Speed limits on parts of the famed Oxley Highway will decrease from next Monday, September 19, 2016, after a road safety audit.
It will join several other great motorcycle roads in Australia with reduced speed limits in an apparent effort to reduce motorcycle crashes. The infamous list includes Mt Glorious Rd, The Great Ocean Rd, The Putty Rd, Bells Line Of Road and The Great Northern Rd.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson says speed zones will change at three locations in the 30km stretch between Wauchope and Long Flat “to improve safety for all road users”.
“The need for these speed zone changes were identified in the Oxley Highway Route Safety Review.”
The Oxley Highway runs 450km from Port Macquarie on the coast through Tamworth to Coonabarabran, but the motorcycle nirvana stretches 160km from Wauchope to Walcha.
The RMS spokesperson says the speed zone changes are part of a NSW Government $60 million investment “to improve safety along the Oxley Highway”, so we can expect there will be more changes to speed zones along the remaining 120km of motorcycling nirvana.
Don’t believe it won’t happen. The speed zones were gradually reduced on Mt Glorious Rd until now every zone is 10-20km/h lower.
We also expect that as soon as the speed limits are lowered, police will begin enforcement.
The speed limit reduction follows the July 2105 Oxley Highway Route Safety Review that found the highway has just over twice as high a casualty crash rate as other NSW country roads (30% v 14%).
Of the 415 casualties from 2008 to 2012 on the Oxley, the majority were drivers (49%), motorcyclists (24%) and motor vehicle passengers (21%).
Motorcycles were involved in 96 casualty crashes from 2008 to 2012 with one fatal in 2013.
Just over three quarters (78%) of all motorcycle injury crashes involved a single vehicle and more than half (56%) of the riders involved were locals.
The review made 14 recommendations including removing roadside hazards, adjusting barriers, better line-marking, improving the road, expanding mobile phone coverage and an education campaign particularly targeting riders.
It also recommended reviewing speed zones.
Guess which won!
Veteran motorcycle journo Mick Matheson says the Oxley Highway is a road all riders should travel at least once in their lives.
He produced this video extolling its virtues.
“There are about 300 corners, the traffic is usually light, and the experience covers more than just the ride because of the character of the places you visit along the way,” he says.
This weekend may be the last time you can ride the full length of the road within its speed limits and still have fun.
We feel sorry for the tourist operators along the route who will lose out as a result.