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Speed limits come tumbling down

Oxley Highway hillclimb speed reductions RMS safety standard limits moto fest
Oxley Highway

As riders anxiously await a speed review of the Oxley Highway, South Australian is slashing eight major highway speeds by 10km/h and VicPol wants speed limits reduced on unsealed roads.

This is part of a growing trend of reducing speed limits around regional Australia.

It’s a worrying trend as many of the roads being targeted for reduced speed limits are those favoured by motorcyclists. (Read about these reduced speeds.)

Over the past few years we have seen speed limits reduced on popular motorcycle road such as Mt Glorious Rd, The Great Ocean Rd, The Putty Rd, Bells Line Of Road and The Great Northern Rd.

Two high-profile examples from last year were the reduction of the open speed limit on a Northern Territory highway to 130km/h and the planned reduction of speed limits in several places on the Oxley Highway by as much as 40km/h.

Oxley Highway speed limit drops epidemic limits
Oxley Highway speed reductions (Photo courtesy of Gary King)

The Roads and Maritime Services is reviewing the Oxley speed reductions and has delayed its decision for almost a year now. For the past three months they have told us the review is “being finalised”.

Now Victorian Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer has issued a video in which he says there have been seven deaths a year for the past five years on unsealed Victorian roads posted at 100km/h.

“It’s time to have a discussion around the speed limit on unsealed country roads,” he says.

This also comes as speed limits are to be slashed from 110km/h to 100km/h on eight South Australian highways in the Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Riverland, Mid North and South-East.

The Transport Department has identified these roads as having bad crash histories with five or more casualty crashes between 2011 and 2015.

However, the Local Government Association says it will have no impact on road crashes and only increase travel times.

Instead, they have called for the roads to be upgraded.

“Lowering the speed limit might be the quickest and cheapest way of addressing the issue but it’s not the best long-term outcome,” they say.

Unfortunately, lowering speed limits is the knee-jerk reaction of city-centric authorities unwilling to spend on road maintenance in regional areas.

It’s a low-cost, high-revenue “solution”.

It does nothing to address the lack of motorist skills, road maintenance and signage.

  • What do you think of the trend toward lowering speed limits? Leave your comments below.

  1. I am getting sick of the rediculous speed drops all over the place and the excessive points and fines for small violations. I have seriously considered buying a faster bike and riding without rego.
    There is no concern for driver / rider safety, if there was, they would fix the roads, ban advertising next to and above roads and work out ways to keep or increase speed limits to avoid fatigue and reduce travel time and road rage.

  2. This is an epidemic across Australia. While many other countries have increased speedlimits, we continue to attempt control speeds for no actual benefit. Speedlimits lull drivers into a sense of ‘I’m safe because I’m doing the limit. Idiots and brainwashing. It’s embarrassing.
    Roads improvements, vehicle improvements, but no driver skills improvements. And the proof is in when you just watch a skilled driver taking a turn at speed and in control, verses an incompetent driver taking the same corner, at half the speed and out of control.

  3. “Towards Zero” is the biggest lie of any social behaviour campaign in human history, because it will never be achieved. But oh! All that revenue!!!!

  4. Governments only care about the revenue raised by lowering speed limit and say the reason is for road safety. But if they dont care at all about lives and road safety. They to give us decent roads to drive on and improve driver education to make it safer for everyone. Also police need worry about the smaller offenses that cause accidents like not indicating, incorrect merging on to highway, driving to slow.

    1. Or the ridiculously bright lights on some cars and particularly 4WD’s and people driving with their lights on high beam!

  5. When accidents and deaths increase due to the lower speed limits what will these fools do? Lower them further?
    They lower speed limits truely in the name of revenue but never factor in the cost of emergency services and trauma care rehabilitation and lost earnings which are equal to or even greater than the revenue raised from fines.

  6. It’s only revenue raising if license holders get caught. Why whinge about getting booked, that decision is the hands of the operator behind the wheel or handlebars. I’d love to beat up some enemy’s, but I don’t because the Law says I can’t. So what’s the difference when it comes to the Law and speed limits? Just do as you’re told, and the State makes nothing from you. But people continue to misbehave, be irresponsible, and the speed limits get reviewed and dropped for those who haven’t the skill to operate a vehicle.

    Hey, I’m annoyed about speed limit drops like the rest of you all, because I can drive and ride just fine like you can too. But I don’t moan about the government, or the fact that speed drops. Just do it, and soak up the atmosphere around you. You can always get off and walk and then see if the speed limit it not so bad after all.

    1. It’s that kind of thinking that the nannies and revenue whores count on.
      I have been booked for speeding exactly never! On a few rare occasions I’ve been fined for exceeding a limit that had little or nothing to do with the relative safety of the road I was traveling on or the prevailing conditions at the time.
      But on a number of occasions I have been fined for exceeding the limit when traveling under that limit, on one occasions I knew the speed trap was there and crawled past it at less than half the posted limit but when the cop got the best erroneous reading he could lock in he jumped up and pulled me over to book me for doing forty kph over. I took it to court but the number of experts and lies that were told boggled the mind but I was winning until they changed the courtroom assigned without informing me so I was waiting to be called at the wrong side of the court house while they found me guilty in my absence.
      So friend don’t come crying when it happens to you because all you’ll get is WE TOLD YOU SO!

      1. 100% Correct Al. Most people are pretty reasonable, the cops need to be chasing down the real idiots – and that doesn’t always revolve around just speed.

        1. I’ve personally designed roads meant for 100 that have ended up at 60.

          Safety has nothing to do with it.

          1. Really Rob?
            You must not travel many km! I work in various places and I am frequently traveling 3 hours to work and 3 hours back. I am tired by the time I get home, extra travel time is more unsafe than the roads remaining at 100kmh.
            I actually went for a ride (for fun) on Sunday and on my favorite roads close to home, 5 roads I traveled on have been reduced to 80kmh with New Limit signs posted. The only reason these roads are reduced speed limits is because of the lack of maintenance and even then, although they are quite bumpy, they are still quite safe at 100kmh.
            You seem to have a lot of faith in our government to know what is good for us, I don’t. We have plenty of ridiculous laws and our justice system is a joke.
            I just hope you never run for council or government!!!

  7. road deaths have actually dropped by 80% since the 70’s you cannot remove the impact of human error entirely and governments are unwilling to address the remaining problem the state of the roads. this is all about revenue. Interesting that as cyclists {pushbikes} injury rate is rising with single bike accidents at around 40% their main body is trying to remove mandatory helmet laws and is pushing for even lower speeds for other road users

  8. I’m sick to death of guys like Doug Fryer pushing for ever lower speed limits.
    Lower limits aren’t the answer….better driver/rider education is.

    It doesn’t matter if the speed limit is 100 or 80 if the conditions (be they weather or road surface) aren’t suitable for those speeds and the driver or rider haven’t the skills to make the call as to what is…

  9. In one of the largest and emptiest countries in the world it makes absolute sense to keep lowering speed limits and increasing journey times. And then run TV ads warning everyone about driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel.

  10. The science is in. Speed kills.
    Let’s just cut the crap and ban all powered transport, including horses as they are the most dangerous per-mile travelled of all.
    Clearly, the only way to a safe future is to walk everywhere. And if you can’t walk, tough.

  11. Cars and bikes have better, steering, brakes, suspension, tyres, etc etc than ever before yet the speed has to come down???? Check out the number of heavy vehicles involved in crashes nowadays. Overtired drivers (auto and truck) are the real reason for crashes

  12. It make no sense to lower speed limits in such a vast country the size of Oz.

    We may as well all go back to horse and cart.

    I’ve just ridden from Echuca to Tanunda and it was a long haul drop it by 10kmh and it will be a major pain.

  13. It’s a whole of government attitude – lower the speed is perceived to be the cheap option rather than improve driver skills, improve road conditions and surfaces and educate the next generation in driving skills. We can spend millions on a stupid SSM survey but spend virtually nothing on addressing road fatalities other than reduce the speed limit.

  14. I have been waiting for the crackdown on speeding on unsealed country roads, I don’t believe the road toll has anything to do wit it, for a little while it seemed like the adventure bike was the vehicle of choice for the truly free, but alas the powers that be have cottoned on!

  15. Hi there it’s me again.

    Yep I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,we have the worst road system in the world full stop.

    Please fix the main course of accidents, POORLY designed and made goat tracks we call roads.

    Rob,” I’d rather die on my two feet than on my knees.”

    And to Al you cannot be convicted nor found guilty in court, in your absence or without representation. (check out the law!)

    I think there is a civil action going on in reference to Magistrates/Judges of the court convicting people in their absence (absence for what ever reason,Sick, accident, family matters etc).

    IT IS HIGH TREASON by these Magistrates and Judges.

  16. How about raising the standard of compentacy to get a license in the first place?
    And compulsory retraining on a regular basis to keep your license, as is required with any other skill that requires a license.
    One must have the compentacy to drive/ride at a 150kmh to safely drive/ride at a 100kmh for prolonged periods. Most simply do not come close to such, and should not be allowed on highways.

  17. Wearing a uniform and badge . . . is not a qualification for anything except to enforce the law as it exists.
    The police do not legislate and are not responsible for determining public policy.
    As for giving safety advice, they have no greater right than our mothers.

    – senator David Leyonhjelm, the only politician who sticks up for motorcyclists

    1. There is little respect left for the ‘speed limiters’. For instance, how is it safe to only travel at 110kmh in northern South Australia, but suddenly a line on the map and nothing else, makes it safe up to 130kmh?

      Why was a certain dirt road limited to 100kmh while it was dirt, but downgraded to 80kmh once it was sealed? This is simply arrant nonsense, hence, no respect at all for the ‘experts’ who promote this stuff with a serious face.

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