Road speeds in Northland could reduce with new guidelines

By Imran Ali

4 comments
Roadsafe Northland chairman John Williamson.
Roadsafe Northland chairman John Williamson.

A Northland road safety campaigner says a new speed management guide announced by the government should see road speeds lowered in many parts of Northland.

Chairman of Roadsafe Northland, John Williamson, said many motorists still travelled faster than the road conditions allowed and it made sense to reduce speed limits where deemed appropriate.

He made the comments while responding to an announcement last week by Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss of a new Speed Management Guide to modernise New Zealand's approach to managing speed. The guide will enable a limit of 110km/h on some roads.

"Changes made under the Guide may include altering road design, lowering speed limits, or in certain circumstances, raising them," Mr Foss said.

"To be eligible for a 110 km/h limit, a road will have to meet very strict conditions, including having a median barrier, at least two lanes in each direction and no direct access to neighbouring properties.

"New Zealand's road toll is much, much too high. The Guide, developed as part of the Government's Safer Journeys road safety strategy, is about ensuring all road authorities are making sound, evidence-based decisions with an emphasis on safety."

Mr Williamson said no road in Northland would qualify for an upgrade to 110km/h because none would be able to meet the criteria. He said the top-end speed suited motorways.

"The danger is people see 110km/h as the speed limit and build a tolerance and travel at slightly higher than that. Realistically over a period of time as the road safety authorities come to grips with the speed management guide, we should see speeds reduced in Northland."

Mr Williamson said the biggest issue in Northland was people driving too fast to the conditions, particularly on bends. He said road safety authorities in the region were already getting calls from people living in residential areas for a reduction in speed limits.

The government said the guide combined a range of information to help councils, the New Zealand Transport Agency and other road controlling authorities decide where and when to make safety improvements or changes to speed limits.

- Northern Advocate

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