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Speed enforcement causes herd mentality

herd mentality road safety traffic

Years of rigid speed enforcement have created a herd mentality that could be just as dangerous as having high-speed lunatics in our midst.

Over the past 20 years, traffic in our nation has been beaten into submission by the heavy handed use of speed cameras and police patrols.

The road safety rhetoric has changed from the dangers of hooning to the dangers of even being 1km/h over the limit.

The latest Queensland Transport road safety campaign is about driving “smarter” not faster.

It says that “half of all speeding crashes happen at just 1 to 10km/h over the limit”.

Of course most accidents happen at that speed, because most people now drive within 10km/h of the speed limit!

Herd mentalityHow to ride safely in heavy traffic lane filtering herd

With everyone driving within 10km/h of each other, it takes vehicles ages to pass slower traffic.

We also have a breed of arrogant motorists who think it is ok to hog the right lane because they are doing the maximum legal speed.

Consequently, our highways and major multi-lane roads have a constant herd of motorists travelling in all lanes at roughly the same, legal speed.

But has it created an even and orderly flow of traffic that delivers motorists safely to their destination?


The road toll is still too high, traffic snarls are getting worse while road rage and motorist frustration levels are through the roof (if you have one!).

Riders at most danger

How to ride safely in heavy traffic lane filtering peeved commuters lip automatic brakes
Brisbane traffic

While motorcyclists can now avoid some of the snarls and frustration by legally lane filtering, they are also the most vulnerable vehicles in this deadly mix.

Hemmed in by motorists who won’t move over, motorcyclists are in danger of becoming invisible in the traffic.

Clearly the continuing road safety strategy of greater adherence to strict speed limits and frequently changing speed zones is not working.

These strategies only serve to force us to gaze at our speedos instead of the road which means drivers can easily miss a motorcyclist darting through the traffic.

Lane discipline

One effective safety strategy is more lane discipline on multi-lanes roads as practised in Europe.

Why don’t police patrol for drivers illegally hogging the right lane?

And why aren’t trucks (vans, caravans, etc) restricted to the “slow” lane as they do in Europe?

The answer: Because it is easier to deploy speed cameras which generate millions in revenue.

  1. I question your use of motorcycle darting between traffic, lane filtering in Victoria is a speeds less than 30km pet hour. Recent trip returning from Melbourne a motorcyclist was cutting through traffic and filtering through lanes in traffic that was moving at 100 km per hour. As both a motorcyclist,driver and bicyclist, it near impossible to be on the look out for motorcycles travelling in this manner, in heavy traffic at speed. Yes everyone needs to share and particularly when traffic is slow, look for motorcycles and bicycles and make some room.

    1. Motorcyclists do that at times because all the cars spread out across all the lanes and are all going the same speed. Keep left! If you’re going to pass someone, do it with commitment and don’t take all day about it.
      Besides, if you think it’s impossible be on the lookout for other vehicles of any kind, you’re going too fast yourself, or too close to other cars.

  2. Absolutely spot on… Europe speed limits are going up, average highway 130km/h. Australia does everything it possibly can opposite to the rest of the planet, does not matter what area, politics, traffic, medical, education, safety rules, personal freedom, democracy etc……most over regulated regime in the world.

  3. God forbid that we should ever hold Saudi Arabia up as an example of good law enforcement, but I read recently that they heavily enforce a five second gap between vehicles. Tailgating is on of the most dangerous forms of bad driving and I would love to see this rule adopted here.

    1. I agree with you on tailgating, five second gap is a bit extreme though, I think they should heavily enforce a bare minimun of a two second gap (even though the recommended gap is three seconds) here in Australia since most drivers don’t seem to be even able to manage that.

  4. Preaching to the choir.
    If by some miracle we all got together and banned the use of speed enforcement in all places except where it can actually do some good the revenue junkies would have to look at ways of reducing the road toll that actually work . But while the easy revenue is mainlining into their pockets they don’t care that speed enforcement long ago stopped giving any benefit and is now actually causing more harm! In fact they are probably happy that it doesn’t actually work because it gives them the excuse to do more of the same .

    I wonder how they came up with that statistic though. Unless every vehicle is fitted with a black box and every accident happened under the eye of a speed camera the statistics are bullshit. Who is going to admit to speeding to make that statistic real?
    I take offence to the concept that one kilometre over is speeding or even ten K over for that matter.
    Speeding is not traveling faster than an artificial limit.
    Speeding is simply going too fast for the circumstances, and thanks to the excessive and over zealous speed enforcement, speeding occurs most often under the limit. All too often people refuse to slowdown from the limit when the conditions dictate that they should be going much slower, but thanks to all the wonderful education they get from speeding enforcement they now think the limit is safe regardless of the circumstances.

  5. I really noticed it on the recent ICB expansion. They added an extra lane but it did absolutely nothing to help traffic flow. Everyone just seems to spread further sideways and you still cant get past anyone. Everyone is traveling the same speed (10kph under the reduced speed limit) but no-one is moving any faster.
    The quickest lane nowadays is often the left lane.

  6. The max. speed limit use to be 100mph, then they went to metric and made max 110kph (70mph) – so despite fact we have better roads and much safer cars than 50 years ago – Govts have actually slowed down vehicles. Has this drastically reduced road toll (due to speeding)- no; has it drastically increased money into govt coffers – yes; has this drastically increased driver frustration -yes.
    And the comment “These strategies only serve to force us to gaze at our speedos ” is spot on.

  7. I recently rode around South East Asia for 30 Days where, while they have speed limits they are not enforced or so it seems. It was an absolute pleasure to just ride and not have to look at your speedo every minute to make sure you weren’t speeding. Just enjoy the ride the way it should be.

  8. I believe we all need to look long and hard at our own driving habits . Complacency
    I also believe we should have to refresh our road rules every 5 years when we renew our license (QLD) anyway .
    Especially this right of way law ! No such thing . Roundabouts are the worsted, the speed people come into them is just stupid !! The person on the roundabout is the only one who has the right away .
    I’ve been driving for 37 years and the things I see people do makes me wonder how they are still alive . Red and green p platers terrible not all but most .
    Complacency kills

  9. This country is by far the worst to drive in the developed world and it’s all thanks to our government. Lack of driving education, skill development and enforcement in the complete wrong areas (only areas they can make money off) is why it is 100% on them.

    They would rather people be staring at their speedos (which is just as bad as peoppe looking down at their phones, ie eyes not on the road) and slam into someone or worse kill someone, just so they get a chance at fining then for going a few k’s over the speed limit.

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