Speed limits on most suburban Rotorua roads should be lowered to 40km/h and many 100km/h roads on the city's outskirts should be lowered to at least 80km/h.
That is the recommendation of the New Zealand Transport Agency, which suggests many roads in Rotorua and the rest of New Zealand should have lower speed limits to be considered "safe and appropriate".
But Rotorua Lakes Council says the city's specific requirements and environments need to be taken into account when setting limits.
NZTA's Mega Maps online risk assessment tool - which the agency and councils use as a guide for deciding new speed limits - suggests just 5 per cent of open roads should have the current 100km/h posted speed limit.
Explore the interactive map
Instead, Mega Maps suggests a safe and appropriate speed of between 60km/h and 80km/h would apply to most stretches of open road.
For most urban areas, the safe and appropriate speed would be between 30km/h and 40km/h.
In Rotorua, roads such as Ranolf St, Otonga Rd, Vaughan Rd and Tutanekai St should have 40km/h limits while roads such as Fairy Springs Rd, which is currently 60km/h, should be lowered to 50km/h.
It has been suggested lowering sections of State Highway 5 and SH30 towards Taupō and SH33 towards Tauranga to 80km/h.
Main roads like Fenton St, Clayton Rd, Sunset Rd and Malfroy Rd have been assessed as safe to remain at 50km/h.
But some Bay of Plenty drivers do not think speed is a risk or that speed limits should be changed, despite 17 road deaths in the region so far this year.
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According to NZTA research carried out in 2017 on New Zealanders' attitudes to road safety, risk and safety solutions, 33 per cent of Bay of Plenty drivers were more likely to oppose speed limit reductions compared with 25 per cent of the national average.
Two-thirds were also more likely to think the roads were safe for themselves compared with 58 per cent nationally.
Most people believed community conversations would lead to improved safety yet few agreed the right road risks were being talked about.
• Check the interactive graphic below to see fatal and serious crashes on NZ roads since 2000 and how current speed limits compare to the safe and appropriate speeds suggested by Mega Maps.
Road deaths since 2000
Each red dot on the map shows one fatal road crash. Zoom in to explore.
Serious injuries in road crashes since 2000
Each purple dot on the map shows one serious road injury crash. Zoom in to explore.
Hamurana and Awahou Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Jerry Douglas side roads Ward Rd and Turner Rd needed to be lowered to 50km/h.
These side roads, which have no footpaths, have 100km/h speed limits.
"Kids get out on the road, they walk to school, walk to the bus stop. It can be pretty dangerous at times, especially when people hoon," Douglas said.
The Hamurana community fought to reduce Hamurana Rd from 70km/h to 60km/h which Douglas said had made a big difference.
Rotorua Rural Community Board chairwoman Shirley Trumper said high speed, drivers ignoring speed limits and over-confidence were great concerns.
This had become increasingly troublesome with the increase in traffic volumes, new drivers on the roads and schools, Trumper said.
"It's poor driver behaviour. People use the speed limit as a target."
She said although changing speed limits in certain areas was necessary to make Rotorua roads safer, early driver education was equally important.
100km/h speed limit
NZTA's Mega Maps planning tool estimates 95 per cent of NZ's open road should have a lower speed limit than 100km/h. Drag the slider from left to right to see how many roads are affected.
"Changing the speed may mean if you drive through a fence you won't kill yourself . . . but it is not going to change driver behaviour," Trumper said.
Local resident Michael Macgregor believed lowering speed limits would not target the right issue.
"On Old Quarry Rd and Gordon Rd, the speed limit is 50km/h but you have certain people going as fast as they can down those roads.
"The speed bumps on Gordon Rd are ineffective as they taper off near the gutter and centre line so you can steer through them without hitting the bump.
"There's a breakdown of our society in that some people have no regard for the law so lowering speed limits will do nothing to encourage those people to start adhering to them."
Macgregor said making suburban roads 40km/h would only make it less convenient for the average, law-abiding motorist.
"In order to buy a gun you need a licence but you don't need a licence to buy a car, even though both can be deadly."
Macgregor said, in his opinion, the only way to deter speeding drivers would be to install speed bumps right across the road.
Rotorua Lakes Council infrastructure group manager Stavros Michael said the council had speed limit reviews about every three years and focused on roads highlighted by the community, those which have had changes to them, and ones highlighted for other reasons, such as Coroner's reports.
"While the NZTA maps provide a guideline, it's important we are informed by our own specific requirements and environments.
" 'Safe and appropriate' needs to take various factors into consideration including the operating environment (ie, rural open road, or residential area, school areas or business district with high pedestrian presence) and assessing actual speeds.
"Where actual speed is significantly higher than current or intended limits, we need to undertake engineering work to slow traffic and this could involve works like road narrowing speed humps or kerb extensions."
Michael said there would be a review of Rotorua's CBD in the next six months and 30km/h was now often considered to be the most appropriate speed limit for a CBD.
"This is something we will need to consider.
"Alongside the CBD review we will also be undertaking reviews of other areas, especially around schools."
But speed was just one factor in safety, he said, with vehicle condition, driver or pedestrian error, or inattention to the road condition also contributing to danger on our roads.
"Council also undertakes a variety of road safety initiatives including programmes in schools, driver workshops and awareness campaigns, often in partnership with other agencies such as the police."