The history of the Oxley Highway speed review starts in July 2105 with the publication of the Oxley Highway Route Safety Review.
It found the highway had 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!
In September 2016, temporary electronic signs were installed warning motorists of speed changes which included dropping the speed limit to 60km/h from 100km/h on the mountain stretch.
That triggered protests by riders and many local business operators and residents concerned about delays and impact on businesses with a subsequent drop of riders and tourists.
The speed battle included a petition and protest meetings.
In response, the RMS decided to review their speed review and promised a decision by Christmas 2016.
Meanwhile, a reshuffle of the NSW ministry resulted in the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, scoring the roads portfolio.
Consequently the speed review was postponed and the RMS has been promising it is being finalised for the past 11 months.
Now the speed battle is lost.
However, Ken pointed out that the speed reductions on the mountain are less than the 60km/h initially planned.
The Oxley now joins several other great motorcycle roads in Australia with reduced speed limits.
The infamous list includes Mt Glorious Rd, The Great Ocean Rd, The Putty Rd, Bells Line Of Road and The Great Northern Rd.
The 450km highway runs east-west from Port Macquarie on the NSW central coast through Tamworth to Coonabarabran.
It includes 160km of “motorcycle nirvana” from Wauchope over the ranges to Walcha.