Leadership on safer speed limits required to reduce road toll

Published
12/10/2017

Leadership on safer speed limits required to reduce road toll

 

New Zealand’s horrifying road toll demonstrates the vital need for safer speed limits, according to road safety group Movement.

 

“It is gratifying to see the NZ Police call for a review of the country’s speed limits on our rural roads,” Movement spokesman and transport planner, Bevan Woodward, says.

 

“Whilst we agree that 100 km/h is typically appropriate for motorways and expressways, we must move to adopt safer speed limits for our rural open roads.  Such roads are not built for high speed travel and are the main source of New Zealand’s horrifying road toll.

 

“The ultimate penalty for speeding is not a fine – it can be injury or worse. And more to the point, the statistics show that pedestrians and cyclists – also road users – are suffering much higher rates of fatalities.  Hence we fully support the police call for speed limits to be reduced to match the road conditions. We need leadership, in particular from NZ Transport Agency who manage the rules for speed limits, if we’re to cut the road toll and the associated cost to families and communities,” Mr Woodward says.

 

An example of this is the NZTA’s successful introduction of 80 km/h on State Highway 1 through the Dome Valley, north of Auckland, which demonstrated how a safer speed limit immediately resulted in significant saving of lives.  

 

Cyclists and pedestrians also must be factored into the review, says Living Streets Aotearoa spokesman Andy Smith:

 

“An urban speed limit of 50 km/h is often the reason our streets are unsafe for people walking, cycling or using mobility aids. Cities with 30 or 40 km/h speed limits for their urban streets have significantly improved road safety and enabled more people to choose the healthier transport modes.

 

“There is clear evidence that reduced rural and urban speed limits significantly improve road safety, while still having little impact on travel times. However, there is a reluctance to reduce speed limits and this year’s road toll is a stark reminder that leadership from our decision-makers is urgently required to save lives.”

 

Movement partner Cycling Action Network spokesman Patrick Morgan says safety is no accident:

 

“Safer speed limits give New Zealanders more transport options for getting about. We encourage NZTA to learn from overseas successes, and move quickly to implement safer speed limits.”

 

This applies particularly for those who have no real voice – children, Lucinda Rees of NZ School Speeds says:

 

“With the road toll of school children mounting, we set up a petition GO DUTCH AND STOP CHILD MURDER asking the future Minister of Transport to make roads safer with some simple and cost-effective measures such as safer speed limits around schools.

 

“The response has been overwhelming support and to many ‘a no brainer.’ New Zealanders are clearly tired of the rising road toll and keen to change the culture of our drivers.”