Lake Ngatu woman Sarah Fountain is not one for flouting the rules of the road, but when it comes to driving on 90 Mile Beach she no longer knows what the rules are.

And with the summer holiday-maker influx about to begin, she is seeking some clarity.

It was generally understood, Mrs Fountain said, that 90 Mile Beach was open road, which would be covered by a 100km/h speed limit, but a Far North District Council sign at Waipapakauri Ramp declared a limit of 30km/h.

She wanted to know whether that was an advisory or legal speed limit, if it was ever policed, and how far it extended from either side of the ramp.


The police have a third ruling. They said the law restricted speed to 50km/h within 200 metres of any structure that could be seen from the beach.

"Who knows this? I didn't," she said.

"And again the same questions — what are the limits? Are they ever policed?"

Her personal inclination was for a lower rather than a higher limit.

"My friend's dog was run down and killed a few months ago, by a vehicle travelling much in excess of 100km/h within 50 metres of the ramp," she said.

"The driver, who was racing to escape a rapidly rising tide, maybe didn't even see the dog, and certainly did not stop. My friend was left to cope with a large, bleeding, dying dog.

"What if it had been a child, running to or from the water? There would be no time for a driver travelling at that speed to do anything at close range."

Traffic control was especially necessary at this time of the year, she added, with multitudes of holiday-makers and families enjoying the beach, children running up and down to the water, while "idiots" performed wheelies, drove at speed or just thoughtlessly among them.

"Surely it is time to have some sensible, enforceable restrictions put in place for the beach," she said.

"A 100km/h limit is fine on open stretches, but large signs displaying a 50km/h limit should be erected 200 metres either side of any access point to the beach. And that limit should be police and enforced."

Animals were being killed by speeding cars fairly regularly, and it was seemingly only a matter of time before a person died.

"Let's do something about it now. And please start with clarifying what the law is, and how to police it," Mrs Fountain said.

There wasn't much traffic on 90 Mile Beach yesterday, but that won't always be the case over coming months.
There wasn't much traffic on 90 Mile Beach yesterday, but that won't always be the case over coming months.