killers on Australian roads is driver fatigue. That’s like going out into your backyard, shooting your dog, and then asking how that could have possibly just happened. You couldn’t make this stuff up! If we pursue this logic to its ultimate conclusion then where does it all end? At what point do these fools realise that their meddling is just making everybody’s life miserable. Just look at Sydney where reduced speed limits and other traffic “calming” measures have made driving unnecessarily painful and frustrating. Surely it’s about finding a balance between speed, safety and convenience? Australia is not Europe. It has vastly different driving conditions and much greater distances. It takes a completely different approach, something these blinkered fools simply can’t come to terms with. I’d sack the lot and send them and their pointless theories packing!

  8. The way I see it is, the regulators are going to what they want no matter what some disgruntled bike riders we must adapt by continuing to ride to what ‘we’ thinking riders judge to be appropriate for the road conditions and spread your vision further afield scanning for an ambush up ahead.
    This can be a good thing for us by improving our look ahead skills and being more alert to what’s down the road.
    Most riders who have had a near death experience tend to be more aware and speed concious anyway.
    If we lower the bike crash statistics by everyone doing their part to stay alive they may give us higher bike only speed limits as a reward!

  9. Lowering speed limits will not stop:
    – utes doing illegal U-turns
    – those turning infront of bikes not giving way
    – road rage from sitting in traffic
    – pot holes
    – rough lumpy road surface
    – slippery road seal, and
    – cars crossing over the centre line.

    Fix the above and we deal with the root cause.

    1. Where we live, poor road conditions take up a lot of our attention on a ride. Of course, we have to watch traffic for lunatics, and if we’re lucky might even have time to read a few road signs. It’s certainly a laugh to see those Vic Roads ads telling us to be responsible and ride the right lines etc. Each corner has to be ridden on its merits, because as likely as not, there will be a hole or a big, rough mend right in the place you’d like to position yourself.
      It’s criminal discrimination to make motorcyclists pay an $80 ‘safety levy’, yet leave the most important safety feature, the road surface, in dangerous condition

  10. An elderly man drives out of a side road in to the path of a semi trailer and dies. The response?

    Lower the speed limit form 90 to 80. The problem is that the traffic density in that area rarely exceeds 80 anyway, so the net effect is zero. The intersection in question is not dangerous, it just requires care by anyone entering the highway which carries a lot of trucks. In other words the fatality was pure driver error, but lowering the speed limit slightly gives the appearance of doing something, with the bonus of a few more dollars for the government. It is just pathetic.

    More people have drowned over the holidays than have been killed on the road. I wonder what remedy the egg-heads will come up with for that one. Restrict parking near beaches? that makes as much sense as the aforementioned speed limit reduction above.

  11. I would be very interested to know if Any of these so called experts ride or have ever ridden a motorbike?
    Because if any had they would know there are myriad factors involved in a motorcycle crash/fatality that was a indirect or direct cause and often speed does not come into the equation.
    If the experts must stay rooted to the dogma of “speed kills” then maybe they could consider educating the non-riding public on the capabilities of a motorcycle…ie; even Learner drivers could have some instruction on watching out for motorcyclists, learning we do not have the braking power of a car in wet conditions, we have looking twice because motorbikes are harder to see.
    Sigh I guess the Introduction of VLAD laws created a Catch 22 situation for the experts because they can hardly take steps to protect motorcyclists if on the other hand moyorcyclists have been all lumped in together under the banner of outlaw bikies, making us effectively enemies of the state so to speak.
    I often wonder if motorcyle police ever speak up in our defence when they too would know the road conditions, wildlife and actions of car drivers pose a greater danger to motorcyclists than speed.

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